As the Holidays draw near and new episodes of TV shows become scarce, I’d like to take a moment to step back and see where we stand so far in this 2017-18 television season.
Last week, I took to Twitter to conduct a series of super scientific tests, to gauge the opinions of the masses on what they are enjoying most so far this season.
The question posed for this post: In a crowded field of strong women on TV right now, who do you pick for your team, who has got your six? Read on for the results …
The Twitter has spoken and Twitter wants Sgt Jasmine ‘Jaz’ Khan from The Brave (NBC) to get their back if push comes to shove. Being crowned best badass female on TV is no small feat because honestly, there are a lot of strong female leads on TV right now … as their should be.
Holiday Time is a Time for “Best of” Lists! And this Fall season has been a full on deluge of kickass Girl Power; Strong women getting it done in the field. So, pick your female team member, who’s got your six? Fans of @Natachakaram_ @chy_leigh @EmmaDumont – VOTE!
— Pop Culture Review (@AdminPopCultRev) December 12, 2017
Pulling 88% of the 152 votes cast, Jaz (played by Natacha Karam) blew the field away with Alex Danvers (played by the wonderful Chyler Leigh) from Team Supergirl (The CW) garnering 9% and Polaris/Lorna Dane (played by Emma Dumont) from The Gifted (Fox) getting just 1% of the vote. Purely as an aside, its interesting to see Polaris do so poorly because The Gifted has a pretty loyal Twitter following. That being said, their people did not turn out in any form or fashion on the several Twitter polls that featured the new Marvel property (the best of the new Marvel shows this season in my ever humble opinion).
So who is Jaz, why is she awesome and what do you need to know about where her character is going?
Jaz Khan is the only female member of an on the ground, in the thick of it, covert elite Special Operations team led by Captain Adam Dalton (played by Mike Vogel). Her unique position as lone female forces her into a dual role on Team Dalton. First, she is the team’s sniper. Always (almost anyway, there was that one time she improvised and it didn’t go great) with a steady hand on the trigger, Dalton and the rest of his team are able to execute their most daring missions knowing Jaz has their backs covered on overwatch and is ready to put down any bad guys with one bullet from tremendous distances.
Second, there is often a need for a female touch on the ground, whether as part of a married couple cover or alone, infiltrating sections of Muslim life where men cannot easily access information or assets from the segregated female population. This function is referred to in the real world as being part of a Cultural Support Team (CST).
Why is Jaz awesome? Because she’s a role model and an ideal for all, but particularly women, to strive for. That may seem hyperbolic but I assure you its not. Its only in the last two years or so that women have been made eligible to join special forces teams. As of earlier this year, there are still no women on any special force teams. the SEALS predict it’ll be at least 2020 before you see a woman on one of their elite operator teams. Yes, women have filled CST roles (like what Jaz does as part of her job on Team Dalton) in countries like Afghanistan and its been successful but in the real world, these are not combat roles – these CSTs are “attached” to spec op teams but not deemed combat operators. The path to being an elite spec ops operator is long and arduous and the attrition rate for any of the most elite teams is high.
Which is what makes Jaz unique. Yes, its a fictional show but it demonstrates week in and week out that a woman can achieve the same physical and mental standards necessary to perform the hardest military tasks our country asks of our warriors. And that’s important. When you look at the spec ops schools and specialized military branches (your Army Rangers, your Navy SEALS, etc.), its not that women are failing out of these schools (which will happen because as noted above, the amount of candidates that don’t finish these warfare schools is much higher than those that complete the courses and go on to be on the real world Team Daltons), its that women aren’t even signing up to try. Not yet anyway. But it will happen and it’ll be young women who look at Jaz Khan and say, I can do that; I can serve my country; I can be a goddamn badass. And the snowball will begin rolling down the mountain.
So, is it far fetched that Jaz would be the team sniper and an integral operator? Today, yes it is but tomorrow? Tomorrow is a different story. The future “Jaz Khans” are out there, they’re in the military right now or thinking of signing up and beginning their military careers; so lets not think of Jaz’s role on The Brave as far fetched but rather, as prophetic of a future populated with hardcore, badass warrior women.