Cybill’s Contributions

By: Lacey Worsham

Prior to this week’s class, I had only watched Cybill on TV a handful of times when I was younger. Back then I remember thinking it was a funny show, but watching it now it’s interesting to note just how many references and ideas probably went right over my head. After reading the chapter in the Sitcom Reader, I have a major newfound respect for this show and the contributions it made to feminism in general, especially pertaining to the ground it gained concerning women in the work force. By creating a show that revolved around a divorced woman, her relationships with her two daughters, and her work experiences in the entertainment industry, Cybill Shepherd brought many new and interesting topics to television.

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Throughout the entire show, Cybill is constantly met with challenges that women in entertainment were realistically meeting at the time, whether that be less female opportunity or degradation. She never falls prey to these challenges, however, because she has no qualms about standing up for what she believes in and deserves as a woman. Even if she has to choose between her job and her dedication to fighting for her own equal rights, she sticks to her decision. This was an important message to be sending to women in the 1990s, and I believe it made a major impact upon our own generation and the way we view women. Although this show is not often credited with this large amount of significance, because it can be easy to at first brush off the feminist remarks as simply funny, I am honestly not sure where we would be without it. We would certainly be behind in understanding the category of liberal feminism that it discusses, and I for one feel like I owe respect and appreciation to Cybill and the positive discourse it created and achieved. By not only creating a strong lead female character, but also tackling common roadblocks women face in society, Cybill Shepherd made vast achievements within the feminist discourse we experience today.

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2 Responses to Cybill’s Contributions

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree. Cybill was an important show for promoting the ideals of feminism to be consumed by the masses. I think the lack of intersectionality is important to note here. This brand of “white feminism” while valuable, falls short of an all-encompassing brand of feminism that applies to all people. – Serena Daya

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I had never seen this show before taking this class, but I had watched The Last Picture Show and a mini doc about the cast in another class, so I knew a little about Cybill Shepherd’s personal life. I thought the episodes we watched for class were good and progressive for the time, but I also agree with Serena’s comment that it only really represents one brand of feminism.
    – Sarah King

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