Television studies: Feminism in Scandal television series | MyPaperHub


In the contemporary society, popular culture that is primarily shaped by the media has become the essential aspect of judging and also making decisions among individuals. It is media especially television that has become the medium of passing the trends, educating people and also sending subliminal messages at times (Hooks, 2000). It has also been used for ideological sharing and also influences of the ideas and values of individuals especially the young people and has become the most fundamental at passing social phenomenon especially on the socialization of individuals. As a very central aspect of the popular culture present in the world, today, the films and Television shows that are made today are mostly shed by political, social and economic factors and ideologies.

Feminism is one of the major ideologies and movements that have been adapted and also their revolutions have been highly through the use of media especially the television series and films. Feminism is defined as the advocacy of the women rights on the grounds of economic, social and political equality among the men. Feminism involves a range of political movements, social movements, and ideologies to share a common goal (Hooks, 2000). It is all geared towards the establishment and achievement of equal political, economic, personal and social rights for the women. It is the use of the television shows that creates the idealistic woman in society so as to motivate more of the women to join the feminist movements and also to know that they can thrive and also even do better in the highly patriarchal society. The television shows have also been used as an indirect or for sending some subliminal messages to society on the wave of change and also to instigate a wave of change and campaigns for the rights of the women in society. The feminist theory is also associated with the inequality and subordination. The Television series scandal is one of the shows that represent the [pop culture while at the same time highly revolutionizes the feminism and also advances a new wave of the feminist theory in society today (Hooks, 2000)

Scandal television series is one of the series that has one of the strongest female leading characters in the history of Television. The television series began in 2012 and was premiered by Shonda Rhimes and has become a household show to millions of viewers not only in America but around the globe. It is centered on a protagonist named Olivia Pope played by Kerry Washington who is a professional fixer of issues that individuals may be facing. She is also an expert at making political problems go away in most cases. With the television series, it is clear that Shonda Rhimes was creating a highly feminist character in the lead character. She can brush shoulder with the best in the country and is also able to pull through the highly patriarchal society. She makes powerful friends and enemies alike and can take one the biggest threats that face the nations while week after week of the television series. She can eradicate problems at high pressure before they can spiral out of control. Feminism stemmed from the women’s suffrage in the 1920s but later experienced a long time of dormancy until the 1960s when it gained popularity all over again. It is the feminists such as Betty Friedman and Gloria Steinem that crafted the second wave of feminism where they focused the on the equality of women (Randall, 2010). The third wave of feminism was in the 1990s, and it is this that led to the creation of major campaigns b y the use of media and television show such as Scandal, Gray’s Anatomy and House of Cards. The initiation of scandal represented the epitome and also advanced feminism in the press (Randall, 2010). Therefore, the scandal television series represents the initiation and sustenance of the third wave of feminism and is interrelated and associated with the pop culture.


Supporting examples

The feminist theory is highly related to the women’s inequality and also subordination in a highly men dominated society. However, over the course of time, with the changes and also the development of culture the feminist theory has also been subject to significant changes and shifts in focus. It is now lined with more than one aspect of the social interactions and also engagement of individuals in society. It is not surprising to witness the feminism attached to gender identity in communities that are highly heteronormative (Hooks, 2000). There are also theories that involve the woman of color majorly based on the interaction between race and ethnicity and how they subsequently shape up the experiences of individuals. In the series, Scandal, the dynamisms of the feminist theory are clearly represented and articulated right from season 1 to the current episode. The choice of Kerry Washington as the leading character Olivia Pope seems intentional since she is black. In fact, the series is one of the few that have a black woman as the main character and also among the few that have a woman of color having power and even serving as the president momentarily. She undergoes struggles in society to get to the position that she is at in the given time. As if it was intentional she is also able to unmask and also demystify the ideologies and also assumptions regarding the women of color. In an intentional way, she can beat the racially based stereotypes that all women of color especially those on the corporate scenes are unyielding as she posits her strength and at the same time is allowed to be vulnerable. For example, she is having an affair with the president and is madly in love with him. In all the scenes that the president is involved, she is vulnerable to him and is unable to end the affair in as much as she is aware that it would possibly destroy her and her career. On season five she is at the center of the scandal herself, and it starts with her needing help from the other gladiators and her father forcing her to leave the country since it is no longer safe for her after the unmasking of her affirm with the president. She is vulnerable and broken and momentarily she has no idea what to do next. 

Feminism right from the first wave all the way to the third wave and the indications of a possible fourth wave on the verge of breaking are all primarily based on trying to solve the years of male dominance and abuse of women rights in some cases (Hawkesworth, 2006). The feminists have also gone to great lengths to be able to fight the war against the oppression by the men that are dominant in virtually all sectors and also in some cases involve in the show of physical dominance through assaulting and also an abuse of the women. Historically, humanity presents repeated injuries of the women in the hands of the men and also usurpations of the man over the woman and at times directly suppressing her. The feminists have had to fight with the suppression from one decade to the next. It is the reality of the subjectivity of abuse and repression that they had to face, and hence, virtually all the waves of feminism must include some form of campaign against the abuse of the rights and also overcome the dominance of the women in society (Hawkesworth, 2006). The series television scandal is no different as a significant contributor to the wave of feminism. In one episode, Olivia Pope is faced with a challenge that involves the sexual assault of one senator by another male politician. Senator Vaughn claims to have been assaulted by Senator Benjamin Sterling and then she accidentally pushed him over a railing in her self-defense. Although Olivia can tell that there was something wrong with the story she speaks and strongly posits herself as a true feminist. She says, “I hate to accuse a woman who says she’s been sexually assaulted of lying, I’d fight to the death to stand by any woman who says she was assaulted.” It is an indication of the commitment that Olivia as the main character in the show to protect the rights of the women especially defends them from any form of abuse from the male counterparts. It also symbolizes the continued existence of suppression and violence against the women in society. The lady was a senator herself and it would be erroneous to think that it was enough to protect her or guard her against the innate feeling of power by men over the women. If the senator would assault a fellow senator and yet they hold a similar position and stature in society, then it was an indication of the continued thriving of male dominance and suppression of the women hence the need to create a wave of change and feminism to protect such women. It is this that Scandal as a show clearly works to address.

Feminist theory emerged from the feminist movements over the course of time are majorly aimed at understanding the nature of gender equality by critically analyzing the social roles of the woman and also the lived experiences. It has led to the upcoming of several other constructs in other areas to respond to the issues such as those of social construction of gender (Phillips, 2004). It is a direct effort to be able to have the possibility of women being viewed as the equal to them man and also to eliminate the social reservations for the particular roles and capacities of the women. It has been a cornerstone aspect of the feminist movements over time and is also a significant aspect of the contemporary society (Randall, 2010). In the series Scandal, Olivia Pope is made to challenge the gender roles and also the capacities of a woman. She is capable of doing anything at all levels especially the fact that the series is based on the White House. In fact at some point, as if to intentionally challenge the notion and stereotype that a woman president was not a possibility for the United States, she becomes the acting president momentarily under the authority of Fitz, the president. There was also an episode where the former first lady conferred with Mellie Grant the sitting first lady about the realities of her legacy. She assets that she was able to run the country on her own behind the scenes while her adulterous husband was busy continuing with his affairs. However, society will never remember her for anything but instead all the praises will go to the man. She says that she will be remembered as the wife of the man that has a chance to live his dreams. It is as if to challenge the fact that women have limitations and that are there to make the men look better. It is also a direct attempt to overcome the stereotype that the role of woman is still a support system for the man and also in parenting and housework while the man is expected to do the major work. In agreement with her guest, Mellie points out the level of male dominance by stating that if a woman president was instituted, then the first lady position would immediately be given some form of official position that is paid and also has its powers unlike the reality of her time.

Feminist movements have over time been accused of taking into account only white, the middle class and also some educated perspectives. It is this criticism that inspired the creation of the ethnically specific and also some multicultural aspects of feminism that include the black feminism (Phillips, 2004). The black feminism asserts that the class oppression, discrimination, sexism, gender identity and also racism are inextricably bound together. The interaction of the concepts is what is referred to as the intersectionality (Randall, 2010).  In the series Scandal, Olivia Pope was intentionally used as the main character being a woman of color. She even refers to herself and her team as the gladiators. It is the fact that she is able to survive and also move through the system in the highly patriarchal society that offers a sense of reassurance that any woman can be able to thrive in such a society. She uses her intellectual capacities and ingenuity to suffice even in the male-dominated society. There is also the portrayal of sexism when Olivia corrects Fitz of the fact that he refers to Abby as a bitch. In her defense, Olivia strongly warns him of using such a word since it was sexist. She says to him, “If she were a man you’d say she was ‘formidable’ or ‘bold’ or ‘right.'” It was to indicate the view that men had over the women and also to demystify the stereotypes conferred on women.

In conclusion, the television show Scandal is an essential tool to advance and also sustain the wave of feminism in society. Feminism is also an aspect of the popular culture critical to shaping up the outlook of individuals and also of the community regarding the feminist movement. Scandal as a television series can clearly articulate the principles and fundamental aspects of feminism and also follows the feminist theory. It can articulate issues such as back feminism and multicultural aspects. It is also a crucial tool for addressing the gender equality by challenging the social roles of women in society and also the demystifying the stereotypes conferred on the women.


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