The Dilemma of Satan’s Gals and the role of women in popular culture

*The Simpsons* is a complex show filled with winks and nudges. It has endured in popular culture and has been the definitive voice of this era for a very long time. It can parody and tell the sly eat of jokes and it represents the times succinctly.
It is a Patriarchal show, however, and one that understands the weaknesses of people as it uses humour to make the most astute of observations about the nature of man — and Woman.

I never liked the show, but I appreciate its technique and level of detail. However, the backbone of the show fascinates me as a Matriarchal storyteller, and that backbone even has a name: Marge Simpson.

She is the face of this generation of women whose dreams were destroyed by her own inability to face the obvious — and the complete lack of guidance women have in the stories they hear as girls. I have known many Marges in my day and not one has not paid some sort of price for thinking she was Satan’s Gal.

Because no Marge can sabotage herself without a Homer offering her a forbidden fruit of success by proxy.

Marge was beautiful, young, had dreams and ambitions, and was trying to get the world by the tail, but just kept missing the mark.

She was a budding photographer, but not getting the wild success she thought she’d have by now.

Enter Homer Simpson.

He was the fat slob loser back then, but he marketed himself as a budding soon-to-be-rich-and-famous rock star.

This was palatable to Marge.

He even wrote a song about her called Satan’s Gal.

And she fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

As her own dreams were getting away from her, she opted for a Plan B: hitch your ride on a man who might have better luck of it than you.

Ha!

He never does make it, but they got married, had kids, and endured frustration and mediocrity.

Some women decide they will sacrifice their dreams by supporting the potential hero by taking menial jobs, working on his career, and trying to open doors for him, hoping if they team up, the relationship will turn into a wise investment…until it doesn’t, or he does make it and promptly dumps her for a younger and prettier model who doesn’t look so used up and bitter.

So much for that investment strategy.

We don’t have iconic female characters who slog in hard to break into jobs. We do have plenty of pretty arm candy for male heroes, however.

We put a premium of male protagonists who have their lovers as muses for their novels and songs, but we still have a long way to go to have a cache of female characters who skip trying to play king-maker and go it alone in a brutal profession without compromise — and not wallow and whine about it being lonely at the top.

In other words, let’s forego another Satan’s Gal and try moving forwards and upwards to a more interesting model of heroine.