the new NBC show smash gives a some what accurate depiction of the professional theater world. the story goes, there are two girls up for the part of Marilyn Monroe, in Marilyn Monroe the musical and they have to battle it out for the part. the fact that they are battling for Marilyn is the start of the feminist problem. from the moment the girls step into the audition room, they are being surveyed through the male gaze, just like Marilyn always was. it was all about who had her body and sex appeal. the two things men got to decide, so in that instance the men had the power, and the women have to play at their rules.
the second thing that smash does is project stereotypes, the stereotype of the seductress, the innocent, the mother and the power-women. first, we have Ivy Lynn, one of the girls up for the part of Marilyn. she ends up getting the part, after she sleeps with the director. this act makes her the seductress, and she is already being punished for it. second we have Julia, the writer of the show but also a mother and wife. what happens here is really interesting she brings home he bacon in her family and is the leader of the house, which challenges the stereotype that the wife is supposed to care hand and foot for her husband. in fact her character opposes this stereotype so much that she also becomes a seductress and cheats on her husband. and finally we have Eileen the power-woman. She is trying to produce Marilyn, her problem is that after her divorce she has no money and all the big shot producers won't take on the project without her husbands approval. so she is being controlled by what her husband allows, not allowing her any freedom of her own.
Smash also in some ways supports a patriarchy. First Eileen can't do anything without her husbands will letting her. her struggle slash conflict in the show is trying to over come the obstacles of being a women in a mans business. And Second, and my favorite, Ivy sees her worth only as derek sees her as, so if he thinks she is worthless, then that's how she feels. this thinking shows that ivy is not capable of being independent of a man, and that she in fact needs a man to tell her what and who she is, that she needs a man to define her. i think this is the most powerful image the show gives off, and it does not support very feminist ideas. even though i love the show, to me it is not a feminist peice of work.