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Watching TV growing up and today, I always tend to gravitate towards the more substantial female characters who aren’t interested in downplaying their true selves to appease others. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how many of my favourite characters from some of my favourite TV shows would undoubtedly be financial feminists in real life.
First off, if you’re wondering to yourself: what the hell is a financial feminist? I’m glad to be the one to introduce you to the term and encourage you to be an advocate for equality amongst women from all walks of life. Financial feminism is being an advocate for equality in personal finance. For example, womxn experience a much different professional life than men.
In a UBS study, they found that for one, “women are living longer—longer than men” and that “nearly half of the marriages are likely to end in divorce, with rising rates among couples over 50.” What does that mean? Most women will either go through a divorce or become a widow. Their study found that eight out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their financial well-being.
“Some women will be ready. Many won’t.”
These conversations continue to be necessary, and if you’re not comfortable with vocalizing your feelings about financial equality quite yet, perhaps you can take a page out of these TV characters’ books – and be bold.
Let’s look at these 6 TV characters who scream financial feminism at the top of their lungs.
Although Gilmore Girls has recently taken some heat for its characters and storyline, this show was one I grew up with and continue to love. Paris has always been my favourite character, with her aggressive nature and competitiveness inside and outside the classroom.
One of my favourite episodes was when she ran for President and realized that the students, although they found her compatible with the role, also found her intimidating and unlikable. Instead of downplaying her personality, which is the historical expectation of most women in their careers, Paris stayed true to herself, and instead enlisted Rory to take on the role of the ‘nice’ Vice President.
Playing a female doctor who is undoubtedly a girly-girl is what made me fall in love with Dr. Mindy Lahiri and the entire cast of the show. By far, my favourite episode was the one in which Mindy gets passed over for a promotion after interviewing on a panel of white men. The next morning, she wakes up in a white man’s body and experiences all of their privileges. This revolutionary episode indeed showed me what it would be like to be a man in the workplace, and does it in a way that makes you both think – and laugh.
Although Sex and the City has its problems with ‘white feminism’ focusing solely on white women’s experiences and failing to acknowledge intersectionality – it was revolutionary in its time, with a heavy focus on women and sex.
The most impressive character among the SATC cast, Miranda was never one to shy away from the obvious horror in the way media treats women, and her ability to perform as a partner at her law firm. But again, I have a favourite episode. Miranda is dating a bartender, and the girls ask how she could date someone whose future relies on tips. To which she replies,
“You’re all missing my point. None of this matters to me. I don’t want it to matter to him.
It’s like when single men have a lot of money, it’s to their advantage.
If a single woman has money, it’s a problem to be dealt with.
It’s ridiculous. I want to enjoy my success, not apologize for it.”
An icon, truly. And not to mention, Cynthia Nixon, the actor who portrays Miranda, is also a prominent political activist known for her work in the LGBTQ+ community of New York. We stan this legend in more ways than one.
One of my favourite shows to watch on Netflix is Dear White People – with another one of my favourite characters for her bold and confident personality. Samantha White hosts a podcast called ‘Dear White People’ that causes an uproar on her college campus. To which she says, “My show is meant to articulate the feelings of a misrepresented group outside the majority.”
Episode after episode, Samantha challenges how we think and introduces important ideas to her friends and classmates repeatedly. She’s truly inspiring, and I know that she would be big into financial feminism and the fight to achieve equal pay for Black women worldwide if she was a real human being.
If you haven’t binge-watched Good Girls yet, you really should. With so many bold and powerful female characters throughout all three seasons, one that always stands out to me is Ruby Hill. Constantly facing an identity crisis as a Christian woman married to a cop, Ruby feels a lot of guilt and difficult moments with her family.
However, the most vital thing she has said yet, was when Ruby took ownership of who she is without apologizing: “You say you don’t know who I am, well let me introduce myself. I’m the crazy-ass bitch that robbed a grocery store, to save her child and protect her family.”
If nothing else, Ruby is always proof of how protective women can be of their loved ones and why it’s essential to give women credit for the emotional labour they bare as mothers and caregivers to their families.
These days, it can be exhausting to find a sitcom that doesn’t scream ‘toxic masculinity’ or ‘bad takes’ – but one show that I can always turn to is Brooklyn 99. From the very first episode, I loved how dorky but intelligent Amy Santiago was, and how fully she embraced these parts of her personality. It was exciting to see her grow into a confident detective through all the seasons and eventually become a female sergeant at the NYC police department.
The best and most important episode for Amy’s character and me, a stan, was the #MeToo episode, in which she and Jake work a sexual assault case for a woman high up in the financial industry. In the episode, there is a scene where Jake asks Amy why this case is so important. She opened up about when her previous boss attempted to kiss her after giving her a promotion, stating that he “felt like he deserved something in return for my career.” The many essential conversations Amy has with her co-workers throughout the episode are inspiring and eye-opening, while still keeping theme with the shows ability to show comedy through even the most difficult of situations.
Ultimately, many TV characters exist to teach us lessons that we can’t always make sense of in our daily lives. At times, it can be easier to see it in a show rather than experience it in real life, and more importantly, for those who have not experienced these difficulties, to find a way to relate to a character who has.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.