Olivia Pope. I love her. I want to be her. She's stylish, talented, successful and always seems to know the right thing to do or say.
I have one major issue with her though: Olivia Pope is the "other woman", a homewrecker, a person who lacks the ability to find a healthy relationship of which she is deserving. She's the one who can't seem to see that a married man is just not going to leave his wife for her, no matter what he says or promises, no matter how many hidden phone conversations they have or stolen moments they share.
Image: Yahoo TV
Hollywood and the media have glorified the role of The Mistress. With the creation of Olivia Pope, an inspirational professional woman who is an egregious louse at relationships, to the new show on ABC actually entitled "Mistresses", I fear that women are being encouraged to romanticize the idea of being the other woman.
Ladies, let's get this straight-- there is no glory in being the "other woman". There is nothing romantic about trying to seduce a married man. You may as well be the school slut who has genital warts, because while he might sleep with you, he certainly won't take you to prom.
Image Credit: ABC
What's worse is that we hardly ever hear from another woman in the picture - the wife. The more we hate Mellie, the more we can relate to Olivia. It is easier for us get swept away by Fitz's and Olivia's intense connection if we believe that Mellie is a hard, cold, unloving bitch. Supposedly, Mellie makes Fitz's life miserable... but how often is this true in reality?
I would think that a cheating husband is the one who is hurting his wife, causing rifts in the marriage, and neglecting his responsibilities to be a loyal, faithful and loving partner, which can certainly make any wife resentful! I'd be pretty pissed myself. She's the one sleeping alone in their bed while he's off philandering. She's the one parenting their children while he's stoking the flames of some threadbare spark. She's the one holding it together while he figures things out.
Yet nobody wants to acknowledge that Mellie was once in Olivia's shoes. We don't often hear about the beginnings of Fitz and Mellie's love story. She too had fallen for a man who promised her the world. She devoted her life to him through marriage... and now, because he is bored or insecure or simply tired of living a married life, he is justified in tossing her to the side. Fitz is even made to look pretty darned sexy when he's sneaking a call to his mistress from the bathroom. Really? There's nothing sexy about a grown man hiding in his own bathroom; maybe he should grow a pair.
Instead, we empathize with Olivia's heartbreak and pain. We follow her as she is tormented about whether or not to keep the private cell phone that Fitz uses to call her. We listen as they speak in breathy voices about how much they miss each other and need each other. We watch her as she struggles to date other men and just can't seem to create the same connection that she has with the President. She's just waiting for him... Constantly waiting and wishing and hoping and dreaming.
Why? Because tragic love is romantic and makes for good TV.
Tragic love is not true love.
And Scandal is not real life, people.
I recently came across a website that exposes mistresses, called She's A Homewrecker. It is filled with tales of pain, betrayal, and lies caused by cheating. Scrolling through, and being a married woman myself, it made me realize that my own obsession with Olivia Pope is somewhat undeserving. I feel for women whose lives have been damaged by affairs and whose dreams have been broken by betrayal. There were pages and pages of heartbreak. Women sharing horror stories about how other women seduced, stalked and manipulated their way into breaking apart marital relationships.
I'd like to think that my perfect Ms. Pope, who lives to help people would never, ever cause pain to another woman, but she has. And she continues to do so, episode after episode, while Mellie smiles bravely in the midst of all this, continuing to show kindness to them both. Mellie deserves a bit more credit for dealing with a mistress with such grace: she did not post Olivia's name and photo to that website.
Image Credit: Yahoo TV
Then there's Fitz, which is where this issue originates. If anything, he is the most at fault with all of this - he is, after all, the married cheater. He's a lost cause, however. When Olivia and Fitz's affair was on the rocks, what did he do? He screwed a White House intern... Total douche.
So really, Olivia, get yourself together.
You're not special, you're making yourself available.
He's not in love with you. He's just horny.
Drop the President, apologize to his wife and please move on so that I can feel good about loving you again.
By the way, tell the media that they've got it all twisted too.
Scandal airs on ABC, Thursdays at 10pm EST.
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