Hulu just announced it’s adding all 180 episodes of the classic TV comedy Seinfeld to its library, so we’re taking this opportunity to celebrate Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) as one of our favorite feminist icons.
1. Elaine prioritizes her sexual conquests
One of the most popular birth control methods in the early 1990s was the sponge, but it was taken off the market in 1994. Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) had a limited supply of these sponges and began judging her potential romantic liaisons based on whether or not the man was “sponge-worthy.” We loved it.
2. Elaine takes care of her own sexual needs
In “The Contest,” Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Kramer (Michael Richards) and George (Jason Alexander) engage in a contest to see who can go the longest without masturbating, Elaine wants to compete as well. But when John F. Kennedy Jr. shows up in her exercise class, her fantasies take over and she’s quickly out of the contest.
3. Casual sex is totally OK — most of the time
One of the most famous Seinfeld episodes is “The Deal,” where Jerry and Elaine come up with a deal to keep their friendship intact while they engage in casual sex. They come up with a list of rules that involve not needing to call the other person the day after sex and spending the night together as optional. Of course, this situation doesn’t work out, but we applaud Elaine for giving it a shot.
4. Sometimes, Elaine’s more satisfied with food than sex
In the episode called “The Yada Yada,” Elaine tells Jerry she met a lawyer who took her for dinner, then said, “We went back to my place and yada yada yada.” But when Jerry asks her about the best part of the night, Elaine says it was the bisque she ate with her meal. Clearly, Elaine has her priorities straight.
5. The painful truth
In “The Mango,” Elaine fearlessly admits to Jerry that she faked every orgasm she ever claimed to have while dating Jerry. This is clearly Elaine’s first step toward getting real and attempting to explore why the relationship with Jerry didn’t work while being brutally honest with him. Only a feminist could admit such a thing to a man with such a big ego.
6. Elaine relies on other women
One of our favorite episodes is “The Stall,” where Elaine gets stuck in a movie theater bathroom stall without any toilet paper and does exactly what any self-assured woman would do — expect the woman next to her help her out. But when the woman in the next stall says she “can’t spare a square,” Elaine is left frustrated by the lack of female allegiance, which becomes even worse when it’s revealed the woman is Jerry’s new girlfriend. At the end of the episode, Elaine looks out for herself and hoards every roll of toilet paper she can get.
7. Candy first, boyfriend second
When Elaine discovers her boyfriend has ended up in the hospital in “The Opposite,” she doesn’t hesitate to stop off for candy on the way to visit him. When the boyfriend discovers her detour, he’s outraged. We think Elaine was well within her rights to stop off for a little candy.
8. She has no trouble expressing her strong opinions
After being dragged to see the film The English Patient numerous times, Elaine declares she despises the movie. Always fearless, Elaine expresses her opinion to her boss, Peterman, and nearly gets fired. We love a gal who has no problem owning her point of view, even if it’s unpopular.
9. Elaine dances like no one’s watching
“The Little Kicks” episode has Elaine deciding to kick up her heels and dance the night away at her office party. The fact that she’s a really bad dancer doesn’t inhibit her ability to have fun.
10. Solo sojourner
In “The Puerto Rican Day,” Elaine, George, Kramer and Jerry return to Manhattan by car, then get stuck in in a massive traffic jam due to the Puerto Rican Day parade. Sick of waiting, Elaine jumps out of the car to find her own way home. Elaine clearly isn’t afraid to make her own decisions and take solo adventures through the city.
11. Elaine refuses to tolerate fur
In “The Reverse Peephole,” Elaine becomes irate when her boyfriend Puddy (Patrick Warburton) wears a genuine animal-fur coat. Once the two arrive at a friend’s party, Elaine throws the fur out the window. Problem solved!