Mentoring matters: a discussion of female mentorship relationships in L.A. Law, Ally McBeal, and The Good Wife

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Leibl, Leah
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This thesis highlights that notwithstanding the strides made by feminism, women still face inequality in the legal television world. One factor contributing to this inequality is television’s popular culture depictions that women are unable or unwilling to support one another in the struggle for equality. This thesis examines three popular television programs: L.A. Law (1986 – 1994), Ally McBeal (1997 – 2002), and The Good Wife (2009 – 2016) with a specific focus on female mentorship. The two-pronged methodology applied in this thesis uses Orit Kamir’s framework to conduct a feminist legal analysis of women in the legal television world, and The Support Test, to evaluate whether women on legal television programs are depicted as unable or unwilling to support other women on the same television program. Overall, popular culture depictions show that women lawyers are not championing other women lawyers on television, suggesting a regression in the advancement of feminism.
law & popular culture