Friday, May 1, 2009


The BBC show Mistresses reminded me of how differently women are viewed in Europe and North America. Mistresses is obviously inspired by Sex and the City. In the British show, four women who remain friends through all kinds of hardship and emotional turmoil even share the professions of some of the characters of Sex and the City. The way these shows portray women, however, couldn't be more different.

First, the characters of Mistresses look normal. They dress like regular women, their hair looks regular. Nobody on the BBC show is trying to create an illusion that women walk around the city and even go to work in skimpy shimmery dresses and outrageous heels, all the while keeping every hair on their heads in its place.

The most striking difference, of course, is not the characters' appearance. What really attracts me to the BBC show is that the women in Mistresses aren't pathetic. It's such a relief to see women who can have all the problems in the world but still never come close to being so ridiculously pathetic as the characters of shows such as Sex and the City.

In the American show, beautiful and successful women are ready to humiliate themselves to the extreme to recieve a crumb of affection from any passing loser. Besides being absolutely unrealistic, this image of contemporary womanhood is very offensive. Mistresses, on the other hand, doesn't follow such silly stereotypes. The female characters are surrounded by normal, attractive, realistically-looking men. They follow their hearts and their bodies without repeating the word "relationship" every 15 seconds. When they get together, they don't spend hours figuring out what HE said and did and what it means for the relationship. The characters of Mistresses concentrate on their own feelings and desires.

Watch BBC if you want to be reminded of what feminism is supposed to be about and just how dead it is in the US.

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