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Grey’s Spinoff May 9, 2007

Posted by erinsull in bitch, careerwomen, Female Power, Grey's Anatomy, Kate Walsh, women in television.
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I just came across this interesting New York Times article about the new Grey’s Anatomy spin-off centered around Kate Walsh’s character Dr. Addison Montgomery (formally Sheppard as fans of the show are well aware). Being a fan of Grey’s I watched the 2-hour episode, which set up Addison’s new show. At 11 o’clock as the closing credits rolled I had this sense on dissatisfaction and annoyance but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. While Grey’s admittedly has its own issues (the title character Meredith is an extremely polarizing figure) I’d never had this kind of reaction to it. This article summed up a lot of the problems I had with the episode. Addison first appeared on the show at the end of season one as the ex wife of Meredith’s boyfriend, Dr. Sheppard (more commonly known as McDreamy but I can’t deal with that name). She was intimidating, a “coolly amused villainess” who was in town to challenge the show’s frail and often flaky heroine. Addison was sophisticated, beautiful, confident, and on top of all that a world-renowned surgeon. She could have easily been the character everyone loved to hate but the writers made her surprisingly likeable. She was a real woman, who while sometimes exuding perfection, made mistakes and had emotions. At first I commended this change, I liked that she wasn’t a one-note villain but someone who viewers could identify with.

However with recent plot twists Addison has become a shadow of her once intimidating self. As the articles’ author notes “her character evolved into a more likable colleague, but for some reason, that change required her to become dizzier, chattier and very much like the ever confused and self-doubting Meredith — and, of course, Ally McBeal”. She was prompted to leave Seattle Grace after she was scorned by two men (one an intern, another whom she had rejected many times I the past). What does it mean that to make the character more relatable (and thus able to carry her own show) the writers felt they had to make her flakier and far less self assure? The head writer and brains behind Grey’s Anatomy is a woman, did she feel this new Addison was necessary to appeal to a wider audience? I can’t really take her transformation as natural character development for one of the world’s foremost neonatologist. Was the original Addison just too powerful and confident, too much of a “bitch” to make people tune in and care week after week?

The article makes an interesting point about the other women on the show who are supposedly a more empowering portrayal of professionally successful women. It says “on “Grey’s Anatomy” at least two female characters, Christina (Sandra Oh) and Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) have confidence, big egos and an ability to keep their sorrows to themselves most of the time”. They lie in contrast to the women on the spin-off who are “fragile and pitiable” and “prone to public displays of disaffection”. While I agree that it was tough to take watching these professional woman constantly overcome with emotion (mostly at the whim of men) I think it is interesting that the author puts such a high regard on women keeping their emotions to themselves. Is that key for women to exude a sense of power and control? Anyway the article is a really interesting look at the sometimes-disheartening portrayal of women even on “the most bourgeois women’s television shows.”

Cosmo Magazine May 1, 2007

Posted by Melissa in bitch, bodies, careerwomen, competing feminism, controversy, cosmo, general considerations, Girl Power, Helen Gurley Brown.

I had a conversation with a friend recently when I let slip my secret obsession with Cosmo Magazine. Over the next 30 minutes she berated me for buying the “trashy” magazine and wasting my money on nothing but useless information (mostly advice about the body, sex, and relationships for the career woman). On looking back at the conversation I can’t help but feel bothered by such harsh criticism of a magazine I feel deserves much more credit than it currently receives…. (more…)

9 Times It Pays to Be a Bitch April 24, 2007

Posted by jenniferlewk in attitude, bitch, cosmo, gender.
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Today’s G.I. Jane discussion concerning the empowering “Suck my dick” line made me really think about the significance of the equality of verbalization, attitude, and actions. In the film, Jordan is not empowered by her femininity-she gains respect through her attempts at becoming more masculine so that she can more easily fit the soldier and group-mentality image. This particular part in the film reminded me about the word, “bitch.” First of all, I don’t really understand the transformation of that word being used as an acceptable form of salutation. The whole “beyotch” phenomenon is beyond me. What I really have problems with, however, is the way that strong women, women who say what they want and try to get what they need, are often categorized as being bitchy. On the cover of the latest issue of Cosmopolitan, an article entitled, “9 Times You Won’t Burn in Hell for Being Bitchy” caught my eye (sorry, I couldn’t find it online). The introduction to the article reads, (more…)