Looks like NBC’s got a thing for women right about now. NBC and MSNBC. The network jumped on the ‘Sex and the City’ rehash train with an actual Candace Bushnell follow-up: Lipstick Jungle. The news network…well, they’ve got Chris Matthews and David Shuster. What else can I say? They’ve apparently got women on the brain as well. [The only two that seem to matter to them right now share the same last name, but I digress]
What I’m really talking about here isn’t just NBC and Lipstick Jungle (or ABC and Cashmere Mafia, for that matter) – it’s the general trend of putting forth high-achieving women as hopelessly conflicted semi-basket cases. Most of the time, if they have achieved a high-enough level, their husbands are dealing with male implosion and they’re still dealing with the responsibility for most of the home life [whether it’s actually hands-on or managing the nanny and the maid]. They still hafta stroke the guy’s ego, and deal with some simpering in that department – but then if things don’t go well at home/office/in the public eye – they take a private moment to cry.
The stereotypical ‘claw-her-way-to-the-top-by-any-means-necessary-b*tch’ will do the strong, silent cry: a few tears roll down the cheeks and are immediately wiped away, with furtive glances [even though she’s alone]. The ‘sensitive-but-still-in-charge-woman’ [read: the wimp] gets to boo-hoo it up in front of her girlfriends for some good old-fashioned hugs and ice cream. And inevitably, there’s at least one who is totally into being a strong, independent [never actually say the word feminist – but then none of these women do] woman, and is completely swept off of her feet by a guy that’s even more successful than she is. (Note: He won’t actually stay with her, because he’ll realize she’s too attached to her job/life/individuality/independence and at the end of the day he wants someone who can stand by his side and wave – OR he’ll leave cuz it’s just a glorified booty-call, he was in it for the chase, and she’s actually decided she could work from home just so she can be near him 25hrs of the day.)
It’s a recipe that seems to be working [at least as long as the strike has been on – we’ll see how things go now that the WGA is patching things back up.]
What’s up with this? Is this really the way successful women are? [I mean the super-successful ones that are worthy of having tv shows made about them – not the regular successful ones who make up the rest of America’s female population.] Ever notice that when they’ve made it to the pinnacle of success, their morals get spotty and there tends to be a fair amount of hanky-panky goin’ on? Maybe that’s following a male example/stereotype based on access, maybe not. But really, maybe it’s me that’s out of touch. I don’t actually know any CEOs – male or female – so, maybe that’s what it really is like.
Somehow, though, it seems to me like these shows are trying to impress on us the message that Concerned Women for America [and others like them] are trying to get out: feminism sold us a bill of goods, and all we really wanted was a husband and some kids, anyway. If we go out there and work, and get all ambitious, how will we ever get a man???
MSNBC.com has the answer, and it’s from a woman. Lori Gottlieb knows us. She’s a woman. So of course, she does. And her solution? Settle. [h/t Shakesville] Stop all the posturing ladies – you know you want a man. And you know why, too, right? So, you can have bee-yoo-tee-ful babies together. As many as possible. All that corporate-ladder climbing is for the birds. Or rather, for the men. But, you know, since you already have a job and everything, and most families in America can’t really afford for an adult in the house to not work…just find some guy you think you can live with. Who’ll take the kids for a moment or two every week, so you can catch some down time. You know – someone who can open the pickle jar. [Yeah, I watched the ‘matchmaker Oprah’ – and while I agreed that you shouldn’t approach a date like an interview, or come in looking like a slob, or one-up everything a dude says…why do I still need to sublimate the successful parts of myself to be with someone? Oh that’s right – cuz ‘men still need to feel like men’.]
So, while I was a little interested in Brooke Shields’ return to the small-screen, and the fact that another Candace Bushnell book was being adapted for tv, I don’t know how many more of these I’ll be watching. I happen to really be into Lucy Liu’s hair on Cashmere Mafia
but I can’t seem to get into the show otherwise, and it seems of the same ilk, basically. All mega-successful women trying to deal with how everyone else has a problem with them because they’re mega-successful women. Guess it’s progress, though. Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe didn’t really have much in the way of jobs…although they did have incredible apartments. [magic of television]
So I’ll end with a positive: go here, pick a woman, and support her.