The Good Wife, Feminism and Why it is Important

There are plenty of shows that portray women in positions of power and as intelligent, capable human beings. It is definitely the case that the portrayals of women have come a long way, no doubt in large part due to the feminist movement. However, the portrayal of women as INTERESTING characters in and of themselves is a less common portrayal. This is not a matter of success or failure of the character, but just that the character is not defined by common or boring qualities such as being a house wife or a woman.

Take for example the TV Series House. It certainly portrays women somewhat fairly, they are professionals, intelligent, have carreers. It may lean a little towards specific body types, but overall it is not too bad. However, the show is still primarily about an interesting male character. This seems to be an almost universally recurring trend, with the bulk of interesting television characters being male. Gregory House, Robert Goren, Gibbs, Michael Scott. Television is full of interesting male characters, but interesting female characters are less common. Even when they are portrayed, they are often portrayed as secondary to other male characters or their role of being a mother is strongly reinforced.

This may seem as though it is making a commentary on the ‘evil patriarchy’and such, but it is not. Part of the reason is likely that most non-fiction people upon which it is good to base a character are male. However, there have certainly been interesting women in history capable of their own achievements such as Amelia Earhart who I do not particularly admire but was quite famous and could serve as the basis for a character. A main character, not a support and not a mother.

The Good Wife has female characters who are professional and defined by characteristics beyond being a mother or the support for a man. It is not banner waving feminism, but legitimate feminism where women are just interesting characters. That is why the series is important.


Image courtesy of

Related posts: