5 Feminist Guilty-Pleasure TV Shows to Watch This Summer

When it comes to serious feminist firepower on television, the regular season — that is, fall through spring — beats summer every time, with its Good Wifes and 30 Rocks. But, hey, fluffy summer fare can have its share of lady-power, too, even if it’s a little less … socially relevant, subversive, or substantial. Here, five shows we’re not ashamed to be indulging in as the temperature rises:

1. Hot in Cleveland: Four women over 40 living together, supporting each other, chiding each other, and having a great time doing it? If we can’t have The Golden Girls, we’ll take Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and the beloved Betty White in this TVLand confection about three LA women finding a better life for themselves (that is, a bachelor population more receptive to ladies of a certain age) in the Midwest. Did we mention Wendie Malick and Betty White are in it?

2. Drop Dead Diva: Our former-stick-thin-model-reborn-in-a-plus-size-body has learned to love herself throughout the first two seasons of this ridiculous-premised, sweetly-executed Lifetime dramedy. We’ve loved her the whole time.

3. Burn Notice: Gabrielle Anwar as the sexiest spy to ever love explosives? Even when we have no idea where the endless plot twists have landed us on this perennial USA summer favorite, we keep watching for her.

4. The Nine Lives of Chloe King: ABC Family’s new supernatural drama gives a girl a chance to do the whole Teen Wolf thing — but she gets superpowers and death-defying abilities along with it. Sold.

5. The Big C: Laura Linney’s Golden Globe-winning turn as a cancer patient in denial on Showtime’s risky comedy makes us rethink death — and life. Bonus points for Cynthia Nixon as a regular guest star and strong female friendships.


Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded SexyFeminist.com, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013; her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013. She is the author of the Why? Because We Still Like You, a history of the original Mickey Mouse Club published by Grand Central in 2010. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, A&E, and ABC, and teaches article writing and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter: @jmkarmstrong


  1. Melinda says:

    Drop Dead Diva is one of my favorite shows on Lifetime. The storyline may be a little ridiculous, but I love the character’s realizations and her job at the law firm. Definitely one of my guilty pleasures!

  2. Catherine C says:

    Are you serious? ‘Drop Dead Diva’?
    You have the gall to call yourself a feminist? This program is THE MOST disgusting, offensive thing I have ever seen.

    The entire premise behind this garbage: a pretty, thin girl is reincarnated as a slightly larger girl. Oh my god!
    Life will be so different! She will have to focus on her inner qualities, now that no-one could possibly find her physically attractive (whilst continuously reaching for fatty treats)!

    Absolutely vile and hurtful to women.

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