On Nov. 29, Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” released its first season on Amazon Video. The show follows Miriam (Midge) Maisel, a picture-perfect Jewish housewife from 1958 whose life crumbles after her husband leaves her. Midge turns her life around by becoming a stand-up comedian and changes the narrative at a time when being a divorced woman was synonymous with ultimate doom. Even though Midge is fictional, her story is relevant. She is unapologetically feminine, but nobody questions her ability to stand on her feet, or be successful in a male-dominated career, because of her personality — even though she knows it will be harder to succeed because she has ovaries and lives in a patriarchal society. Nonetheless, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” emphasizes how female narratives are still pushed to the side, just because they are centered on issues and situations pertinent to women.
If you watched “Gilmore Girls,” you probably know Sherman-Palladino, and you are probably still mad at her for that dreadful revival. Even though her name is well-established, her work is still underrated because it is centered on and targets women. “Gilmore Girls” shows the struggles of being a single mother, being heartbroken and questioning whether you are good enough, but the show is often shoved to the side as a girly show and never recognized for itself. Throughout its seven-season run, “Gilmore Girls” was only nominated for one Emmy for Outstanding Makeup for a Series. The lack of recognition of female narratives still drags on today. Even though “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has a painfully realistic depiction of living with mental illness and brilliant performances, the show is still trying to find its audience just because it is centered on a woman who does not apologize for being a woman. The main character cries, falls in love, falls out of love and drinks mimosas like there is no tomorrow, and this is apparently too hormonal for any man to handle.
There is no denying that female narratives are often marginalized and underrated. While most well-acknowledged series like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Sopranos” have a common denominator — a male anti-hero main character — stories centered on women must never follow a formula to be considered relevant. However, this constant reinvention never secures recognition. Regardless of male-centered small-screen depictions, femininity is not weakness. Women are still intelligent, independent and strong, even if they are wallowing while watching “Bridget Jones” and eating a pint of ice cream. If we can see value in watching a line-up of men struggling with the concept of masculinity, there is nothing stopping us in doing the same with watching women redefine womanhood.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Carine Zambrano at [email protected]
A version of this appeared in the Monday, Dec. 4 print edition.