This weeks reading about women in the workplace and watching it in action in the Mary Tyler Moore Show got me thinking about other television shows where women are out and about with high powered jobs. In today’s world of situational comedies and television dramas there seems to be an abundance of these well respected working women. However, just because they are kicking ass in the workforce doesn’t mean they are doing the same with other aspects of their lives. This is a huge dilemma I see with attempts at this sort of television. Liberated women who work don’t seem to be allowed to have their cake and eat it too? In other words, powerful women can’t be powerful and also have a great love life.
Scandal, Season 3
Although I’m sure there are exceptions to this statement, the trend points to its accuracy. Take for example the ever so popular Shondaland TV drama Scandal. One could say that Olivia Pope is one of the most powerful women on television in terms of work, but her other relationships are in shambles. She can’t seem to stay with or even figure out what she wants with Fitz or Jake. Is she allowed to have one of them? Do we think that by the end of the series she will be riding off into the sunset with one of them? I really grapple with this idea of not being able to have both because as a feminist I want to be able to be independent from a man, while also having full control of my body. Does Olivia have this control?
Another show that has a powerful workplace woman is the 90s crime show, Ally McBeal. Ally is a independent, sharp witted, and fabulous in the courtroom, making her one of televisions most successful women. However, this is not her only depiction in the show. She also has hallucinations and a superbly dysfunctional love life, which plays right into the female stereotype of being impulsive and crazy. I don’t think Ally, just like Olivia, can have both love and her job.