FEMINIST FRIDAY: TNT’s ‘Claws’ Series Is The Female ‘Breaking Bad’, & Pantene Celebrates Natural Hair

We’re back with another Feminist Friday piece and this week’s edition of our favorite video round-up packs a punch! If you thought Walter White’s money laundering skills was the stuff of TV legends in AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’, then you won’t want to miss out on TNT’s new series ‘Claws’, starring Niecy Nash as Desna Simms, a nail salon owner who dreams of a better life for herself and her autistic brother Dean (Harold Perrineau). It premieres on Sunday, June 11.

The show follows the lives of 5 manicurists who spend their days bedazzling the nails of their clients, but behind the scenes their go far beyond the latest shade of red. It’s a series that is unapologetically female-centric both in front of and behind the camera. How often you we get to see whole, complex, flawed female protagonists in a crime/comedy series like this?! The series is written and co-executive produced by Eliot Laurence, produced by Rashida Jones and directed by Nicole Kassell, and half the writing team on the show are also women! In an interview with The Mary Sue, the cast and crew explain why ‘Claws’ is going to take this genre to the next level for female empowerment.

“When women typically are together on television today it’s combative. It’s cat fighting, it’s weave pulling and table tossing, so you get to see women who genuinely love each other,” Niecy Nash said about the sisterhood you will see on screen.

“I feel like we’ve seen so many shows about complicated men like Walter White and Tony Soprano it’s like, I wanted to give women a show where they can be as complicated and not apologize for it,” said writer Eliot Laurence.

“Usually on TV you have what I like to call ‘the wife of the weak’ you know, or the ‘quirky best friend’ or something like that. You don’t get to see the women at the center…I think it’s important, and also fresh and new, that we have diversity on the show that’s not just racial diversity but sizes, shapes, types of women,” said cast member Carrie Preston, who believes the show is filling a strong need for interesting female characters.

We’re loving all the social advocacy around women’s healthcare right now in the wake of the Trump administration and the GOP to attack it through various bills, executive orders, and even the federal budget. Grassroots activism and awareness is at an all-time high, especially in regard to Planned Parenthood who have been the target of many conservatives who want to defund and effectively shutdown the health clinics.

During the current Emmy Awards season, networks are known to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting an individual show, which is why it was pretty badass to read about CBS/Warner’s ‘Mom’, starring Allison Janney and Anna Faris, donate its entire $250k budget to Planned Parenthood.

“It makes sense because our show is all about women, and we don’t shy away from issues that affect women and families. And Planned Parenthood is such an important organization that helps give health services to millions of women and it’s in danger. The House of Representatives voted to defund it. And it’s such a critical time. It made sense that we stand up now and say something and encourage other people to donate to this organization,” said Allison Janney in a statement about the donation.

Another Hollywood heavyweight who is using their talents to raise awareness about the need for Planned Parenthood, especially in rural and low-income communities where often they are the only clinic providing crucial services for men and women, is director Joss Whedon. ‘Unlocked’ highlights the vital role Planned Parenthood health centers play in the lives of millions of women in communities nationwide. The video follows three different women through critical moments in their lives—and brings to the forefront what the world would look like if attempts to shut down Planned Parenthood succeed.

Finally, a video from Pantene which is celebrating natural hair and promoting natural beauty, specifically in black women. Featuring the music of Kelela “Gomenasai”, this commercial (yes, it is still a commercial selling a product) distinctly sets itself apart from other brands as it chooses to shun mainstream messages, and in a subtle way stand as an antidote to the racist incidents and discussions we are seeing IRL.

For instance, you may have heard about the recent story of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Massachusetts which served detention to twin black girls for wearing braids. The school called them out on an “infraction” because the braids violated school dress codes. They combined natural hair with artificial hair and were apparently “distracting” to other students. What is most absurd about the story is how other non-black students have been seen at the school with artificial substances (such as hair dye) added to their appearance but do not suffer repercussions.

It became a serious discussion about racial discrimination, and how certain school policies are created to discriminate against non-white students, especially as they are inconsiderate of the fact that black men and women wearing hair in a certain way is not done as a distraction, rather it is part of their culture and deserves to be celebrated. This is what Pantene does in the video below.

“Pantene presents a poetic celebration of African American hair elevating it to a standard not seen in mainstream beauty media. It features women and girls who are beautiful, confident, vibrant, and elegant and who draw personal strength from the strength of their hair – its texture, its style and its history,” says a description about the video. Take a look:


 

 

 

 

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