Feminist Faves: 10 Women-Led Television Shows to Celebrate 2021

Since we appear to be in one of the dark timelines, it shouldn’t be any wonder that a lot of that good comes to us in the form of fictional media.

These 10 shows that came out this year captured my attention because of their distinctive and dynamic women characters. Most of these shows were created by women and/or employ many women as writers and directors of individual episodes. All of them feature compelling women protagonists or co-leads. 

2021’s Best Feminist Pop Culture Moments

From the swearing in of our first woman vice president, Kamala Harris, to the severe restrictions on reproductive rights, 2021 has been a mixed bag for feminism. Of course, popular culture—ever a pulse from which to measure the present moment—served as a guide this year for feminist expression.

Here is a list of what got us thinking and talking about feminism in popular culture.

Latinx Characters in Hightown’s Second Season: ”A Much-Needed Dose of Context and Complexity”

The second season of Hightown finally gives its diverse characters more depth, especially Jackie Quiñones (Monica Raymund), the Latina lesbian protagonist dealing with sexism, homophobia, racism and addiction. Hightown season two serves as a model for those in the Hollywood writers’ rooms as they approach diversity and character complexity. 

Maid’s Crucial Message: Emotional Abuse *Is* Abuse. Is America Ready to Acknowledge It?

Maid sheds light on the crucial issue of emotional abuse and coercive control— exposing viewers to the multiple systemic reasons why it takes a victim of domestic abuse seven attempts before she escapes for good.

Alex tries out four powerful words for the first time as she’s packing to move to the shelter: “Emotional abuse is abuse.” She said it to America. Are we ready to listen?

Lessons from the Newest, Youngest Woman Superhero: “Stargirl”

a shockingly low 12 percent of mainstream superhero comics have female leads. The women that do get to grace the pages and screens are often stereotyped tokens—either brutalized or oversexualized. It’s clear, then, that female superhero representation is dramatically lacking—which is why Ms. writer Lisa Niver was excited to speak with Brec Bassinger, the newest and youngest superhero to represent DC Comics on television.

Joy Reid to Make History as Cable TV’s First Black Woman Primetime Anchor

Joy Reid’s upcoming MSNBC primetime show, ‘The ReidOut,’ will make her the first black female primetime TV anchor. MSNBC made the historic announcement of Reid’s promotion four months after the departure of longtime anchor Chris Matthews, who previously held the time slot Reid is set to fill. Matthews, who had hosted his show “Hardball” for 20 years on the network, resigned in March after guests of his show came forward, accusing the anchor of sexual harassment.