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3 Feminist TV Shows You Need to Watch in 2016

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February 2, 2016

Let me just preface this by saying, I really love feminist media, but there is no real way to define what is and what isn’t considered feminist. I recognize that it’s subjective, but for the sake of this piece, I’m defining feminist media as shows with diversity, strong female characters (generally protagonists), and views about reproductive/sexual health addressed in the show. And I also recognize that some of the shows mentioned may do great in one or two aspects of those listed above, but be really awful in one, which is why I’m starting with…

1. Gilmore Girls

Although this show has very few people of color in the cast (I can only think of Lane Kim and Michel), it had some really great feminist moments. (Note: I do NOT want to belittle the problem of lack of diversity & tokenism in this show. It’s a huge problem, and hopefully they’ll lean towards a more diverse cast in the reboot. Problematic fave? Maybe). This show definitely showcases strong female leads with the spunky, generally promiscuous Lorelai Gilmore and her smart and successful daughter, Rory. I loved their self-proclaimed feminism, their sex positive attitude (unless it involved sleeping with married men… ya’ll know who I’m talking about), and their general uplifting of other women. These characters were by no means perfect, but definitely had some characteristics worth noting! Check out the Netflix reboot of the series coming out sometime this year, and in the meantime re-watch all 7 seasons already available on Netflix.

gilmoore girls


2. Jessica Jones

Although the instant hit came out in late 2015, the show is a must watch for anyone wanting an asskicking female lead. Jessica Jones is strong, independent, and totally badass. I really appreciated how this show created a protagonist that is so strong and hardcore, but who also happens to be dealing with a mental illness, PTSD to be exact. Another thing that I really loved about the show was that the majority of the cast happened to be women; queer women, straight women, women with mental illnesses, and women with past traumas. It was truly refreshing to see a show where not a single woman seemed to be used as “arm candy” or as a sex object. It felt as though each woman had their own agency, or was fighting for it with the case of Killgrave’s mind control. I also felt as though Killgrave was a symbol that  embodied male entitlement and toxic masculinity, so it was really cool to see a woman physically and mentally fighting against those things. I definitely recommend giving it a watch on Netflix.

jessica jones


3. The Mindy Project

In this show, we get a leading lady who is also a woman of color, and a more diverse cast. Mindy is smart, sassy, and funny and shows it regularly throughout the show. She’s sex positive and open, and I just really love her character. The show is no longer on network TV, but old episodes and the upcoming season can be accessed through Hulu. Rumors are that Mindy is going to be seeing her past love interest in a not-so perfect light as she has in prior seasons. There seems to be a lot in store for the upcoming season and I cannot wait to watch!

mindy kaling

This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the feminist media available to us, but I only have so much time and so much space and therefore can’t gush about them all. Other honorable mentions include: “Broad City,” “Orange is the New Black,” “The Fall,” “Supergirl,” “Jane the Virgin,” and even from the ’90’s glory days, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Check ’em out and leave some of your feminist favorites in the comments.

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