The feminism of Westworld snuck up on its audience. In the first episode, we were presented with a robotic woman who fell prey to "damsel in distress" stereotypes, but that wasn't the whole story. The show presents a wide range of female characters, both human and host, who use femininity and are empowered in many different and diverse ways. Angela Sarafyan, who plays Clementine on Westworld, talks about how her character can change your perspective in an interview with Bustle.
"When I got [the role of ] Clementine," Sarafyan says, "I saw a character who actually celebrates her own femininity. She uses her sensuality to award people and to give love..." Her narrative in the park is not just about being a sex-bot, Clementine is programmed to genuinely read people. "It's just ultimately about this kind of intimate connection with another human being," she says.
Clementine's relationship with Maeve is another refreshing element of the show. They aren't competitive. Though Maeve left her in an uncertain state, hopefully they will team up again in Season 2. "I think Maeve does care about her," Sarafyan says, "and I think Clementine cares about her as well. I don't think it's jus programming, I think there really was an empathy that they had for each other."
At the end of the day, Clementine isn't a washed up, "bitter, angry, drugged-up prostitute," Sarafyan notes. She isn't a negative stereotype in the slightest.
"Aesthetics hasn't always been the most valuable thing and I've actually been upset when that is the only way people see me," Sarafyan says, noting that she always preferred to be admired by her accomplishments and creations and not beauty as an accomplishment in and of itself. "I look at the show," she says, "it has changed the way that I see myself in my own life. I think that there is power in being beautiful and being a woman and there is power in celebrating that."
The answer, to me at least, is always diversity and Westworld is doing a fantastic job at that. Give me Clementine, symbol of love, but also Armistice with her scars and snake tattoo. Give me Dolores, who chooses a blue dress over pants for her final confrontation, and Maeve, who chooses to go against her programming to find her daughter. When we have all of these characters, and not just one attempting to represent all of womankind, the real stories get told.
"I look at the sex symbols of the past," Sarafyan says, "like Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Lauren, Bette Davis, you look at these wonderful women, Grace Kelly — they celebrate their femininity and I think that with Clementine I got to do that."