- 4 years ago
- Wedding: October 2010
My husband and I recently rented and watched seasons one and two of House of Cards – its the Netflix series starring Kevin Spacey (whom I really like as an actor). Its a good, fun series and I’m enjoying it. EXCEPT for how the two lead women characters are portrayed. Warning – there are a couple of minor plot spoilers ahead but nothing major.
Okay, so the first storyline concerns Zoe. A young, new, ambitious, talented reporter…who sleeps with a Congressmen in exchange for news scoops. Another, more established woman reporter later admits to Zoe she has done the same. In another episode, Zoe, defending herself to a new boyfriend who has discovered this about her says, “its not like I’m the first reporter to do this.”
The whole thing just reinforces that gross stereotype of a successful woman who has f’d somebody to get ahead. Why?
The second thing – and the one that REALLY annoyes me is the season two story line that focuses on Claire. Claire is the wife of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey). They are a D.C. power couple and happily married in their own way. Claire is successful in her own right. She runs her own non-profit, is intelligent, savvy, ruthless and beautiful.
She and her husband have no children and it is made clear this was their mutual choice. And I just knew, KNEW, that they would just HAVE to portray Claire as somehow sad or ultimately unfulfilled because of this. Sure enough – at the conclusion of season two she has a teary conversation with her husband asking who all their achievements and accomplishments are for? What will be left after they are gone? And next scene she’s at an appointment at a fertility clinic.
Thus reinforcing a second, and in my opinion far more damaging stereotype of childless/childfree woman as ultimately unfulfilled after having, of course, changed their minds after realizing the only REAL accomplishment and satisfaction a woman can achieve is through birthing babies. GAH! WHY? Naturally, her husband – owning the penis – doesn’t give a damn and isn’t judged about having chosen not to have children. In fact, in an earlier episode, he admits he despises kids.
I get that the show is a drama and these two things make for (I guess) interesting storylines but it really, really makes me both mad and discouraged. Its a good show – cleverly written, beautifully acted. So WHY did they have to reach for the lowest fruit on the branch when it comes to the story lines about the two main women characters? Couldn’t they have done better? Make these women more and better than cheap and tired cliches?