A “Real” Leading Lady?

As we discussed in class, second wave feminism brought about a vocational change for women. In other words, women were able to have a career outside of the home. The Mindy Project can be seen as an example of post-feminism in some aspects of the episode we watched. She has a high paying, successful and well-respected job as a gynecologist is therefore not inferior but equal to men in terms of careers.

Other than the television show “Girls,” most television shows or movies glamorize real life. Throughout the blog post I read, “Like ‘Girls,’ ‘The Mindy Project’ Offers a Challenge to the Typical Leading Lady,” it focuses on how Mindy’s character is different from other roles seen in the media. As described in the blog post I read: “Kaling is the kind of actress you used to see unjustly relegated to the role of the sidekick, the funny best friend. She doesn’t look like the type of leading lady common to the romantic comedies with which her character is so enamored.”

Mindy is relatable because of her success and but also because of her failures. She is the perfect example of what a woman is able to accomplish and struggle with in today’s society. However, while Mindy does not place full emphasis on many of the things other TV shows focus on, including looks, men and clothes, she is not opposed to a more serious, consistent relationship either. However, despite this desire, Mindy is still self-sufficient and independent when her character is compared to Carrie Bradshaw or Charlotte York from Sex and the City who cannot function without a steady boyfriend or hookup. However, as the article points out, Mindy does not know how to “how to navigate something more serious” with men. The blog post discussed Mindy in relation to Girls and the similarities that are apparent between the two main characters. The blog pointed out how both of the main characters in The Mindy Project and Girls were more relatable than women in other TV shows or movies—aka their lives are not perfect.

As the article discusses, Mindy is not the typical female lead in the media. Her race, body type and profession are much different from other female leads in television shows or movies. She is not white, perfectly fit, always looking her best, or working in a female dominated field. This makes her likable, as the blog post discusses, because she is a character girls can look up to without compromising different aspects of themselves. What comes to mind with this notion is the the pressure put on women to constantly dumb themselves down to get attention from men, to seem playful. This was noted in the article we read for class with 13 Going on 30 leading character, Jenna. Furthermore, in the media, acting this way makes girls more attractive and “cute”. Another example is the expectation to always look perfect– in movies and TV, girls go to bed with make up on and wake up looking perfect.




2 thoughts on “A “Real” Leading Lady?

  1. I like your paragraph that begins with “Mindy is relatable because of her successes but also because of her failures”. She’s not perfect, and as an audience we like that because a lot of times media emphasizes and pushes towards perfection. What’s interesting though, (and we touched on this in class) is that her problem is “how to navigate something more serious” with men, and sometimes a woman who has a great paying respectable job winds up a little lonely, or less attuned to the world of romantic relationships. Which is sad, and I don’t think that should happen and it’s not a reason to wind up alone, but somehow it does happen.

  2. I agree and found both of your thoughts interesting. Something that also struck me was her inability to navigate serious relationships with men. I mean, that date scene was pretty awkward! But was it awkward because we are not used to seeing women being so forward? Or, is it just one of her quirks? I’m not sure if the scene illustrates that women can’t be both successful and be in a relationship or if her attitude is more “I’m just going to be me…and if he doesn’t like it, then so be it.” I don’t think I’m familiar enough with the show to make a judgement one way or another–but I feel like this aspect is an important part of the show and how the show fits into the postfeminist schema. So much to think about in such a short scene–I haven’t been able to figure out what the writers intended to show with that scene–but either way they’ve got me thinking about feminism/postfeminism!

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