President Obama's Favorite TV Shows Offer Great Lessons in Feminism
We all know that the POTUS is a total dad when it comes to his sense of fashion. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that President Obama is also a total dad when it comes to his favorite television shows. The President recently revealed his top TV picks for 2013, and they are on-point. Homeland, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Downton Abbey, and Breaking Bad are among Obama’s favorites. (Though he’s a little behind on Breaking Bad, so no tweeting any spoilers to @BarackObama, okay?) Indeed, the President of the United States has the exact same taste in TV as your old man. Presidents, they’re just like us!
Obama also noted that he loves watching Mad Men, and not for the style tips or masterful dialogue. In fact, he loves the show because of how the character Peggy Olsen sheds an important light on how hard-working women of his grandmother’s generation dealt with being in a man’s world. Hear hear, Mr. President, hear hear.
There are a lot of important feminist lessons in all of President Obama’s favorite TV shows. So if you want to watch these shows like a total bawse and like a total feminist, here’s a look inside.
Very rarely are women at the center of major network dramas. And here we have Homeland, one of the most successful dramas in Showtime’s recent history, with Claire Danes as a powerful CIA officer. Homeland shook up more than ratings when it debuted and Danes’ performance has continued to wow critics and audiences alike. What’s that you were saying about women in power, especially in government or intelligence fields? Sorry I couldn’t hear you over all of the ass being kicked by Danes.
'Game of Thrones'
I know, I know. There is A LOT of female nudity and abuse that happens in Game of Thrones. I really can’t deny that. I’ve had to turn off a few episodes myself for some of the show’s more grotesque treatment of women. And as awful as that infamous scene with King Joffrey in his bedroom is, it does, at the very least, have people talking about the status of women on television.
And when your hands aren’t covering your face from too much blood and gore, there are some damn strong women on the show — Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Catelyn Stark, and Brienne of Tarth just to name a few. So whether you believe GoT is pro or anti feminist, just keep having the conversation.
'House of Cards'
It looks like we may have a little case of the Lady Macbeths on our hands (see what I did there?). As Jezebel pointed out, the female leads in the Netflix political drama are just as evil and manipulative as the men. Not that I’m saying being evil and manipulative is good for women. What I’m saying is, it’s good that such critically acclaimed shows have roles for women that aren’t stale and predictable. How bored would we all be if Mrs. Underwood was an agreeable housewife?
A complex show like House of Cards deserves a complex look into how its women are treated. And, do, onward to Season 2.
WHO RUN THE ABBEY? Girls.
Seriously. Sure, sure, at first glance, Mr. Crawley appears to be running the show, but we all know it’s the Dowager Countess (played by the living legend Maggie Smith) who is the real bawse. And though Downton appears to be a place where women are kept quiet and mannerly, the show continues to dash out those old, tired stories and gives us women who carve out lives of their own.
First and foremost, to Anna Gunn, I just want to say this, GET IT GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL.
The talented actress who played the unforgettable Skyler White on Breaking Bad had plenty to say about the series and the conversation about women. The actress dealt with a lot of “Skyler hate” for her portrayal of the less-than-obedient matriarch of the White family. Her response to the un-due hatred? This:
”As a human being, I’m concerned that so many people react to Skyler with such venom. Could it be that they can’t stand a woman who won’t suffer silently or ‘stand by her man’? That they despise her because she won’t back down or give up? Or because she is, in fact, Walter’s equal?”
Just win all of the awards for everything.