Television is one of my major guilty pleasures. But one of the things I love about tv is its ability to influence society and culture. Television shows have been groundbreaking for decades, pushing the envelope on themes and characters that society was just beginning to embrace. Right now, the culture is all about female empowerment and women breaking out of stereotypes, and television is helping that movement along.
For example, Lifetime, which ten years ago or so had the very traditional and safe tagline, “Television for Women,” has recently changed to “Welcome to the Fempire.” In fact, their commercial which starts with, “The Future Looks Pretty” takes a very unexpected but welcome turn. Check this out:
One show that has sort of stayed under the radar, but really shouldn’t, is Lifetime’s UnReal. This show is about the making of a “Bachelor” type reality show, where the women are treated to a “fairytale” and competing for the love of the sexy bachelor. But hidden under this stereotypical female show is the real story. Two ruthless, powerful and manipulative women run this show, and they use the female characters as pawns in their cruel game of creating reality tv drama.
It’s an awesome show. Why? Because the characters, who are mostly female, represent almost every type of woman, and the show’s main producer, Quinn, is absolutely merciless in pursuing her professional goals. You will love her. And you will hate her. And then you will totally want to be her. And then you will hate her again. And this show is complex. Women producers pushing against the previous male producer, the two actually literally and figuratively battling over whose storylines are more representative of what the public wants to see. And then you have the show within a show; the female contestants trying to figure out why they are there, what they really want to be remembered for, and how they handle being completely manipulated into playing a character they never wanted to be. So many layers of feminism here and so many complex comments on society at large and the roles women are “supposed” to play. Could be the topic of our next podcast!
Give it a try and then let us know what you think!