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I've been watching The Cosby Show on TV a lot lately to get me going in the morning. And I have decided, without a doubt, that I adore Clair Hanks Huxtable. She is my role model and hero.

Clair is pictured here second from the right. Image courtesy of carseywerner.net

Everything about her character screams integrity, high self-esteem, assertiveness, and intelligence (as well as kindness, sympathy, and compassion, of course). For those unfamiliar with The Cosby Show, Clair (played by Phylicia Rashad) is a successful lawyer (a partner, in fact), mother of five (yes five), and the wife of Cliff Huxtable (played by Bill Cosby). She makes it known throughout many episodes that women and men are equals and should be treated that way.

Yesterday an episode aired including a brain teaser that I've heard several times. The version in the show was something like, "Mr. Smith and his son are driving. They get into a car accident and Mr. Smith dies. The son goes to the hospital, and the old surgeon says, 'I can't operate on him. He's my son!' How is this possible?" Cliff Huxtable, sitting with his wife, is flummoxed. He comes up with several impossible reasons as to how this can work. His kids, who gave him the brainteaser in the first place, leave the room laughing about how he couldn't figure it out.

Clair looked at her husband and said, "Cliff, I am so disappointed in you. Here I thought that you believed that men and women are equals, and it never once occurred to you that the old surgeon is... his... mother."

Image courtesy of The TV Guide
An episode aired earlier this week in which Clair finds one of Theo's magazines with pictures of cars and nearly-naked women draped over them. Clair says to her son, "Theo, this magazine is demeaning to women. [...] So, I see, this woman Tammy, this is the kind of woman you'd like to end up with? [...] You get rid of this thing and any magazines like this that you may have in here. Say goodbye to Tammy."

Later on in the episode, Theo meets an attractive girl who, as it turns out, knows more about cars than anyone in the Huxtable family. Clair, appreciating the fact that this woman employs her brains and not her body, whispers to her son, "That woman is not draped over the hood, she's underneath it."

I think it's important that sitcoms take a stand against female objectification. Tomorrow's blog will give a complete list of TV shows with female characters that have expressed disdain over female objectification. Stay tuned! :P


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PASEF - Passivity is so over

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