Madeleine Tabing, author of “you can Kiss My Sass” blog notes, “The idea that a man is intrinsic to a woman’s happiness is central to the argument of post feminism”. The Mindy Project, she argues, is a perfect example of the post-feminist drama about single women wanting to get married. The Mindy Project, along with other post-feminist dramas, seems to project the idea that women can be successful without men, but they cannot be successful and happy nor can they be happy without men. Despite “[Mindy’s] successful career and independent mind”, the show is centered entirely on the doctor’s journey to finding romance. One role of such dramas, the author notes, is to reject the notion that a woman cannot be single and sexually active and still be respected—she sites Sex and the City as one of the first examples of this. Like Sex and the City, the main character in The Mindy Project has multiple sexual partners throughout the show. Apparently, this is a must for postfeminist dramas. Madeleine also notes that in several post feminist dramas, including the Mindy Project, sex in the workplace becomes normal, and whomever the main character sleeps with tends to respect her the most in the workplace. While Danny, the coworker with whom Mindy is not sleeping, is rude and crass towards her, Jeremy (Mindy’s other coworker) shows utmost respect towards her and is helpful in the workplace. This lends the idea that these men respect the main character in post-feminist dramas because they are able to be sexual and professional—a trait that is apparently rare enough to command respect. Mindy Kaling (the real person) writes in her book, “I am slightly offended by the way busy working women my age are presented in film…Having a challenging job in movies means the compassionate, warm, or sexy side of your brain has fallen out,” yet she still presents the ability to have both as a groundbreaking concept or even talent. Perhaps more importantly, this trend of the sexual/professional relationship on screen also suggests that the way for a woman to gain respect and be treated as an equal in the workplace is for her to sleep with her coworkers. While I regard this as a questionable lesson, most reviews I found of The Mindy Project were positive because of Mindy’s ability to have a high-powered demanding job while still having a full life—My argument, then, would be that the main storyline in The Mindy Project seems to be that her life is incomplete without a boyfriend.
Madeleine also points out that in shows like The Mindy Project and New Girl a strong unique female character may be featured, but the shows still promote patriarchic societies and depict the main characters as reliant on men. Mindy is surrounded by men at the hospital and only outside of the workplace is she attractive; she is depicted as frumpy and sexless within the hospital. Additionally, the fact that Mindy is casually sleeping with someone is projected not as “ok” or empowering but as shameful. Mindy tells her friend that she ordered ‘clear soup’. Clear soup is used for either dieting or preparing for a colonoscopy…most likely Mindy was referring to dieting in this case, essentially saying to her friend, ‘oh don’t worry I’m not having casual sex, I’m just doing some intense dieting’. I struggle to be able to determine which one The Mindy Project is really promoting.