So, there’s been some criticism about the roles women of color are playing in some high-profile TV series.
I’ve seen a couple of articles suggesting that Devious Maids and even Scandal are nothing more than 21st century takes on some very old female stereotypes.
This, despite the fact these shows have women of color in leadership positions.
Devious Maids, has been criticized for casting Latina lead characters as domestic workers.
Critics attack the new drama as portraying Hispanics in demeaning and stereotypical roles. The series follows five Latina maids who work for wealthy Beverly Hills employers, definitely not a new idea but maybe a new twist.
With Scandal, some have criticized the fact that Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope, No matter how high-powered she may be, is simply a mistress with questionable ethics.
While this criticism may be valid on one level, I believe Scandal ultimately offers much more.
Olivia Pope’s character is both nuanced and compelling. She doesn’t fit neatly into any category, especially not that of the ‘tragic mistress’ since it could be argued that she has more power over the President than he does over her.
He’s repeatedly attempted to get rid of his First Lady and his presidency, and throw all of his power away for his love of Olivia. In fact, she has been the main one preventing him from doing this.
So there’s nothing stereotypical about any of this. Most of the characters in Scandal are some of the most diverse, progressive and nuanced characters to ever come along.
They’re a sign of the times we live in, where traditional roles and identities are being represented in more fluid and challenging ways.
So when it comes to Scandal, I think it’s a breath of fresh and innovative air on TV and it’s a lot of fun.
I’ll leave you with this thought from former NY mayor, Ed Koch, who said:
Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.
Please tune in later today to the debut of my new radio show, Roundtable with Stephanie Robinson, live at 11:30am Eastern Time at www.blogtalkradio.com/robinsonsroundtable where we will continue this conversation about Scandal, talk about how its themes apply to real life, and identify some current Washington scandals in need of Olivia Pope’s gladiators.
Check out Nikki Woods take on this topic here.