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We profile life through many facets of our own being: gender wise, ethnicity wise, religion wise, et cetera but at the same time, we are judged and misjudged based on these very same categories making us the profilers of life, profiled. This theme displays itself at various times in a popular TV show called Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds sets place in Quantico, Virginia where a team of agents work for the Behavioral Analysis Unit division of the FBI. Often times, the team is called in by local police departments to solve a series of crimes that have occurred.
From a viewer’s perspective, the progression and events of the crime is usually known and only sometimes the perpetrator is identified to the viewer. This is usually how the show begins. At that point, the viewer is already profiling, speculating, and analyzing the short segment of the crime known to them and not known by the agents. This we can say is a natural inclination for us to do as social beings, is to judge. It’s up to the team to set things straight by piecing together clues both physical and psychological that will point out the criminal.
To do so, the team uses two main strategies; profiling which brainstorms a culmination of basic, usual and possible characteristics about the perpetrator coupled with the victimology of the victims. Both strategies are used interchangeably depending on the case. For example, profiling the suspect can show patterns for specific kinds of people the suspect targets and common victimology among victims can determine the type of criminal who may have committed the crimes. Historically, actual medical references to psychological illnesses, conditions and labels are used. For instance, commonly used terms to describe a suspect are “sadist” and “sociopath”. But during the course of the show, the plot may twist and/or thicken when what the team originally thinks is wrong. The show relays to our 3D reality that even in a sophisticated organization like the FBI, misjudgment still happens.
While the members are dedicated to their job and duties, their personal lives often interfere with their commitments due to the fact that a case can come at any time. With that, a lot of their attention is needed immediately. Everything seems to drop, pause, or delay because of that. Their passion and loyalty to the team is what consistently brings instability to their personal lives. Based on gender, personality, ethnicity, and work habits, all of the team members have their own strengths and weaknesses in the ways that they manage both lifestyles. Yet, the TV show particularly seems to illustrate a more complete picture of the female characters even when the team is led by and contains typical alpha male personalities to highlight the importance and demand of their roles. In society, women are negatively judged to the extent that they are not adequately valued in contrast to how the show uses a fictitious world as a platform to uplift the women in the real world.
While society seems to have a set idea of what women should be and are limited to, this television show challenges that by constructing fictitious women in a way that challenges and pushes beyond the gender biases that exist in their workplace. Although these women do share similarities, mostly in appearances, their personalities and abilities strongly define and differentiate them. Social categorization tends to place people in groups based on small similarities which often times neglects major differences like personality and skill set
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