Feminism and women in the media have become a hot topic. However, in midst of the Lena Dunhams and Amy Poehlors of the world, a large quantity of feminists are often left out of the picture. Ever heard of Mindy Kahling, for example?
She has a little show called The Mindy Project which she produces, writes, stars in, and occasionally directs. The Mindy Project is a combination of both humor and romance. It’s like a chick flick, compacted into half an hour of low-key fun. It celebrates an unexpected wave of feminism, which you’ve probably never noticed. Here are 10 ways Mindy Lahiri should be your next feminist icon:
1. She’s underrated. At first glance, The Mindy Project might not seem so feminist. And that’s the key. With a style/celebrity/pop culture-obsessed main character who’s seemingly fixated on finding the perfect mate, the show’s premise seems slightly antithetical to the stereotyped bra-burning, hairy perception of the “feminist.”
But that’s what makes Mindy Lahiri such a phenomenal representative in midst of all the ”man-haters”. She’s not a militant, but a real, voluptuous woman with faults and a weird but relatable obsession with Hollywood gossip.
2. She’s girly. Mindy doesn’t mock the ”girly-girl” image. Despite women who choose to wear frilly dresses and watch The Notebook every Friday night being seen as bimbos with an arts degrees, she embraces her ”girly” persona and pushes boundaries and breaks stereotypes associated with it. After all, it is her intellect, ambition, and professional success that come alongside her sense of style. And we commend her for that.
3. She’s subtle. Mindy doesn’t fall into the trap that many female comedians do, thinking it’s necessary to be overly raunchy to prove you can be “one of the boys.” We’re looking at you, Chelsea Handler. Instead, Kahling creates a unique blend — combining the musings of Nora Ephron, the quirky femininity and physical comedy of Lucille Ball, and the no-nonsense feminism of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to mold a truly distinctive female voice on television.
4. She wears pink. Sure, Mindy rocks sequins and hot-pink three-piece suits. And while her sense of fashion may not be a ”feminist” approach, she wears them anyways. Why? Well, she looks hot in sequins. And she’s a doctor. She may not have the love life her favourite movies tell her she’s supposed to have, but she has brains, beauty, and respect. Because not all medical school students come out of their studies with a good fashion sense.
5. She’s a role model. Whatever failures or embarrassments she may endure in her own romantic life, Mindy’s committed to being an effective role model for her young patients. Mindy is often seen tackling the issue of teen birth control — writing prescriptions for her young patients, but not without teaching them about the realistic pitfalls of sexual activity and the accountability of being a responsible adult. She supports her patients’ decision to make their own choices and be smart, prepared, and protected while still being in favor of female sexual empowerment.
6. She’s headstrong. Not only is Mindy Lahiri capable and ambitious at work, but she also brings these essential qualities to her relationship. When Danny wants to keep their relationship a secret, she incredulously rattles off the reasons he should be proud to go public with her, citing her smarts and thriving career above all else.
She stands up for herself when Danny thinks he’ll be the “breadwinner” of the family and asserts that she will not be quitting their job when they have kids. Think about it, it’s a feminist moment! Mindy asserts her desire to maintain her professional success in the midst of her happily-ever-after. Mindy can rewatch those Meg Ryan rom-coms as she fulfills her love for romance and stylish ensembles, while still standing up for gender equality in the workplace.
7. She promotes positive body image. Mindy Kaling has also become a champion of women who struggle with body image (so like, all of us). Offscreen, she’s called out those who give her “back-handed compliments” by calling her courageous for style choices or marginalize her by making comments about how amazing it is that “someone like her” could be successful.
There’s no question about the fact that Mindy Kaling is a beautiful woman with a killer sense of style (I want like 90 percent of her outfits), but in the midst of her character’s comments about “having an ass that won’t quit,” she’s also not afraid to call attention to the unrealistic and sometimes crushing beauty expectations women face.
Mindy shows us all something we need to see — it’s possible to be feminine, to share Mindy Lahiri’s passions for romance, sparkles, hot pink, Bridget Jones, and colorful bedspreads – and still be a feminist. Real women, real people for that matter, may struggle with fixing their car and can’t stop (won’t stop!) obsessing over relationships while still being a strong, empowered person. A woman can be completely capable and ambitious, while still wanting a fairy-tale ending and refusing to sacrifice one for the other. Thanks for showing us how its done, Mindy!