While on the surface Mindy portrays the ideal post-feminist heroine in a non-traditional role the traditional gender structures are still in play. The Article, (Post) Feminism in Fall 2012 Television on the blog YOUCANKISSMYSASS, that I found discusses The Mindy Project and The Good Wife in relation to post-feminism. The article argues that although “Both of these shows demonstrate the supposedly new, modern portrayal of women in current television – even though the same, antiquated gender roles and ideologies are echoed.” She argues that through a reliance on men and portraying female liberation through sexual freedom and pleasure the show undermines the strong independent portrayal of women.
Although Mindy is an accomplished professional, doctor in a typically male dominated field, a majority of the show revolves around he being single and negotiating the men in her life. In the pilot episode Mindy is reluctantly dragged away from a date to deliver a baby. Although the show ends with her having achieved something in her career afterwards she is watching a romantic comedy and lusting after the satisfaction a relationship would bring. The blog post notes that “Mindy, though quirky and independent – is always referring to how she is single, and is constantly searching for a man, or redefining her relationships with the men in her life (in particular her coworkers).” This reliance on the idea that finding the ideal man and a relationship with him with fulfil some final need, having already found success in the professional world, undermines Mindy’s independence and strong feminine portrayal. Furthermore the author points out that “While finding a husband may not be overtly the main idea of both shows, if you look deeper, you find that a majority of Mindy and Alicia’s actions revolve around impressing or pleasing the men in their life.”
Mindy’s sexual promiscuity is portrayed through her casual relationship with her male coworker. She does however tell her friend at the end that she had a great day, that things are changing and she’s not sleeping around anymore. All while a man comes into her apartment and takes off his clothes. This indicates that being sexually promiscuous is in some way not the ideal way in which Mindy will achieve her goal of finding the right man. Thus although sexual freedom is a way in which women can assert their freedom and independence The Mindy Project portrays it as a hindrance to finding happiness in a relationship with a man. The author notes that Mindy presents a strong, successful women that women watching the show can look up to. Further noting that “In the same way that women read romance novels to escape their lives and find satisfaction in these high falutin, romantic relationships, women will also turn to television shows featuring strong, independent women who are sexually promiscuous, as a sort of escapism and fantasy.” Thus Mindy provides the modern alternative to heroine in a romance novel by appealing to feminist ideas of what a women should be. Additionally I am sure that many women can relate to Mindy’s confused struggles to navigate the world of dating and finding a man while trying to maintain that she is strong and independent. It is thus conflicting that she is trying to stop sleeping around to assert her position as a powerful women and yet sexual promiscuity is a manner in which women are able to express their freedom.
The article I read quotes another essay saying that “this interest in hegemony has meant a focus on how television incorporates feminist dissent and turns it into consensual and non-threatening notions of women’s liberation that are ultimately good for consumerism” (Brunsdon, 10). The Mindy Project presents a strong, independent, professional leading women that contradicts any feminist dissent about the lack of these types of women on television. However Mindy’s reliance on men and her attitude to sexual relationships ultimately package her in a way that is not threatening to the gender binary.