A Feminist Critique On The Good Wife Series

The Good Wife is a television show where defense attorney Alicia Florrick goes back into the work force facing the competition and chauvinism of male attorneys. I selected this series because I am very inspired by women who thrive in a man’s world. I admire how Alicia remains calm through the series, even when faced with challenges that her male colleagues present to her. Alicia is the main character. She is a strong woman but soft spoken and very composed. She knows how to interact with men through her body language which irradiates assertiveness and confidence without being too aggressive. One of her biggest challenges is that she has to deal with Eli who is a living portrait of masculine hegemony, which defines him as someone who oppresses anyone who is not a heterosexual male (Sellnow, D.D. Rhetoric Power of Popular Culture Considering Mediated Texts, pg. 90). The audience for this show appeals to feminist women because it portrays women as strong, capable, composed, intelligent, and beautiful.

In this episode, the male gaze is focused at times on Alicia’s facial features, particularly her mouth. The female agency is very well portrayed when Diane who is a senior partner in the firm, demonstrates together with Alicia how an in mate’s right to the 9th amendment was being violated right before he was giving his last words before fulfilling his death penalty.  Preferred readings reinforce taken-for-granted beliefs and behaviors as normal, desirable, and common sense (Sellnow, D.D. pg 90). Alicia and Diane demonstrate common sense behavior, however, not as desirable and normal in a man’s world, where male power is dominant.

Marxist feminist perspective (which arose from within second wave feminism) seeks to ensure economic equality for women, that is equal work for equal pay (Sellnow D.D. pg. 96). In this series “The Good Wife” Alicia, the main character faces the issue of being left out from a major case because she is a female who needs to be home taking care of her children, and according to her male colleagues, she would not have the time to bill extra hours of work. This is a perfect scenario where a woman such as Alicia, demonstrates the power of the Marxist Feminist who fights intelligently to gain the equality in her profession to be paid equally and receive the promotion she is qualified for just as her male colleagues.

The non verbal message in the show is that women are capable of being a good wife and a good career woman who can earn the respect and admiration of male colleagues through her professionalism and quality of work. Women have the capability to persevere and get through the oppression that masculine hegemony can inflict in the workplace. The connection between Marxist feminism and masculine hegemony is clearly made in this series because Alicia is faced with several challenges related to the oppression that is inflicted by the male hegemony mindset, when she is faced with the partial decision of her male colleagues leaving her out of a big case that hinder the promotion she is qualified to receive. However, her male colleagues conclude that because of her responsibility as a mother, she could not work the extra hours that were needed for this case. Alicia on the other hand, exercises her power as a Marxist feminist who strategically fights through these obstacles and claims what is rightfully hers–the promotion.

The implications of this show involve the complexities that women face when working in a man’s world–lawyers. The show clearly emphasizes the importance of what it takes for a woman to survive and thrive in such environment. The show empowers female attorneys, because it exposes the obstacles, and the solutions to learning how to face masculine hegemony in the workplace. Feminist ideologies are being supported because the success of Alicia is directly correlated to her strength as a Marxist feminist. I personally believe that it is very important that in a profession as a lawyer, a female exercises her views and values as a Marxist feminist, because she is entitled to the same pay and recognition that a male attorney would receive. Therefore, I find it critical that a female attorney is validated and recognized, as well as compensated for her talents and aptitudes as a legal professional. My analysis fits into our current understanding of communication and society by re-affirming to the modern woman that being a mother and a professional is possible and can be done with excellence. Women are fully capable of fulfilling her desire to be a mother, a wife, and professional. She does not have to choose one or the other. She is equipped to do it all and do it very well.

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