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Richard Cartwright, ABC
Culture

Women have successful year on TV

As 2013 comes to a close, entertainment critics and writers are commenting on how strong of a year it was for women on TV.

Margaret Lyons of Vulture wrote that 2013 was a good year for women on TV, saying that a lot of the hit shows featured powerful female characters that heavily influenced character decisions.

“There is still major, major ground to gain, and smashing the patriarchy takes a long time. But maybe we're making some progress,” she wrote.

Lyons wrote that several shows — like Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black,” HBO’s “Girls” and FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” — were female centric with women cast in the top roles. And she said ABC’s “Scandal,” a political thriller starring Kerry Washington, features a lot of female characters who have brought the show a lot of fame and success.

Other shows, like AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” didn’t focus solely on female characters in 2013, but they did show women reworking their roles of being separate from their husbands and independent, Lyons wrote.

“Everywhere I looked this year, there were interesting women with unusual stories and unusual styles, ideas, and perspectives,” Lyons wrote. “I hope there are more next year, especially more stories by and about women of color, queer women, and women with a wider range of body types and physical abilities.”

And Melissa Hugel of PolicyMic also said it was a good year for women on television. She specifically referred to Golden Globe nominations, where the nominees for Best Actress in a Television Comedy Award are main characters in their shows and not supporting characters.

“These women are all stars in their own right — not supporting players,” wrote Hugel.

Hugel also wondered why women are doing so well in television roles and not on the movie screen. She said it’s possibly because women like watching TV and Hollywood might not realize how many tickets women buy for movies.

“Whatever it is, actresses are clamoring to star in the next big television show, because even the non A-listers are getting quality roles (and at times, this choice comes at the expense of film success),” Hugel wrote.

Arienne Thompson of USA Today wrote in an article that black women especially are underrepresented in the film industry, adding that Oprah Winfrey and Lupita Nyong’o are the only black women to be nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards.

“In fact, black women are entirely absent in the best actress, best director and best screenplay categories, begging a troubling question: Where are the black women in Hollywood?” Thompson asked.

Women in the media has been a subject of discussion lately after a video — titled “How the Media Failed Women in 2013” — went viral across the Internet last week, according to USA Today. Supporters and critics of the video have surfaced, with both sides wondering how true the video is, USA Today reported.

"Women's roles are often characters who are damaged, manipulative and promiscuous," said Patricia Phalen, an associate professor at George Washington University, to USA Today. "Representation isn't just about the pictures the media use to tell stories, but about which stories the media choose to tell."

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