There are two dramas on the air that, while they are good shows, make me uncomfortable. But before I get into what makes me uncomfortable (although it’s no big secret if you’ve read the title), I want to talk about why these shows are good.
Scandal (on ABC) and Being Mary Jane (on BET) are two dramas that have captured an untapped audience, black women. There are very few shows, dramas particularly, that target black women as an audience and casts black women in leading roles.
Kerry Washington (who I adore) plays the fierce Olivia Pope who is having an affair with the President. This is major…Kerry is the only black woman in a leading role on a major network show. She is an awesome actress and really deserves all the glory she’s receiving for the role. Gabrielle Union plays the successful single news anchor Mary Jane who has a complicated personal life. As a black woman, it excites me to see these women taking on challenging roles and getting some (much needed) attention for doing so.
What really grinds my gears (Family Guy reference noted) is that these characters, though successful, attractive and smart choose to be mistresses. Now, I’m not one of those “these shows are an attack on the institution of marriage” types…because I really don’t think that’s what these shows intend. However, it does concern me that main characters in these shows are mistresses. What also bothers me is the reactions that I’ve heard (or seen) on social media. They range from “I’m waking up early to go down on my man” to “what you won’t do for your man another one will” with the #beingmaryjane or something equally disturbing for #scandal.
Are these shows subtly trying to keep women in “their place” by telling them “if you don’t do everything for your husband, he’ll cheat so you better get on the ball”? I resent the notion that women must always cater to men…husband or boyfriend. Men and women should cater to each other. Furthermore, why are we encouraging women its okay to share a man who has a wife? A cheating husband is a cheating husband and he should be blamed for his actions. BUT, he is cheating with someone. If you know a man is married, why would you take part in helping him destroy his marriage? If he wants to destroy his marriage, let him do it on his own and deal with his conscience. Are we also showing men (if they’re watching) that its okay for you to cheat if your wife doesn’t do what you want sexually (or otherwise)? If men don’t want to be married, they need to figure something out (without cheating on their wives). But us as women, particularly black women, need to stop accepting the role as the mistress (side chick).
What worries me the most is that I hear 14 year old girls talking about Scandal while I’m riding the bus. Fourteen year old girls should not be watching this show (and parents can deal with that part the way they now how). I just hope these young girls aren’t absorbing this stuff and thinking a) it’s okay to be a man’s mistress or b) it’s okay to accept being cheated on because it’s a part of life.
I’m going to get off my high horse now, because again I do watch them (Scandal more than Being Mary Jane). I just wanted to get out something that has recently started to bother me. I may stop watching them, I may not, I don’t know.