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Counterpunch

Television Doesn't Need Any More Women 'Victims'

March 28, 1994|ROSANNE WELCH and CHRISTINE PETTIT | Rosanne Welch and Christine Pettit are free-lance scriptwriters who wrote the "Beverly Hills, 90210" episode in question. and

In today's entertainment world where female characters spend most of their time either naked or dead, we find it a pity that Judy Sklar Rasminsky finds pregnancy still such a tragic moment in one television character's life. So tragic in fact she doesn't believe any young girl in America should consider Andrea Zuckerman a role model ever again.

We disagree.

And, as participants in creating this devastation, we felt it was necessary to say: Judy, get a grip.

When we were first given our assignment at "90210," we were thrilled by the prospect of dealing with such an important issue in this young character's life. If Andrea Zuckerman successfully has a child, a husband and a career, she should be canonized not vilified.

We want more television women who don't become victims. We want more television women who make their own choices in life. And we want more women who take an active role in directing their lives.

We want to see "Northern Exposure's" Maggie O'Connell, "Picket Fences' " Jill Brock and the "X-Files' " agent Scully--and we want to see "90210's" Andrea Zuckerman, all of whom are accomplished in their own right.

Feminism isn't about pigeonholing women. Just because we don't agree with their choices doesn't make those choices invalid. All these characters have made choices that we didn't agree with but we love them for their independence.

What we found truly curious about Rasminsky's supposed feminist diatribe was her unwillingness to associate herself with the dreaded "f" word. We've never had any problem with that--but then again we're feminists of the '90s. We're not anti-men. We're not anti-family. We're pro-choice in the broadest sense. And we realize we're lucky to be living in a time when the possibilities are endless.

Even though Rasminsky may think it's unrealistic for Andrea to achieve all these things, she's discounting the fact that given the proper support, any woman could. The problem is that in real life that support network is still in the construction phase. But if women and men work together on this, it can become a reality.

And Rasminsky's cynicism only goes to show she's part of the problem, not part of the solution. OK, so maybe we're a little idealistic, but look how far it's brought us.

We believe role models come in all shapes and sizes and until Rasminsky accepts that, we suppose we should thank her for not calling herself a feminist.

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