Lois Griffin is good for feminism. Yes, you read that correctly.
You can revoke my feminist card right now but, the extremely offensive animated TV series Family Guy actually helps with the progression of feminism.
Lois isn’t a particularly complex female role. The idea of her character being a committed, sexpot, fun-loving housewife who is notably way hotter than her husband is indeed kind of sexist and degrading. Audiences need to recognize that it is for these same traits that Lois can be viewed as a more positive, especially sex-positive role-model for women.
As far as sitcom women go, a Lois-type character actually challenges some of the oppressive stereotypes associated with TV suburban housewives, like the idea of them being an emotionally needy nag, or a ditzy, hot mess existing solely to create sexual tension with the male characters. Comparatively, Lois’ sexually charged housewife role is far more complex than the classic shrew’s like Peggy Bundy from Married with Children or Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond, who are merely caricatures of their gender.
Feminism needs a clearer definition. In the episode “I Am Peter Hear Me Roar,” Lois made the simplest but most accurate comment regarding the term: “I’m all for equality, but if you ask me, feminism is about choice.” Lois’ choice to be a wife and mother should not be critiqued for abiding by traditional, middle-class, hetero-normative gender roles. Why she chose to marry an arrogant, unmotivated drunk is still beyond me, but her choice to do so will be one that I defend with as much passion as Stewie has for Rupert.
But, what is possibly most empowering is that her primary role as a suburban housewife hasn’t stopped her from executing her dreams.
In fact, throughout the 15 seasons of Family Guy, Lois has taken on a variety of different, and sometimes questionable, roles. Her passion for singing led her to become the star of her husband Peter’s underground bar, she is a badass black belt in Tae-Jitsu, is the director of the stage play “The King and I,” runs for school board president, and even wins mayor of Quahog.
Lois’ mobility has allowed her to turn her political beliefs into actions. In the episode, “It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One,” Lois becomes the mayor of the Rhode Island city in hopes to shut down a number of companies that have been polluting the local lake with toxic waste. She ended up embezzling tax-payer money to buy a designer purse and fur coat but hey, I’m sure we can agree that other politicians have done a lot worse.
It was Lois’ strong will and pure intentions that forced her to realize the error in her ways and eventually resign her position as mayor. Her actions showed that leadership roles and money are not the sole determents of success.
In fact, even though Lois is the epitome of a trust fund baby, coming from a family of rich socialites, she was willing to trade in her extravagant lifestyle for love. There is no better way to be removed from the will of an incredibly wealthy father than to marry a dimwit of a man like Peter Griffin.
And if you need one more reason to love Lois, her exaggerated sexuality is totally hot. Because we no longer live in the 19th century where women are viewed as asexual beings and TV sitcoms really need to include more women who openly embrace their sexuality. Lois’ sexual experiments with sadomasochism, amateur pornography, and bisexual encounters displays sexual fluidity, and control of her own sexual pleasure. In challenging the societal norm of female sexuality, Lois frees women from the shackles of sexual submission and opens up the opportunity for choices.
In a show where every episode includes some sort of Peter-Assment towards minority groups, especially by sexually objectifying women, it can be difficult to accept such crude dark satire as a progression of feminism.
Family Guy helps viewers see past the limited, liberal feminist lens that mainly focuses on equality through placing women in leadership positions. It shows audiences that every woman is different, whether they are a CEO of a successful corporation or a housewife and mother like Lois. Let’s finally recognize the diverse range of opinions and beliefs that fall within the feminist spectrum.
In the spirit of diversity, accepting a woman like Lois Griffin as a role model to the feminist movement shows the variety of artists that represent all forms of feminism.
And if you refuse to accept an embezzling, kleptomaniac, gambling addict as a feminist role model, at least the exaggerated crude humor of Family Guy is a spoof that makes you question exactly how our politically correct state has coddled most of us.
It’s time to show some feminist love for Family Guy.