Narrow and Broad (Perceptions of) Women

Listen up, media people. We want more women in our entertainment. Young women, old women, middle-aged women, gay, straight, and transgender women. We want to see people like ourselves. We want to see our mothers and grandmothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, cousins, and nieces. We want them beautiful, plain, or wrinkled. Firm and flabby, fit and frail, we want them all.

Who are you to tell us that a show is “too female” or that you need a forty-year-old to play the part of a fifty-year-old? You are getting it wrong. Oh, so wrong. You are underestimating your audience to the point that we are watching fewer and fewer of the shows you put out.

Perhaps our gradual defection from your audiences has escaped your notice, but it is happening all around me. The women I know watch less network television these days.  We also watch fewer films. We are breaking free and spending more time with each other instead. We are also reading each other’s books and blogs and following each other’s video journals.

Some producers are not afraid to show women of all types and all ages. Shows like Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, and The Killing often originate in Europe where the popular culture reflects people of all types. In America, though, I find myself turning off news shows, sitcoms, reality shows, cop shows and so on because too often I don’t see anyone who looks like myself or the women I know and love. We have been televisually erased.

Perhaps this is because the people who make these decisions are basing them on an audience profile from the 1960’s, or because women don’t buy the stuff in their advertisements, or because they are all convinced that young beautiful women are in the majority.  Your researchers are letting you down. Whomever does your surveys are “yes” people and afraid to tell you something you don’t want to hear.

But, there is hope!  I am here to tell you they are wrong.

Interesting women come in all shapes and sizes. Old, wise, and wrinkled women can be very entertaining and engaging. Heck, they may even be a bit daft and lovely and they would still be entertaining.  More entertaining than, say, the many prime time male-dominated shows that are your bread and butter.

And, in case you haven’t noticed, we other-women have money. We pay the bills, including the cable bills and the Netflix bills. So, we get to make decisions these days.  Sometimes domestically big decisions, such as which entertainment platforms we will fund. You can continue with your delusion but, just as we do with misogynistic politicians, we are just going to vote you out.



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  1. You said it, sister! I’m increasingly annoyed by all the plastic, too, just to make age seem more palatable. Heck, as we know, age is much better than the alternative and really, they are not fooling anyone by it. It’s just another sign of the price women pay to stay what society feels is relevant (translation: acceptable) Good points, all!

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