Character Love · Film & T.V. · Inspiration

Character Love: Gemma Teller Morrow (Sons of Anarchy)

Sometimes while watching a TV show or a movie I find myself kind of crushing on a character so I decided to start posting about it. I mean, you guys suffer through my adoration of nail polish, so why not suffer through my fangirling over other people’s characters?

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Character: Gemma Teller Morrow

Actor/Actress: Katey Segal

Show: Sons of Anarchy (FX)

… includes one of my favorite quotes from Gemma…


Who is Gemma?

Gemma is the wife of the president of SAMCRO (which stands for Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) and the mother of the vice president. She is considered the matriarch of the club and has been called the “Queen of Bikers.” She is passionately protective of those she loves, and she makes no apologies about it.


You’ll like SoA if:

  • you have a thing for anti-heroes
  • you like action, violence, and cursing
  • you’re a junkie for Harleys and custom choppers (no crotch rocket fans, please)
  • you’re awesome
  • you like bad-ass women
  • you can sometimes sympathize with the bad guy

So, what is it about Gemma that I adore so much?

Wha… it’s not obvious?

There’s nothing on this planet that I appreciate more than a tough broad. Fathers have spent generations teaching their sons what it means to be a good man and mothers have spent just as long teaching their daughters how to be a good woman. Historically, what it takes to be “good” is different for men and women, and children learn this early on. Thankfully, I didn’t grow up with a mother who played the good little Mrs. and baked cookies all day. My mother can curse with the best of them and way back in the day she could drink my father under the table (they came of age in the 70’s, go figure.) And even though my father no longer rocks the handle-bar mustache and long hair while riding a Harley, he still has his 50+ tattoos; he will never be the coat-and-tie kind of guy. My mom (you know, the lady with the panda on her head?) is positively tame these days (unless she’s in traffic, then she turns into a homicidal sailor), but the moment she hears the familiar rumble of a bike, her ears perk up and she’s on full alert. That woman loves a nice, sleek Harley (no wonder where I got it from.)

So, in essence, my parents aren’t Ward and June Cleaver– and thank something for that. Ward and June were BORING and were they real people they would have stifled their children’s ability to navigate the world. They just didn’t tackle many real issues (not that we should have expected them to.) But you know what? That’s just not realistic. Most parents are more similar to Roseanne and Dan Conner. Sometimes you have to do the best you know how, make it through the day however you can, and put on your blinders so you can’t see the judgy-judges pointing their fingers at you.

Gemma reminds me of my mom, but like, you know, if my mom could do crap like ^ this ^ and get away with it.

Gemma is very clear about her allegiances. She’s what I would define as a tough broad. I may have some serious brain damage, but I can’t help but respect a woman who has no boundaries when it comes doing what she thinks she has to do. Of course, if any of us pulled half the shit she does we’d wind up serving a life sentence in maximum security. That’s what fiction is for– so we can live carelessly, laugh louder than is appropriate, and take the cops on a high-speed chase through the desert (not that Gemma has done that, but it’s something I’ve considered a time or two.)

And while Gemma is totally bad-ass and as fearless as any of the men in SAMCRO, she’s still a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. She’s loved and respected by the men in her life (mostly, they are outlaws, ya know.) It’s important (IMO) to note that even though Gemma adopts many traditionally-masculine behaviors (violence, cursing, and a serious mean streak), she is the epitome of what it means to be a woman because her femininity is not compromised by her strength. But then, my definition of feminine isn’t in the dictionary. And I’m super envious of her because in her world, it’s okay to be as foul-mouthed as the men. It’s okay to be a “bitch”

(ugh. see my earlier post for grumbling about the use of this word.)

I don’t know who decided that being strong (physically and emotionally) is a sign of masculinity but not femininity (screw the dictionary), but it’s a total crock. How is it that women have been deemed the weaker sex when our bodies are designed for tasks which would kill a man (passing live creatures through our bodies, expressing liquids intended for nutrition, bleeding for days on end and not needing a doctor.)

Sorry for the ick. But really? Why is it that for men to be strong we have to be weak? Why can’t we both be strong– or does that violate some kind of natural order of things?

Which character do you love, and why?


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