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6 Bad-Ass TV Women

We love these career women leads. So writers, don't water them down with cardboard-cutout romance!

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Sounds badass to me. Like the other characters, Mathison has made a romantic and sexual choice that could either be a sign of her agency or derail that agency. Read a more detailed, spoilery piece on the show's politics  at The Feminist Spectator.

6. Mindy Lahiri, as created by Mindy Kaling: The pilot of “The Mindy Project” which explores its heroines misguided love of romantic comedies, was considered a mixed bag by critics (including this one). But its very existence as a show Kakling created which is centered around her comedic alter-ego: a funny, flawed, (somewhat) fuller-figured brown lead character, is a genuine triumph. And although Mindy may be attempting to pull herself together socially, she’s got her career in order: “Toward the end of the pilot, we get to see Lahiri deliver a baby, and it's clear she knows what she's doing,” Bitch’s Kelsey Wallace notes. “I for one am glad that the lead of The Mindy Project has her professional shit together..."

Just as “Scandal” will face tremendous commercial and network pressure because of its woman-of-color lead, Kaling and her show have already dealt with backlash. At Racalicious, Nisha Chittal struck back at Kaling’s critics who have labelled her “smug.”

Roles for Asian women on television are few and far between – but Kaling, by starting out as a writer and now as a showrunner, has played a big part in shaping more realistic portrayals of Asian American women on television by creating her own roles. I can’t think of another scripted television show – certainly no comedy – that has had an Asian-American female lead. Kaling deserves to be lauded for breaking down that barrier, for improving the way Asian women are portrayed on television – and she has certainly earned the right to be proud of such trailblazing success.

I, for one, will keep tuning into this show in the hopes it outgrows its pilot and becomes must-see TV. My hope is that the titular project is about self-actualization for the lead character, not just romantic foibles that can become tiresome quickly.

And now for a serious feminist complaint. I enjoy ABC's Emmy-and ratings dominant sitcom, "Modern Family," as much as the rest of the country. But why, why, do none of the women work on that show? And why is even the gay couple divided between stay-at-home dad and working dad? There's not a single family where both parents work, and that's not very "modern" in my book. 

Sarah Seltzer is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published at the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Jezebel and the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahmseltzer and find her work at

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