Issue 01: The L Word
The 2005 entries were originally written for the journal I kept in WST 3015/Intro to Women's Studies. They have been modified slightly since then.

"Analyze representations of women workers in ads, news reports, TV shows, and movies."

As far as TV shows go, the idea of a woman working while the dad stays home with the kids is really only used in sitcoms and other comedies. Other female workers tend to be single, unmarried, and childless, or they're a working mother with a working husband. I haven't seen shows where both the man and woman work because they WANT to rather than because they NEED to.

I remember that Roseanne was apparently unusual for portraying a working class family in a time when other shows weren't. I forget what the John Goodman's character's profession was, but the wife worked in a diner or some sort of restaurant to help provide for the family. The idea behind most of these representations seems to be that women only work because they have no husband to support them, or because the husband isn't pulling in enough alone, not because the woman just has a desire to work.

The L Word did a very interesting treatment of work issues with a lesbian couple that was trying to have a baby. The very A-type Bette worked as a museum consultant and got her partner, Tina, to stop working while Tina was trying to get pregnant with their child. Tina did want to work for the fulfillment it brought her, but she was caving under Bette's pressure. After Tina had a miscarriage and they separated because Bette was cheating, Tina went back to work with an organization that helped underprivileged children.

I thought the message was very interesting because it showed how complicated their financial situation was, as Tina almost took legal action against Bette and was having difficulties because the state (California) wasn't sure what to do with same-sex couples separating. It was stressful for Tina because she'd been out of work for so long and Bette had taken care of their finances, so Tina couldn't be sure any more how much money was "hers" rather than "theirs" and what possessions she owned herself since Bette's money had paid for them.

Aside from finances, it also showed that even with financial stability, many women still have a desire to be productive and do worthwhile work. Everything would've been taken care of with Bette's job if Tina had stayed with her, but even while they were together, Tina wished she could go back to work. She didn't like being all domestic and not out there doing something worthwhile. It really suggested that we need to reexamine our expectations that mothers or expecting mothers should devote themselves solely to the home instead of having personal time to pursue personal dreams.

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This e-zine copyright © 2006 Immora. All other properties are copyright to their respective holders. E-zine originally created as a service learning project for WST 3930/Third Wave Feminisms. Project started on March 18 2006.