Powerful females nowhere to be found on television

By Meghna Balakumar, Staff Writer

In a world where we are surrounded by Jack Bauers, Michael Westons and Neal Caffreys, it seems as if cable networks are attempting to replace these charismatic stallions with laughably gung ho women. Unfortunately, their efforts to create a female powerhouse within the industry are in vain.
Networks such as USA and The CW have released new action shows such as Covert Affairs, Fairly Legal and Nikita in an attempt to popularize the image of a female lead in action television, and but these set ups are both shallow and desperate.
These networks see female empowerment as a woman’s ability to take out a gang of Mexican drug cartels or stop terrorists from assassinating the president. They clearly have a hazy view of what feminine power really is, or else they would be able to see the number of empowering women already present on television.
In accordance with such networks’ definition of empowerment, we have Gabrielle Anwar. Anwar plays the character Fiona in the USA show Burn Notice.   Her brawn, along with her brains and lack of clothing portray exactly what these ignorant networks desire: their dream GI Jane, a role model to girls and a symbol of supposed power and achievement.
While Tina Fey isn’t a C-4 bearing, trigger-happy sex-symbol type of woman, she plays an empowering role both on and off cameras. In her show 30 Rock, Fey plays the producer and writer of an NBC show TGS with Tracy Jordan. She is also the writer and producer of both 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.
Unfortunately, the television industry considers neither Liz Lemon’s intellectual capabilities nor Fey’s seven Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and four Writers Guild of America Awards to have enough credibility to possess any sort of power. 
And of course, we have the most powerful woman in the industry, Oprah Winfrey. This woman has faced rape and poverty, and now . If having the strength  to go through multiple accounts of abuse and stand today as the most influential woman in the nation is not power, then who knows what is.
Television networks are only able to see female power in gorgeous faces and hot bodies. They think that by giving them seductive faces, they are giving women power, when in reality they are treating them as sex objects.
There is no respect earned when female viewers view other women on primetime television in promiscuous attire. Producers make women in action television seduce their way in and out of sticky situations and have to slowly strip away their respect to obtain what they want. How often do we see Bauer or Weston stripping down to save the world?
Networks think they are doing a good thing; they believe that they are fighting against events such as MTV’s Lingerie Football and SI’s  Swimsuit Edition, but in reality, the messages that they’re presenting are just as bad.