Why Is A Show With An All Male Cast "For Everyone," But A Show With An All Female Cast is "Only For Women"?

There are a lot of options on your TV screen anymore. With the advent of services like Hulu and Netflix and HBO Go, you don't have to watch what the networks tell you on a specific schedule anymore, and - if you're like me - that means you get to be choosier about the things you watch.

Unfortunately, that doesn't always mean you get to choose exactly what you watch.

There are three "currently airing" shows I watch on Hulu the day (or two days) after they air on ABC. (note: the ABC thing isn't an active choice.) Those three shows are Castle, Agent Carter & Agents of Shield.

I'll try out random shows that pop up (I hoped Galavant would be a new Krod Mandoon/Backstrom didn't have much to commend itself outside of a Portland Setting) but for the most part, I've found that the new shows I like are harder to find, and I'll go back to rewatch the shows I've already seen.

And I realized something the other day. I haven't tried Jane the Virgin yet, even though the premise sounds awesome.... because I watch these shows with my husband. I asked him once I made this realization and he told me he'd have no problem trying it out, but the idea that a show about a woman (in that capacity) is "only for women" is so engrained in me that I didn't even think to ask.

I mentioned this to him, and he agreed. It is something that we are taught - even if it is that passive kind of osmosis where we don't realize it until it's already happened - and something I think we've become so used to that no one thinks to question it anymore.

Agent Carter is the only show of the three "currently airing" that we watch consistently that have a female lead who doesn't necessarily share the spotlight with a male cast member. Beckett is a lead character, but the show isn't named for her, is it? And Agents of Shield has moved toward a better rounded main cast, but I think most people talk about Coulson as the main main character.

The only all/mostly female show my husband could think of that men would watch (off the top of his head) was The L Word. And because I do think that #yesallmen have a dark little corner of their hearts and minds where societally engrained thoughts lurk, it's not a surprising answer.

I myself am hard pressed to think of a show that has an all (or nearly all) female cast. Because I'm conditioned to not see them. I am, after all, filtering my viewing based on the understanding that I will usually be watching with a man sitting on the other side of the couch.

How did we get here? How can we dig ourselves out of this mire?


  1. Same thing happens with mostly black casts - they become "black" shows and not "everyone" shows. Maybe Orange is the New Black? (I haven't watched much but it seems women-heavy - then again most of the people I know who watch it are women).


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