Picture this. On route to an appearance on Meet The Press, the vice president engages in a sexually explicit conversation with her lover. Her staff, overhearing, blushes at the graphic nature of the conversation and quickly ushers her into the car, switching the topic from innuendo to the hardline immigration stance she will be taking on air.
Welcome to television’s new world of women and politics: that actually happened on HBO, two Sundays ago. This spring, both ABC and HBO launched two new shows, Scandal and Veep, respectively—that portray women in politics as a sexy, powerful and fun. Both are refreshing departures from the real world of politics and even the cloistered asexuality of The West Wing.
In the cultural imagination, female political figures rarely get to be sexy and powerful. This is partly because politics is still a male-dominated world. Data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University show that women currently hold 16.8 percent of the 535 seats in Congress and 23.7 percent of the seats in state legislatures. There are six female governors; of the 100 big-city mayors, twelve are women.