SHEILA NJAU ’17
It is Women’s Appreciation Month and I wanted to take the time to pay homage to women who play a leading character in TV shows. Because some people say that movies or shows have the power to move or change us, I find it highly exciting that at this time there are multiple shows on TV that include women who are presented as strong and independent. Also, these women can help show young girls that they can aspire to be anything they want to be. I will not deny the fact that some of these shows may have additional factors that may make it not as appropriate for young women. But, at the end of the day, I think the message comes across that women can be leaders and they can “change the world.” So, I would like to take the time now to talk about some shows in which women are the ones in charge that have aired in the past or are on the air right now.
The first show that comes to mind is “Charmed,” which aired from 1998 to 2006. What can be better than a show that features three women in a leading role? I remember watching this show back when it started and being invigorated by the fact these women had the ability to save the world from evil forces and the fact that even though they lost loved ones along the way, including one of their sisters, that did not stop them from using their powers to do good. Another show that comes to mind in relation to a strong female saving the world from evil is “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which started around the same time as “Charmed.” To this day, I still remember the episode where Buffy killed Angel in order to make sure that he never harmed anyone else. Despite the fact that he reverted to his good side just before she performed the act, she still did it because of the evil acts that he was capable of doing. That example showed her strength more than the number of vampires she executed during the show’s run. Changing genres, who can forget “Gilmore Girls?” There were definitely plenty of laughs to be had before the show went off-air in 2007. Is it bad of me to admit that my favorite character on the show was Lorelai’s mother? The theme song of “Golden Girls” will forever be imprinted on the hearts of many women.
Who can also forget Sydney Bristow and her missions on “Alias,” Talk about womanpower! I can safely admit that I am still a little bit jealous about how good she was at her job. Here was another character that faced personal losses, but did not quit. Rather, she kept working her hardest to help protect the world. And yet, there were some who were focused on one specific area. Brenda Johnson from “The Closer” was definitely memorable as the woman who could get almost anyone to confess. I sometimes found myself so caught up in the show that I wanted to confess, to what I don’t know. But, I have major respect for Brenda and her strange addiction to chocolate.
Since I am discussing shows with females in a leading role, I would not be doing it enough justice without making a shout-out to some shows on “the women’s network,” Lifetime. I will start with “Army Wives” because that is one that is most likely known. Some of the women were soldiers and others were the wives of soldiers. They were connected by their strength as they faced the fear of loss together while also doing their best to stay strong for their children. And then there’s “Drop Dead Diva,” which is hilarious. A lot can be said about a model and actress whose spirit inhabits the body of a no-nonsense lawyer. The result is a great lawyer who always goes the extra mile to win a case for her clients. Lastly, I will mention “Reba.” While it did not originally start on Lifetime, it currently does re-runs of this show. Yes, Reba’s husband left her for a younger woman, but that did not slow her down even one bit. She was truly a classy lady.
I would like to finish by talking about the very popular shows on air right now. I will start with “Scandal.” What can I really say to capture who Olivia Pope is?
First, her impeccable clothing and then her commanding presence, which in times of crisis, makes people turn to her. I will not deny the fact that Olivia does have her flaws (the president). But, pushing that aside, let us focus on how good she is at her job and the fact that she is based on a real-life person just makes that cake all that sweeter. Woman power all the way. There is also “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is still plugging on in its tenth season. I mean there is Bailey, who during her residency basically ran the hospital, Cristina who had a constant passion to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and a willingness to give up other aspects of her life so she could be the best surgeon, and Meredith who not only wants to be a good surgeon, but also balance being a good mother as well.
To be honest, I could keep talking for a long time about such female characters and there are definitely many other shows that I could have mentioned, but I could never be able to get to all of them. So, who comes to mind when you think about strong, independent women on TV?