Breaking and Reinforcing Barriers for Women in “The Mindy Project”

One of the most recently added television programs to Fox Broadcasting Company is The Mindy Project. The audience follows the lives of OBGYN doctors who practice in New York City. There are three doctors, Mindy, Danny, and Jeremy and two female receptionists and one male nurse. We as the audience experience the story through the eyes of Mindy. She is the main protagonists and is trying to find the perfect man all the while keeping up with her medical practice. The Mindy Project is a comedy that is also produced and written by actress Mindy Lahiri who actually plays Mindy in the show.

Mindy Lahiri originally was on the very popular comedy The Office, where she was writing scripts for that show as well. As not only an actress, but a writer of these successful television shows she breaks through the female archetypes we have discussed in class. Often times the female archetypes are images in the media that portray women being less than they actually are (Lind, 143). At least in real life Mindy Lahiri breaks the innocent damsel or wick queen archetypes by having a successful writing and acting career in two highly competitive and male dominated fields of work. Not only by her success professionally is she breaking boundaries, but she is also an Indian women and one of the very few characters that is of minority status.

As Mindy breaks barriers in the real world, her character also breaks some barriers in the show. She is the leading lady and also one of the three partners of this medical clinic. This shows that she is both educated and respected. However, the premise of this show is watching the journey Mindy makes to find love. This continues to illustrate the idea that women need a man to feel whole. Women have this constant struggle to find a man to make her happy, to lean on, and to cater to and yet if we think realistically, women can still be happy and live fully without needing to have a man. I’m not really upset that this is a main factor of the show because I understand that the television industry is an industry about making money. Sex and love stories definitely sell. I just hate that Mindy in the show doesn’t feel like her life is complete without finding a good man. Also, it seems like Mindy is as good of a person when she doesn’t have a man. She may be looked at as lazy, or slutty, or just as pathetic. Again, it’s just another way to support the dominant ideologies of our culture right now. The man is still in charge and the women should protect their innocence or else be seen are cruel and as part of the whore dichotomy. I would just like to see a love story about a women who just wants love for love’s sake and not because of the pressures of a biological time clock or the feeling that she will be forced to live a life of a spinster. Why can’t women have it all too?

 

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One thought on “Breaking and Reinforcing Barriers for Women in “The Mindy Project”

  1. This is a show that I’m interested to watch more–I’m curious about how the character of Dr. Mindy Lahiri (played by actress Mindy Kaling) will develop. Your analysis points out some of the ambivalence the show has toward the main character–and the need for mainstream media to have shows tell traditional narratives.

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