Jaclyn Wiley/Editor-in Chief
“Good Girls Revolt” was an adaptation of the story of the first Equal Opportunity Commission Complaint ever filed in a major media corporation. The story is based off of the actions of the women of Newsweek, who filed the complaint because they were barred from becoming reporters. Official company policy relegated women into a few, set roles with no chance of upward mobility. Since this was not the case for their male co-workers, they sued, and won.
“Good Girls Revolt” follows the lives of three women during the late 1960s. All three work at ‘News of the Week,’ which only hires women as “researchers,” who do similar work to the male reporters, but do not receive the same pay or credit.
Many of the issues that the women in the show faced were similar to those that are still faced by modern women, which is both disheartening and reassuring. “Good Girls Revolt” did a good job to connect issues of the past to their equivalents or present versions. It’s reassuring to know that people in past faced the same issues we face today, but also angering that the problems
haven’t been solved.
The show is captivating to watch; the cinematography and the story-writing work well together to create a compelling experience. Especially excellent was the costuming department, which not only captured the the aesthetic of the era, but also customizing the clothing of each of the main characters’ clothing for their personalities as they evolved as people.
The story-telling in “Good Girls Revolt” is usually subtle, and often powerful. The actors all gave great performances, with Anna Camp really shining as Jane Hollander, the uptight and proper researcher who eventually helps to lead the women in the lawsuit.
The only real failures of the show were some of the male characters, who varied in depth from completely two-dimensional to moderately complex. But then again, the center of the story is the women, who learn through their interactions with these characters. For simplicity and time’s sake, the male characters were sacrificed. It’s a bit refreshing that the men were the flat characters, as opposed to the women, who are very often neglected in male-driven productions.
Watchers should be aware that there is sexual content in many of the ten episodes, as well as a healthy dose of nudity, both male and female. Most of the sexual content made sense in the plot, with only a few scenes that were likely added in to wring all the nudity that they could out of the actors’ contracts.
One of the characters makes a very interesting point about feminism, which I think applies to this situation. She says something along the lines of, ‘Feminism is women learning that other women feel the same things that they feel, experience the same things they do. Feminism is showing women they aren’t alone.’
Women alone, not working together, or even working against one another, can’t achieve the things the women can together. That was definitely the case with the women in “Good Girls Revolt.” They come together to achieve a very important goal – equality in the workplace. Alone, that couldn’t happen.
By working together, their historical counterparts shook the entire world of media, which, at the time, was not a great place for women. But overcoming systematic sexism wasn’t the only time the women came together; at one point, the women of the newsroom “pit” come together to support one of their own in perhaps one of the most powerful scene in modern television.
One of the women in the show finds out she is pregnant, and knows that is financially impossible for her to keep the child. She already is raising three with her husband, and cannot realistically support a fourth. It would be especially trying for her finances, since pregnant women were not allowed to work for the News of the Week.
To add difficulty to an already difficult situation, “Good Girls Revolt” took place during an era in which women were not guaranteed their job if they took time off to have a child. Women could be, and very often were, fired while pregnant or denied leave. If they took time off to raise the child they just gave birth to, their job was gone.
In the modern day, women have up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave guaranteed under federal law, during which their job was protected. During the time of “Good Girls Revolt,” these 12 weeks were just a gleam in some legislator’s eye. The Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects the jobs of employees who have given birth, was passed in 1993, more than 20 years after “Good Girls Revolt” took place.
The other women start a covert collection to gather enough money to help the woman. The scene in which one of the main characters hands the pregnant woman the money is extremely powerful. It really underscored the importance and power that women supporting other women holds. Women supporting women, hearing their problems and working together to come up with a solution – that’s a microcosm of the feminist movement.
Though the reception to “Good Girls Revolt” was almost uniformly positive, Amazon cancelled it in November of 2015. Amazon cited low viewership and completion levels for the reason for the cancellation. This decision sparked controversy, since the decision to cancel the show was reportedly made by a group of all-male executives.
It didn’t help that the show was cancelled a few days after the presidential election, when Hillary Clinton lost her groundbreaking race. Though “Good Girls Revolt” was cancelled by Amazon, multiple other production companies have shown interest in picking the show up.
Hopefully, it will be picked up in the near future by another production company. It’s powerful and excellent television.