House of Cards: A Feminist Review

If you have not seen both seasons of House of Cards, you either don't have Netflix or don't mind being clueless to pop culture references. That is OK, but if you PLAN to watch HOC click on another article now! I am writing this well after the release of BOTH seasons so there will be spoilers. I realized that I could have written this post 6 weeks ago, but I wanted to go IN.

Doug Stamper is creepy! (Wait, I thought this was a feminist thing why are we talking men?) I don't think there is a single character that shouldn't be allowed near women ever, more than Frank Underwood's henchman. Stamper fixes things for Frank. He's a do-boy with autonomy. I dig it, but his relationship with Rachel? Not OK! Not even a little bit. In the beginning it seemed fairly harmless, stupid, but I can understand caving in to a pretty hooker who's not on solid ground. Then the relationship goes full tilt crazy (i.e. Captor and captive), and she kills him. Yep, and for that I say go Rachel! Go find your lesbian lover and move to Mexico.

Sidenote: I was disappointed by the lesbian relationship of it all. Predictable = boring. I also believe that these depictions bolster the notion that people choose to be gay, which isn't really a thing.

This is where I pause and give you what you want. Overall, the depiction of women on House of Cards made me sad. Save for about 2 instances (3 if you count Rachel killing Doug), the women seriously toe the line when it comes to their interactions with men. Then at the same time, they are really bitchy to each other. I hate to put it in such simplistic terms, but the whole "you're the new mousy girl trying to steal my shine" bit by Janine made me want to punch her in the face. Kudos to Zoe Barnes for being the bigger woman but I'm glad she's dead too. Let me explain...

Make up your mind. Either you are going to play with the big boys, (and get more than one damn cocktail dress). Or you're going to play the lost puppy exchanging sex for leads you were going to get anyway. After Frank Underwood gave her the first story, any thinking person would say "Hey, who is this guy and why did he give this to me?" instead of really thinking her push bra worked on senator who was up for Chief of Staff two months ago. Maybe it would have ruined the show if they had made her smart. Maybe not. We'll never know.

Speaking of playing with the big boys, you don't sign a deal with the Devil and then tell him to go to Hell. Jillian girl, go back and try again. I'll admit that Claire sending a married woman to her house was petty, but it gave me some much needed drama. (The show is a bit dry.)

I did appreciate Linda Vasquez standing up to Frank, even if she bowed out at the end. We didn't get enough of Linda though. (This is another place where the drama factor fell short.) On the feminist scale I would give her a solid 8 -family oriented, proud Latina, dutiful, I dig that.

Enter Jackie "Don't you call me Frank Underwood" Sharp. I am a fan of her character. She's a bit on the ruthless, uncompromising side, but that is kind of the theme of the show. Sharp is tapped by Frank Underwood to fill his role as the Majority Whip, but betrays her initial supporter to do it. As the season goes on, we see that she can be compassionate, but will not be bullied. Any woman that can tell you she's killed a lot of people, then make you finish giving her an orgasm is on another level. Her ranking on the feminist scale falls down to a 4. There is nothing cool about giving rapists a slap on the wrist, especially in the military.

The First Lady and Catherine Durant just dance with the ones who brought them. NEXT. 

Let's all stare at Adam Galloway.  :D 


This brings us to the Pièce de résistance: Claire Underwood. If you did not fall in love with Claire after her interview, I don't know who you are or what you are doing with your life. I will admit she annoyed me the entire first season. (I mean you can't fire half your staff and expect that not to bite you in the ass.) While Claire's allegiance is to Frank, she will not just stand in the background and serve him. Who kills a bill to get well building equipment out of Uganda? Claire does. She gets in bed with bad guys (mainly her husband), on her terms. Her vulnerable moments show her humanity, but her resolve is solid. She is a calculating, power player who's character stands strong beside her husband. I dig it. ;) 

Honorable Mentions: Christina Gallagher and Margaret Tilden (Owner of The Washington Herald).
Christina plays the supportive girlfriend to Senator Peter Russo, then a supportive member of the President's staff. There's not much else there other than a new cut and hair color for season 2.

Bottom Line: At the very least, the women are not relegated to boring sexual objects. Overall feminist rating though, 6. I am glad I watched it, don't need to watch Season 3. Now bring on Orange is the New Black!!!

Who's your favorite HOC Character? Tweet us @herdiamondback


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