Dear Selena, I’m a lady on the verge of adulthood, and I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Can you and TV help me decide?
First, congrats on this big step! Adulthood is a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun, too. No matter what you decide, you’re about to have some great adventures. Which is a good thing, because if we use TV as our guide, your career choices as a lady are pretty limited. Live it up while you still can.
Television jobs for ladies can be divided by the lady in question’s socio-economic status. There’s totally a serious column in that, but I’ll leave it for my bolder sisters here at P-mag; we’re here to poke fun.
If you’d consider yourself to be at the less wealthy end of the income spectrum, television says you’re a waitress or a cleaning lady, unless you’re a sex worker with a heart of gold. In the ’70s, we had Alice, Flo, and Vera on Alice. In the ’80s, we had Mrs. Garrett on Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life and Roseanne Conner on Roseanne. In the ’90s, I didn’t watch a lot of TV because I was in school or working three jobs so I’m a little sparse on examples. In this century, we’ve got the spacehookers on Firefly and the 2 Broke Girls.
If you’re a lady more in the middle of the wealth spectrum, your options open up a little bit. You can be a public defender, a nurse, a cop or a teacher. You can also be a stay-at-home mom/wife. Choose your choice! As long as it’s non-threatening and traditionally female. (See: Our Miss Brooks, Everybody Loves Raymond, most hospital shows before 1990, all of the L&O franchise and How I Met Your Mother.)
If you’re fortunate enough to be on the “money worries are for chumps” end of the wealth spectrum, you’d think your career opportunities would be wide open. Except you’d be wrong. If you’re a wealthy career woman, you can be a lawyer, a doctor, a judge, a socialite, a lady who works in “media” or a model/actress. (See: All hospital shows since the 1990’s, Judging Amy, any daytime or nighttime soap opera, The Good Wife and any guest role on the L&O franchise that isn’t a sex worker or a drug addict.)
Hope this helps!