On April 1, 1963, the first episode of General Hospital aired on ABC. It has been on the air for more than four decades and is ABC’s longest running soap opera. But as daytime soaps wane in popularity, ABC has a new sweetheart, a scandal of a show that stomps on the typical television drama formula and makes us question, from time to time, just who the “good guys” really are. On April 5, 2012, Scandal premiered on ABC and prime time changed forever. The show’s heroine is Olivia Pope, played impeccably by actress Kerry Washington. Pope’s character and the related storylines are game changers for women everywhere. It’s no wonder the show is a hit. Here are 10 reasons that Scandal is changing the world of television and empowering women at the same time.
1. Olivia Pope knows her worth as a woman
“I am not a toy you can play with when you’re bored or lonely or horny. I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me!” (Olivia Pope to Fitz, Episode 220.) Olivia Pope is a strong, flawed woman who sometimes makes bad choices. But she knows that she is no pawn for any man to “win” at the end of a game. We love that she doesn’t accept single heroic or romantic gestures as a sort of payment for her affection but demands that her man (who is technically somebody else’s man) work for her love continuously and not take her for granted.
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2. The women of Scandal don’t let powerful men push them around
In the real world, especially in politics, mena are still viewed as more powerful than women. Scandal is working to change that and we love it! The Gladiators (Olivia and her staff) stand up for themselves and each other in ways we admire and have maybe even started to emulate in our own lives.
3. The women of Scandal don’t let a broken heart slow them down
The Gladiators have work to do and don’t have time for pity parties. Unlike the stereotypical female character who soothes her broken heart with a carton of chocolate chip ice cream and NetFlix, the women of Scandal are all business when necessary, no matter what battle they face in their personal lives.
4. Love hurts ladies, but it’s worth it
We already knew this one, of course, but it’s so good to see the ups and downs of relationships on screen in a more realistic way. Perhaps there are no “happily ever afters” but you gotta love how these women embrace the “happy for right now” moments, because they’re worth it.
5. Olivia Pope trusts her gut
Pope is well-known in Washington circles for being incredibly smart, effective and for trusting her instincts and always being right. She manages crises and disaster with professional finesse and a beautiful sense of trust in herself and we love that!
6. They acknowledge their mistakes and press on
“You did what you thought was best at the time, even if it was wrong.” Olivia Pope to Sarah Stanner. “You can’t change the choice you made, all you can do is not let it ruin you.” Words to live by. Olivia often finds herself giving others the advice that she could stand to listen to herself.
7. Olivia is a powerful, sexy businesswoman
The shoes! The suits! The hair! Olivia and the Gladiators are always powerfully and beautifully dressed. We swoon!
8. The women of Scandal are flawed but still heroic
All of them! We cannot name another cast that includes such a variety of characters with such fascinating pasts that still advocate for themselves and conduct their affairs with such strength.
9. Women around the country are mesmerized and bond over the powerful women of Scandal
We all either want to be Olivia Pope or have her as our best friend (as long as she’s not attracted to our husband, that is). We love to talk about her as if we know her in real life and her role on the show has connected women with shared enthusiasms across the country, all in admiration of her strength and beauty. Most of us can be found on Twitter for the few minutes leading up to the show and then for the entire hour of the drama each week, as we tweet about everything from wardrobe to politics to the infidelity on the show. We’re a nation of women united in our love for and fascination with this show!
10. Olivia Pope is the president’s mistress in an interracial relationship on prime time and she runs the show
Boom, right? I mean, Scandal is pushing racial, gender, and political barriers right down, and that’s good for all women. And we couldn’t be happier about it!