Meanwhile, Mac goes from being an embedded reporter in a war zone to sitting in the control room during Will’s show, where she regularly saves him from looking like an idiot on national TV. Maggie volunteers to report from a war-torn region of Africa and narrowly avoids being killed. Sloan Sabbith holds a PhD, goes toe-to-toe with the president of the news division, punches Wall Street jerks, speaks fluent Japanese, and stands up for what she thinks is right, even when it means physically threatening her executive producer. Leona Lansing owns the network and, it’s safe to say, scares the shit out of almost everyone, including her male subordinates.
The Newsroom is chuck-full of robust female characters. When faced with flawed women, we find ourselves utterly incapable of appreciating them for who they are as characters. Instead, we see them as universal representations of their gender, which means Sorkin doesn’t have a “woman problem.” We do.
Feminism, as a movement, constantly begs Hollywood to depict, “real” female characters. We refuse to accept the overly sexualized “hero” like Cat Woman or the sexless, overworked bitch like Miranda Priestly. We’re starving for smart, funny, flawed female characters who, if they don’t actually “have it all,” are struggling to get there like the rest of us. But, when we actually see those characters on TV, we immediately complain about what we said we wanted all along — we turn on the writers of those shows for not crafting the “perfect” female character.”
The Newsroom’ Doesn’t Have a Woman Problem by Natalie Smith
Well said. As a former teacher who dealt with male and females in a classroom and saw them struggling to grow (and sometimes not struggling at all—just getting along as best they could because that was all they could do) I so agree with this. I no of no female who is all representative of “strength,” just as I know no male who is all “strength.” Each character in fiction therefore cannot be the perfect female character—as though there is the pefectly strong human being. There is no doubt that Sorkin’s characters represent a wide variety of character types, both male and female, that he uses them in dramatic and comedic situations, and that he reveals through them the human condition at its worst and at its best without regard to gender. Mac and Maggie are similar yet different, Sloan could be the next Leona or might marry Don and raise a couple kids. Each has flaws and each, as the above states, is robust in some way. I believe Sorkin’s use of the romantic comedy idea confused those without the patience to understand what he was trying to do by not having the showbe 100% drama. Others understood. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal taste—but the accusations against him concerning female characters was incorrect.