As any fan of Scandal will tell you, Olivia Pope is the absolute best, and now we all have even more reason to love her: she has openly identified as a feminist. While explaining sexist double standards to a female senator who's campaign she's taking over, she just tosses it out there that "as a feminist" she doesn't support it. And not only makes Olivia Pope even cooler (if that's even possible), it also makes feminism cooler (if that's even possible). All in all it's a good night.
Of course, Olivia Pope also has a long history of feminist actions. Just this season, she's stood up for a rape victim and worked to protect the privacy of an underage girl threatened with the release of a sex tape. She's also made it perfectly clear that she doesn't buy into rape culture, taken on sexist double standards, and in this episode she not only went to the mat for her friend, a domestic violence survivor, she also did so by respecting her decisions and by supporting a female senate candidate. And that's all just in season 4 so far.
All in all, her feminist credentials are pretty darn impressive. She isn't perfect, of course — but then again no one is. And even if Olivia's personal life is a bit of a mess, she's still been a stellar advocate for women.
And her daring to identify as a feminist is great for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it's been pretty apparent lately that women of color face a lot more skepticism when they declare their feminism. After all, just look at the numerous think pieces about whether or not Beyoncé — who has not only called herself a feminist, consistently for years but also put the word "feminist" up in lights, literally, at the VMAs — can be a real feminist because of her sexy routines. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus can simply announce that she's a feminist and the consensus seems to be that it's fine for her to say so. So having Olivia Pope proudly declare herself a feminist is a big moment.
But even beyond that, it's great to see Olivia identify as feminist precisely because she is flawed. Because she does do some un-feminist things, like letting her married boyfriend treat her badly, for instance. But at the end of the day, she cares about women, and she fights for women both personally and professionally. And that's what being a feminist is really all about.