Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 09/16/2011

‘Whitney’ advertised as another sexist TV show


An ad for ‘Whitney’ (Image via NBC Universal)
“Whitney” looked promising. A show starring, co-written and executive produced by comedian Whitney Cummings. A storyline about an opinionated, empowered female who grapples with her relationship with a man she hasn’t married.

But then came the advertising campaign. “Women are like emotional ninjas,” one ad read. “The silent treatment — punishment or reward?” another asked.

TV News site Digital Spy wrote sarcastically in response to the ad campaign: “Hurrah! It's an era in which woman are either dumb, or manipulative... We never say what we mean! We're shrews, cruel, and we prey on poor, little, hapless men! Thank God someone's finally had the guts to say it!”

“Whitney” is not the only show that’s pushing antiquated views of women this season.

While the LA Times praises this season’s TV lineup for suddenly being “flooded with edgy ‘It’ girls’ both in front of and behind the camera,” the Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever says to take a closer look.

Stuever points out that while a few choice women, such as Tina Fey on “30 Rock”, are in empowered female roles, the rest of them are in roles that seem to push back the feminist movement a few years.

A quick glance at this season’s lineup, writes Stuever, and “It’s all bunnies, baby dolls and broads — and bridezillas and bimbos, if you get into reality TV. It’s still giggles and jiggles.... My, the jiggles.”

Stuever criticizes the newest remake of “Charlie’s Angels” by Drew Barrymore for emphasizing “the jiggles.”

He quotes Gloria Steinem on NBC’s new show “The Playboy Club,” about Hugh Hefner’s playboy clubs in 1963, who said people should boycott the show because it is so inaccurate.

And he calls out ABC’s “Pan Am,” for making stewardesses of old look like they were “charting a course for tomorrow’s career women” by serving cocktails.

But the sexism stretches beyond the dramas, writes Digital Spy. A host of comedies this season are running on the concept that women are in charge. Bu they then reduce the female characters to “naggy wife-or-girlfriend figures who just get in the way of having fun.”

If the silver screen is to be plagued by sexism, can we turn to this season’s films? If “I Don't Know How She Does It,” Sarah Jessica Parker’s new film about a high-powered and very busy mom is any indication, we can’t.

Novelist Shirley Conran’s reaction to the flick in The Times was not pretty: “I first thought it was anti working women, then I just thought it was damn well anti-women.”

By  |  10:20 AM ET, 09/16/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company