ABC’s Scandal is continuing down the path of bringing social justice issues into the primetime slot, though it is admittedly trailing fellow ABC show Designated Survivor. To save face, it looks like the show cramed several PC elements into one plot by introducing the lesbian Muslim university student striving to be the next Gloria Steinem. Can we get anymore to the left at this point?
The November 2 episode “Adventures in Babysitting” follows the Grant Administration handling the aftermath of a military coup in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Bashran. While President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) handles former Bashran President Rashad (Faran Tahir) as she plans to go to war to regain the Muslim country for him, Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) associates handle Rashad’s niece, Yasmeen, as they remove her from the public for her own safety. The latter is easier said than done as the university-aged girl resents being cut off from technology and her friends against her will.
However, that’s only the tip of this iceberg as the episode later reveals that Yasmeen secretly contacts someone anyway: her girlfriend. Never mind that the Muslim niece of a Middle Eastern president going to an American university would be so outrageous to the people of her country that she has to use a fake name, they have to make her a lesbian, too. If Scandal went on for one more season, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she just identified as a man.
In the end President Rashad and Yasmeen head off to return to Bashran to reform the oppressive country:
Yasmeen: Well, thanks. Sorry about the whole running away thing.
Charlie: Well, good luck, kid. It was nice getting to know you.
Yasmeen: I don't know what to say. Thank you, and sorry I didn't make it easier.
Quinn: How'd your girlfriend take it -- you deciding to go back?
Yasmeen: She's proud of me, I think. She wants me to be Bashran's Gloria Steinem.
Quinn: Your country will be lucky to have you.
Sheesh, it’s not enough that a Muslim niece of a Middle Eastern country’s president has to be gay, but they have to bring radical feminist Gloria Steinem’s name into it as well. At this point, the only social justice issue they haven’t brought up in the scene is economic inequality, and they’ve had plenty of time to talk about that in other episodes.
In the only section of the world where feminism of any kind is desperately needed, the last thing we need a reminder of is the feminist our county doesn’t need. Rather than idolizing the woman who claimed, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” we should probably be encouraging countries in the Middle East to do things like, let’s say, not stone victims of rape or throw acid at girls wanting to get an education. Sadly, that may not be politically correct enough for a show with the gay Muslim girl.