Me [sitting backwards on a desk, my feet resting on the desktop]:
Okay class, I hope everyone did their reading for this week. Today, we are going to talk about how each of the Golden Girls represents an era of feminism. Because I am a cool TA, I am going to use ironically hip pop culture references. I promise you, in ten years, watching The Golden Girls is going to be something you mention to people to seem interesting.
Let’s start with Blanche. You may think that all her sleeping around makes her a trashy woman, but in fact, she is using her sexuality to empower herself, just like the third wave of feminism. You know, like Le Tigre and the sex worker’s movement. Look it up. Blanche is proud of her sexuality, and in fact, we learn that she has vanity plates that say “available,” when she tries to get Rose to buy her car.
Rose, on the other hand, represents…uh…let me just reference my notes here…I’m not sure about Rose…let’s talk about Dorothy. She represents the second wave of feminism, because she is about equality and proving she can do what a man does. She is a strong, sassy divorcee who broke free from her ex-husband. In fact, she starts dating Glen, the hot gym teacher from her school, who takes her to motels like this one…
…because there are no nice hotels in Miami? Well, I guess they are on a teacher’s salary, which is not equal to the work they do for society, because, capitalism! We’ll talk about that next week because I have to read up on that first, and by that I mean this may be the only class that Professor Merchant lets me lead by myself. Dorothy and he are all up in each other and you’d think that if she was in a hot steamy affair she’d dress sexier than this sweater from Harriet Carter.
I mean, we shouldn’t be judging women by what they wear. I was just demonstrating sexism! Which was a trick question! I mean, this is Women’s Studies for Jane’s sake! Dorothy then finds out that Glen is married, and she breaks up with him. But then, she is miserable, and decides to sneak around and date him….and apparently wears silk pajamas on their date? Sorry! Sorry! Not supposed to judge appearances.
Rose gets angry that Dorothy is seeing a married man and tells her it’s not the right thing to do, marriage is sacred and she should respect it. So basically, Rose is Phyllis Schlafly here. There’s a reading on her, it’s on reserve at the library on microfiche. Blanche says that being with a married man is no fun, because the wife gets all the expensive gifts out of guilt.
Blanche tells Dorothy that it’s fun to run around in love like a school girl, and if fact, she, Blanche, often gets mistaken as a school girl, prompting this look from Dorothy…
How very second-wave of Dorothy! Putting a stop to the silly beliefs of old-fashioned women.
The women then partake in an ancient ritual, based on a goddess from the old world, where they wake up at 3am and consume weird combinations of food, such as olives, chocolate cake, and pb&j on white bread. Dorothy is torn about seeing Glenn, and then the older, wiser woman imparts her wisdom: she raised Dorothy better than seeing a married man. This woman, Sophia represents first-wave feminism because…well, she’s pretty old, just like the women’s movement. And yes, this will be on the test. I hate when people ask that.
Dorothy asks Glen if he would leave his wife for her, Glen tells her that it’s too much of a risk to end his marriage for something that may not work out, and Dorothy leaves him, thus becoming yet another woman left to navigate this rubyfruit jungle we call modern life, balancing career, love, finances, societal norms.
[Cue to play “Professional Widow” by Tori Amos on the CD boom box.]
Great class, you guys. We did great work here. Next week I’ve planned a reproductive rights trivia tournament.