When it takes shows explicitly set on other planets, in other universes and in alternate realities to consistently bring us complex female characters not hemmed in by sexist narrative conventions, it is time to take a look at what's going on in shows set on this planet.
Dating can be confusing -- especially when one or more parties links emotional milestones to consumerist signifiers. And yet ... somehow, the solution is probably not to buy cheap accessories at Target.
Give yourself the gift of an L&O:SVU marathon. In a TV landscape where women are routinely shown as hyperemotional and unprofessional, watching the no-nonsense Detective Olivia Benson is a cool, calm drink of water.
If there is a better metaphor for the corrosive spiritual effects of internalizing the dehumanizing commercial definition of "beauty" than the soul-sickened doctors of "Nip/Tuck," I haven't seen it on TV.
While MTV originally planned to band-aid the episode of Jersey Shore featuring Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi getting punched--hard--in the face by by airing a PSA cautioning "Violence against women in any form is a crime," they've now decided to not run the footage at all.
An MTV representative said "What happened to 'Snooki' was a crime and obviously extremely disturbing. After hearing from our viewers, further consulting with experts on the issue of violence, and seeing how the video footage has been taken out of context to not show the severity of this act or the resulting consequences, MTV has decided not to air Snooki being physically punched in next week's episode."
Does that mean the clip wasn't disturbing before it went viral? Jersey Shore was shot months ago, and MTV has been sitting on the footage since. Were they waiting for moral public outcry or for violence against women to go viral?
In made-for-TV Christmas movies, there's a bizarre ethos that the best holiday is the one where a woman gives everyone the gift of walking all over her. Then -- and only then -- has she earned the right to have a merry Christmas. At long last, she loves Big Santa.