For all of The Mindy Project's positives (a non-stereotypical Indian woman, a fairly ethnically diverse cast and a leading woman with curves and sexiness), its major flaw has been its massive amount of testosterone. Other than star and showrunner Mindy Kaling, the writers' room is a veritable test-fest. And, of the various cast, Mindy is the only female with any real, moving story line. Tamra, Betsy and Beverly are just always sort of there, in the background. They add a comedic line or two and then go on their way. Don't get us wrong, we get it: Lots of girls are just closer to guys than to girls. But for a show that was considered part of Fox's diversity push, Kaling was really the only diversity.
That's why news of a new girlfriend has genuinely piqued our interest. While we're excited to see who Mindy's new BFF might be, we're more concerned with how their relationship will be treated. When it comes to female friendships on film, there are some huge stereotypes we hope Hulu and Kaling avoid.
Admittedly, we can be catty sometimes. However, dudes will be surprised to know that the majority of the time, two mature women can actually manage to get along without any smack talk or backstabbing. We'd love to see two girlfriends avoid the power struggles and bitchiness and just be legitimate friends.
Another thing we just can't deal with seeing is more girls jealous of one another. The Mindy Project has a chance to send a message on friendship to the young women watching their show. We want to see a friendship where they lift each other up and are truly proud of each other's accomplishments. Please avoid any topic where Mindy is jealous because the friend is a mom first or where the friend whimpers about how lucky Mindy is to have a guy like Danny. It's not that those aren't real feelings. We all have them. But we need to stop and we'd love to see Mindy and her new BFF set an example.
For all of Sex and the City's brilliance and before-its-time sex-openness, one massive flaw of the show was the girls' conversations. Women have conversations beyond the men in their lives. Seriously. Yet if you watch a majority of female leads interact, they're almost always talking about relationship issues. There's this awesomely feminist scale for judging filmed relationships called the Bechdel test. To pass, there must be at least two females in the show, they must have at least one conversation and it must be about something other than men. If we want men to stop thinking our lives revolve around them, we in entertainment media to stop perpetuating the stereotype. We want The Mindy Project to not only pass the Bechdel test, but to blow it out of the water.
#NotAllGirls love the mall. As a matter of fact, some of us hate it. And shoe shopping? For the love of all that is holy, there is a significant amount of women who do not and cannot walk in high heels. Why, then, oh why must so many scenes of women take place in malls, in the shoe section, while sliding delicate feet into skyscraper heels? If you really need for the women to be doing something or browsing, why not take them to a bookstore? Need a terrible customer service experience? Drop 'em at the Genius Bar. Just, please, make them about more than pretty clothes.
Cosmopolitans are gross. For real. And we're not old enough to be caught with a martini in our hands yet. So, how about we skip the umbrella drinks or overly complicated coffee orders and show them chatting over black coffee and throwing back shots of whiskey.
Girls like to help each other. This is, of course, admirable. But, in many filmed female relationships, one woman will overstep her bounds and try to change the issues she perceives with the other woman. It's not meant to be catty or mean. Maybe she just sees a tomboy with no fashion sense desperately trying to get a dude's attention and wants to help. But it never goes right, and for a very good reason: it's not doing any favors to the tomboy's individuality. Real girls know there's a fine line between "I can help you find a few trendy pieces to add to your closet" and "Let me give you a full makeover." We don't want Mindy to overreach and lose her friend.
Ever notice how on The West Wing, when C.J. interacted with women it was often on a completely different level than how she dealt with men? Sure, she would occasionally talk a version of shop with the secretaries and female reporters. However, for the most part, her conversations with women were dumbed down more than when she talked to men. We'd love to see a smart, witty girl join the cast and see real depth added to Mindy's friendships. Is that too much to ask?
Mostly, we're still plenty excited for the new cast addition. We just hope the showrunners can properly nail down a genuine, feminist friendship.
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