There is a great book by Gina Barreca on women’s strategic use of humour: “They used to call Snow White but… I drifted”. Among other interesting tidbits in this book is the fact that television was at the time (1990’s) showcasing smart women and that women viewers were exercising their prerogative in helping to keep these types of shows on the air.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. When television promotes being a cougar (“Cougar Town”) as something women in their 40’s are to aspire to and the majority of women’s roles continue to be, not only supporting, but at times even in support of male stupidity, it’s time to cut the cable and the crap. I am so tired of this limited and insulting portrayal of women (did I mention shallow?). Why is it that the Brits seem to have no problem producing shows with strong and at times gritty women characters? To name a few: Helen Mirren as DCI Tennison in Prime Suspect and more recently Amanda Redman as DCI Pullman in New Tricks; Inspector Barbara Havers (Sharon Small) in the old Inspector Lynley series and Joan Hickson as good old Miss Marple. All women of substance and sometimes style, but not always- much like the majority of us.
To those who love Cougar Town or are happy to now define themselves primarily as “cougars” more power to you. But, for me and I suspect many other women, I’d like to see a little less trashy novel T.V. scripts make it to the little screen and a whole lot more of strong intelligent women leading the way, showcasing their wit and generally just rocking on in the world, whether it be in policing, law, politics, tech, or finance. Kind of like what is happening in real life. Surely, it must be time.