My Mervs (I cannot explain the origin of this term, as it is deeply, deeply offensive and terrible. Suffice it to say that it serves as a collective term for my bests since olden times) and I were recently discussing the question of finding a role model for me amongst the women of television. Things haven’t been so hot lately, and maybe I could use some inspiration. Oh! I had an idea. How about Olivia Pope from Scandal? You know, ‘consider it handled’ immaculate hair and work ethic. This got shot down, hard.
Um, her relationship with the President is problematic.
And she avoids her own problems by solving other people’s problems; you already do that too much.
OK, no Olivia Pope. Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy? That would be great, but a bit of a reach. I do not know of a single instance in life in which someone has been scared of me. I am much more ‘I will smile a lot and nod vigorously to ensure you feel at ease in my presence! I am going to make you feel so fucking comfortable you won’t know what hit you!’ Kalinda Sharma from The Good Wife? She is so mysterious and private and suspicious. I am the opposite of all of those things. I trust you immediately! You can learn everything about me on the Internet and I’m bad at boundaries! My favourite twins (my sister in law and her sister) have suggested perhaps Leslie Knope would be a good option, so I’m gonna go on a Parks and Rec tear.
I am down, without having even seen this show yet. I LOVE Amy Poehler. This Guardian interview with her is the best ever. Some select grabs:
Female anger isn’t praised much in our culture, but it can be kind of exciting, I say. “It is exciting, isn’t it?” she says, her eyes lighting up. “It’s super-exciting to not care if you’re liked, and to watch someone’s face as they realise that. It’s fun defying expectations about me. It’s a nice secret weapon.”
“I don’t fucking care if you like it!” has since, to Poehler’s amusement, become a modern feminist catchphrase, appearing on T-shirts and in cartoons. “I see life as like being attacked by a bear,” she says. “You can run, you can pretend to be dead or you can make yourself bigger.”
It’s a work in progress. In reality, I have basically evolved with Claire Danes’s TV characters. In the 90s I came over all Angela Chase (as I’m sure did 90% of teenage girls in the 90s. That shit was really really real. It’s worth a rewatch; it holds up).
I angsted and crushed. I dyed my hair and it was meaningful.
In present day times I’m all Carrie Mathison, kind of manic eyed and hard headed and getting all twisted up in weird Brodie business.
The lesson? There isn’t one, yo! Be your own role model. Or something.