I am sick of movies and shows with “strong” female leads who walk away from their dream careers to be with their significant others.
I watched the show “Greek” off and on throughout the last four years and I lost respect for Casey Cartwright in the final episode. Yes, drop out of law school and go do Washington D.C. anyway. As long as your deadbeat “spent five years screwing around to barely finish a philosophy major” boyfriend is by your side, you can totally make it in politics with a BA in English. Even if you just end up working as a barista in the cafe down the street from the politicians, you have a boyfriend who is going nowhere too and everything is okay.
I just watched “Post Grad” on Netflix. It’s from 2009, it stars Alexis Bledel, and it’s completely average as chick flicks go. Alexis’s character, Ryden, goes through some learning experiences and eventually gets hired by the publishing company of her dreams. She is in disbelief when she finds that her ENTRY LEVEL POSITION involves more filing than book reading, so she quits and chases her best-friend-turned-romantic-interest to New York to, presumably, work as a barista as he attends law school. At least the boyfriend is working toward some grander goal in this resolution, but it still involves the girl foregoing her professional dreams just to be loved. Maybe I don’t have the right to make this assertion because I’ve never been in a serious relationship, but these girls seem weak.
In “Greek,” Casey does find a reason to be genuinely repelled by the idea of finishing law school: she finds it morally reprehensible to be the bad guy’s lawyer. I find this silly for two reasons. First, unless you are defending a murderer who already proudly confessed, there’s a lot of grey area. Second, if you’re getting your JD for a career in politics, you don’t have to worry about being a bad guy’s attorney because you won’t be anyone’s attorney. She still wants to go into politics, so she essentially digs herself into a hole because she won’t change her career prospects, but disagrees with the schooling it takes to achieve the life and career she desires.
Rylen is legitimately an idiot about her situation. She quits because it’s hard. She quits because she doesn’t want to do the work required to climb to where she wants to be in the company. She entered naive and left the same way because she still couldn’t comprehend doing something she doesn’t like for a while until she can get everything she wants of her career. Rylen is infinitely more stupid in this case, but Casey has the added handicap of a deadbeat boyfriend to drag around, so they’re even.
Why is it so wrong for female lead characters put love aside in the interests of their professional futures? Rylen’s boyfriend stays in law school. He’s allowed to do something extremely difficult to get the job he wants. Why can’t the girls do the same? I know that males pull similar “chase after the one you love” moves in their movies, but I feel like it’s only the females who are willing to put their academic and professional dreams on indefinite hold just to be loved by a man.
I’m not often much of an outspoken feminist and it’s not because I don’t believe in gender equality so much as it is that I believe that, now that we have the right to vote and own land, simply living a life where the female behaves as the male’s equal will accomplish feminist goals more effectively than standing around, shouting about equality. This is BEDA however, so I get to complain if I want to.
I just want to see a lead female character who is able to pursue her dreams without the need for a male’s affection taking priority. While I wait for that to happen on the big/small screen, I’ll keep busy by playing the role in real life.