July 15, 2008

Powerful Women on TV Get Called Names- Shocker!

We all know the mantra, women can play strong on TV, yet they are the girlfriend, wife or mother (if they are there are at all) in the movies. But, it shouldn't surprise anyone that powerful women on TV get called the same names that powerful women in real life do. We like our TV women tough, but not too tough to make anyone uncomfortable. The ones that push the boundaries (usually the ones on cable) get called the names.

In anticipation of the Emmy nominations this week some of the actresses who play strong women on TV like Glenn Close and CCH Pounder spoke out in an MSNBC piece talking about their characters (which both incidentally appear on FX.).

From Close: “That kind of language is prevalent for women in positions of power,” Close told msnbc.com. “They’re labeled bitches, spinsters, sexless. It’s still out there. There have been all kinds of studies that women are more attractive if they’re self-effacing and non-aggressive. Under those circumstances, I love playing this character.”
If you haven't seen Damages you gotta get season 1 on DVD (season two will premiere in 2009). Patty Hewes, Close's character, is tough and morally ambiguous -- well, she's actually rotten and mean but you can't really always tell. That's why I love her.

Power to you, Glenn!

I also love the quote from CCH Pounder who has endured the sexism and craziness as the new commander on The Shield. The final season of The Shield will begin airing later this year.
“When women appear to be taking positions that previously represented a man’s domain, men have to do everything, and I mean everything, to keep those women in their place,” Pounder explained. “It’s a struggle to keep the long-held tradition that it’s a man’s world alive, so the word ‘bitch’ is just a minor part of the many putdowns and undermining of women that goes on.”
Bottom line is that no matter if it’s national leaders or fictional characters, there seems to be a double standard when men and women act in power-seeking ways.

Powerful TV women must face backlash (MSNBC)
Close photo: Remand Garr/PR Photos