We have a problem with women on TV today.
“It’s a hard time being a girl on television. Though the wealth of must-see series means there is always something to watch, stories centered on the experience of being female are increasingly rare.”
This quote comes from an article written by Vogue entitled, “Why the Cancellation of Girl Meets World is Really Bad News for Women.” Recently the two shows Girl Meets World and Good Girls Revolt were cancelled by their networks and not renewed for upcoming seasons. The point is not to debate on the rankings and merits of each show; nor it is to discuss the financial standings and decisions behind each network and their decisions.
In a era where the television screen is becoming increasingly dominated by strong, powerful women—Supergirl, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Homeland, The Good Wife—there are fewer shows out there dedicated to promoting the actual and true experiences of women and girls.
The Vogue article goes on to state, “Hundreds of hours of television devote themselves to elaborate science-fiction premises, or testosterone-heavy drama, but so few programs center on the lives and experiences of women—particularly young women.”
This speaks volumes. The aforementioned list of shows about powerful women are important shows; they showcase important role models. Yet, they have now pigeon-hold women to a certain type of standard. Sure, Meredith Grey’s life is related in the sense that she’s a highly complex character with flaws; she loves, she cries, she fails, she succeeds, and we experience all of that with her. But, and this is a big but, her life is not all that relatable to the viewers tuning into watch her weekly. We are not all surgical attendants in a hospital; we do not all experience plane crashes with our fellow doctors on a daily basis, etc. The point is that shows such as the aforementioned list illustrate strong women to the point where they are either superheroes or have high powered careers, which is a problem because there are tons of one who do not pursue careers like those in those shows.
Women-centric shows have sensationalized women to the point where they depict highly complex individuals, only in high powered careers. They do not speak to every woman’s experience, which is why its a shame when shows speaking about everyday, relatable women are cancelled, because shows such as these show ordinary women fighting, living, and struggling. They are relatable in their ordinariness.
Networks need to stop cancelling shows about everyday women and experiences: Good Girls Revolt illustrated what it was like being a woman and being unable to move up in a job based on your gender (a message that rings true even today). We need more shows like My So Called Life or Insecure, because girls, all kinds of girls, need to see their experiences on screen in a world that is too quick to try to silence their voices.
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