In the busy life of a graduate student, I think it’s important to find time to oneself when you can shut off your brain and simply watch a good TV show. I always choose one show to watch at a time and have been really impressed by my most recent choice: Suits. Having premiered in 2011 and renewed for a 5th season in 2014, the show is great for many reasons, with the main one being the female characters and especially Jessica Pearson. It is primarily based on two men at a law firm in New York, one of them (Harvey) is regarded as “the best closer in New York City”, while the other (Mike) is faced with maintaining his secret that he never actually went to law school. However, even though the description would make it appear as if the most important characters are Harvey and Mike, the writers do an incredible job of showcasing some pretty fabulous women as the glue that holds everything together. Here are the reasons I think they’re so fantastic and why this show is a unique breath of fresh air when it comes to the portrayal of women. I will focus on the three main female characters of Donna (Harvey’s secretary), Rachel (A paralegal and Mike’s love interest), and Jessica Pearson (the managing partner of the firm and generally the most inspiring thing about the whole show)
1) These three women are painted to be incredibly intelligent and driven. They are each at their own stage in their careers showcasing determination, drive, and often outsmarting the men on the show. Jessica Pearson calls almost all of the shots and quickly reminds people what happens if they try to cross her.
2) Their love interests are secondary to their goals and ambitions. This almost never happens in popular culture because God forbid that a woman may choose to focus on herself before a man, am I right?
3) They are flawless in their own ways. They always look fierce and beautiful, they wear the best clothes, and they vary in body types.
4) Two of them are black! Forget the whole apparent belief that successful shows only have space for one black character, this show gives two of the main ones to black women and they are amazing.
5) They’re sexually empowered. The three women speak openly about their desires to each other and are well aware of the power they can hold over men. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I agree with objectifying women based on sexuality but this show introduces the notion of a woman being able to have it all if she wants to.
Now, I’m not claiming the show is perfect or that it fully escapes problematic heteronormativity all the time. But I am saying that as a multicultural woman, I appreciate the nuance it brings to its female characters and I would recommend the show based on this fact, in addition to its worth as a well-written and entertaining plot. So if you’re looking for something new to watch, try something with a good, powerful, and diverse representation of women.