Sorry, but I couldn't help but revisit Meghan Daum's piece on "The Devil Wears Prada". This time to excerpt her thoughts on the sad realities of feminism's "progress". Having played a few 'evil bosses' in my day, I can attest to the fact that there are precious few 'strong women' parts out here in Hollywood that aren't written as 'stilettoed agents of the dark side'. I remember taking the magazine editrix role in "Anything But Love' only on the condition that she 'not be a two dimensional bitch'. After the first taping my agent came running up to me screeching, "It's FABULOUS! You're the Joan Collins of Sitcoms!" Instead of being annoyed I should've accepted this as a GOOD thing - as in 'shut your unemployed feminist piehole and take the money and run!" And as heinous as it is to collude with the patriarchial state, it is kinda nice to walk away with a bitchin' wardrobe.
Then again, as Daum points out below, we don't need a patriarchy to feel bad about ourselves.
From "Sadists in Stilettoes":
The evil boss/earnest assistant dichotomy is a staple narrative of female working life. Chick-lit novels, Hollywood movies and television sitcoms use it not only for comic relief but as a cautionary tale from the front lines of feminine professional ambition.
Vile female bosses, feared and envied by their minions (back in school, we thought the word was "colleague"), are presented not as inspirational figures but as stilettoed agents of the dark side. We're almost always told their success comes at great personal cost. Husbands will leave, children will be raised by nannies and, worst of all, the qualities most associated with womanhood — empathy, compassion, placing value on relationships — will be squelched by the soul-stripping demands of image maintenance and balance sheets.
I'd like to say this is a fairy tale, another example of reductive and insulting media portrayals of ambitious women. But although not all successful women's husbands divorce them, there's something about the way women's brains work — like bats, we send signals to each other on a frequency men simply cannot hear — that can turn female-dominated workplaces into psychological war zones. This seems especially true in publishing, where fashion magazines have long been considered the gateway to literary careers.
Sylvia Plath worked at Mademoiselle, Joan Didion edited for Vogue, and I have countless peers who are now formidable reporters, editors and novelists who paid their dues by withstanding tongue lashings and shrill commentaries about their wardrobes (which, incidentally, took up time that could have been spent putting out a magazine). Men certainly experience their own versions of corporate tyranny. And, of course, there are still male bosses who exploit, harass and undermine female employees. But I've always found it curious — and painfully sad — that women who supervise other women are so often willing to take all the "progress" of feminism and fling it at their assistants as if it were a Chanel coat they couldn't be bothered to hang up.
This video is a compliation of the greatest Dynasty catfights.