Monday, August 17, 2009

The Golden Girls - the ultimate in feminist programming

I know what you're thinking. What a cheesy, terrible show from the 80s - how could any young, intelligent woman possibly find this show remotely entertaining? But stay with me until the end of this post. I think I might be able to convince a few of you of the social value of this program, despite it's inherent cheesiness.

You see, I would claim that the show the "Golden Girls" is the ultimate feminist television show. Much more so than "Sex and the City" or "Lipstick Jungle," shows that are usually heralded as being feminist today. After all, this show depicts four strong, vibrant, and independent characters, who don't pack it all up and knit booties in the old folks' home after the age of 60.

First of all, the women of the "Golden Girls" showed a positive view of women in their 50s and 60s (and even older, for Sophia). All of the women were either widowed or divorced, and live together in Blanche's house to help save money. This, of course, is much more believable than Carrie being able to afford a beautiful New York City apartment, and Manolo Blahnik's on a columnists salary. And, while these women are neither young nor married, their lives have hardly ceased.

Sex is another reason this is a fantastically feminist show. Name another show where women this age are portrayed to have a vibrant, healthy sex life. The women of this show formed a very strong bond, and were able to talk to one another about their sex lives. They formed their own family, and enjoyed the company of men when it suited them.

Of course, the women often dealt with very modern issues (well, modern for the 80s, anyway). The show addressed AIDS, artificial insemination, racism, and fat-shaming, to name a few.

In the end, despite the cheesy "solve-all-life's-problems-in-a-half-hour" feel, and the awful Saint Olaf stories, this show provides a very strong role model for young women. One in which life does not end at 50, unless you know a good plastic surgeon.

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