If you haven’t started watching the TV drama Scandal, you are missing out. You’ve gotta watch at the very least the sixth episode of the show’s third season, because it will blow your mind, especially if you believe in gender equality. I know I do, that’s why this was so inspiring.
In this episode of Scandal, Lisa Kudrow’s character, Congresswoman Josie Marcus delivers a scathing take-down of sexism in modern politics and the semantics with which men subtly put females down to her interviewer James Novak in an interview that is broadcast live on national TV.
“I know what prejudice looks like. It’s not about experience, James. It’s about gender. [Political opponent Governor Sam] Reston’s saying I don’t have the balls to be President and he means that literally. It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me and to all the women whose votes he’s asking for.”
Wow, right? Can you feel the room heating up? And the congresswoman goes on firing her bullets.
“It’s not just Governor Reston speaking in code about gender; it’s everyone, yourself included. The only reason we’re doing this interview in my house is because you requested it. This was your idea and here you are, thanking me for inviting you into my ‘lovely home’. That’s what you say to the neighbour lady who baked you chocolate-chip cookies. This pitcher of iced tea isn’t even mine; it’s what your producers set here. Why? Same reason you called me a ‘real-life Cinderella story’. It reminds people that I’m a woman without using the word. For you, it’s an angle, I get that, and I’m sure you think it’s innocuous, but guess what, it’s not.”
Powerful. Cutting. Straight to the point. And the politician who strives to be nice 24/7 finally shows that she has the temerity to bite when threatened. Strength is not derived from your gender, but your character.
“You’re promoting stereotypes, James. You’re advancing this idea that women are weaker than men. You’re playing right into the hands of Reston and into the hands of every other imbecile who thinks a woman isn’t fit to be commander-in-chief.”
The background story for her outburst is that minutes before her interview, Marcus is shown an ad from her political opponent Reston. The ad shows a woman’s trembling hand reaching for a doorknob, as the voiceover says: “On the other side of this door sit the leaders of Syria, China, and Iran. On the other side of this door is America’s future — success and failure, life and death. Does America really want an inexperienced hand opening this door?”
The ad doesn’t say it outright, but its subtext is indicating that a woman would not be confident enough to lead a country. Anyway, later in the episode, it was revealed that the ad was fake and created by Marcus’ campaign manager Olivia Pope to motivate her. Kinda expected if you’ve been following Scandal religiously. But still, excellent scriptwriting from the team, great editing and, of course, the kick-ass performance from Kudrow (but I have to admit that I keep expecting Phoebe Buffay to appear any moment).
The whole time I was watching the scene, I was subconsciously thinking of Hilary Clinton and whether she’d have the balls to make a speech like that. And would the American public love her or crush her in return? I’m already looking forward to the US presidential election in three years’ time, when hopefully Clinton or another strong capable female would run for the presidency and win. But most importantly, she would be an inspiring leader who runs the country efficiently and effectively. Now that would be quite a story to tell our future generations, don’t you think?
Credits: Celebuzz.com, The Atlantic