Art has one of two roles when it comes to reflecting the reality of the world we live in: it either reflects an ideal world which more often than not, is impossible to reach. Or, it reflects the reality of the normal person going about their business.
It should be no surprise that for most of history, men have controlled everything, including art. But in the world of television, change is finally coming.
In the new book, Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television, by Joy Press, the author examines how a handful of female showrunners, directors, and producers are starting to change how women in television are viewed, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
She starts off the book with nods to the unappreciated female OG’s of television (Gertrude Berg and Lucille Ball) and then moves forward to acknowledge the groundbreaking 1990s shows Murphy Brown (led by Diane English) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr). She then talks about how modern female showrunners and producers are changing the portrayal of women on television. The list of women profiled in the book includes uber-successful producer Shonda Rhimes and actress/comedian Amy Schumer.
I really loved this book. Not only is it well written, but it speaks to the woman who is looking for the courage to follow her own path, even if it means diverging from the tried and true. I also appreciated the shout-out to Gertrude Berg whose name is unknown to most modern television audiences (unless that is, you are above a certain age), but with her trail-blazing path, the television industry would not be what it is today.
I recommend it.