About

Patricia Handshiegel

Digital Dish covers the ins and outs of an Internet executive moving into the television arena. Disher Patricia Handschiegel is the founder of Stylediary.net, which she sold to Stylehive.com in November 2007. She has a background in Internet infrastructure and technology business, was an advisor to Kaboodle.com (sold to Hearst in 2007), and has contributed as an entertainment/media business writer for Venturebeat.com. She’s also been an early visionary of professional Internet TV content since 2005 and is currently an advisor on several entertainment/Internet projects. Always an entrepreneur, she had a highly profitable babysitting monopoly at 11, lent her writing skill to students at 17 and landed her first published national article at 23.

She has also worked as a ghost writer for a national TV correspondent. At 22, she was recognized nationally for promoting the growth of women’s hockey and advised companies on creating hockey products for women. She’s been quoted and profiled in dozens of media outlets since and is currently developing two book concepts. A serial entrepreneur, she plans to continue to build Internet, entertainment and media companies, with the goal of promoting social change and charities. She is currently involved in the use of technology to help find missing and abused children, and has contributed financially to TheJoyfulChild.org and other organizations. She is the founder of Look|Shop|List.com (in development).

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Women’s TV Has Anger Issues

October 22, 2008 10:14 AM

Every morning, my Google reader dishes me headlines from every TV trade along with tech, media and entertainment business news. It means that for the past few months I’ve gotten a bird’s-eye view of what’s being talked about in the industry, from new shows and reviews to acquisitions and business moves.

'Gossip Girl'

The CW's 'Gossip Girl'

I think the last five New York Times reviews of women’s shows have pointed out a redundant theme. No, it’s not the “I’m rich/I’m cute/I’m stupid” trend driven by people like Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson a few years ago.

Now it’s “I’m rich/I’m vapid/I’m out to get you.”

Same little dogs, same big sunglasses, pursed lips and vapid, elaborate lives. Only now, instead of constantly shopping and walking around with a blank stare, it’s plotting with an evil sneer.

As a viewer, I’m not sure which is worse.

When I bring this up to friends in the industry, they say it’s what the audience wants. To me it seems like a lazy way to create drama and tension. How do you spice up an otherwise boring show or cast? Catfight!

But some of the best, longest-running shows didn’t play on that theme. Just look at “Friends.”
It’s said “Gossip Girl” is one of the CW’s weakest shows in ratings, that it’s only popular on the coasts. I think the cattiness has a lot to do with it.

As a woman, you know that overall, women just aren’t wired like this. Yes, in high school there are always those bitchy, insecure girls who pick on people, but there isn’t a woman I know who is vindictive, plotting or who hates other women. Far larger is the number of women who represent just the opposite.

Think of it as the difference between Janice Dickenson and Oprah Winfrey. Last time I checked, Miley Cyrus was out-earning Heidi and Lauren (of “The Hills”) by a long shot.

Maybe cattiness, anger and hate sells, to a point, but the bigger money sure seems to be in women being good. To a woman, a good woman is cool.

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Comments (3)

Patricia, you are right on the money. Every woman I know is the kind of soul who is willing to lend a shoulder, a hand, an outfit, a favor, a reference, or a play-date as needed. Storytelling and entertainment require a conflict or antagonist (or a chase scene on page 64) for extra layers and excitement, but it doesn't always have to be the same old tired cliche of women back-stabbing other women to gain advantage.I think YOU are cool, which proves your last sentence, doesn't it? Keep up the good work!

Anonymous:

"there isn’t a woman I know who is vindictive, plotting or who hates other women. " But if you see that "LIFETIME" movies seem to be angery, violent, and terrified. Very few "female-oriented" Lifetime MOVIES are of real topics, showing positive emotion. That's what I hated waiting ffor the Golden Girls to get on at 11PM, if a bloody scene was on, before the credits.

Its not really so much an anger issue, as much as it could be a terror issue. These movies really don't portray woman as safe, secure and able to take the world on positively.

ONLY ONE movie stands out, that I have seen on Lifetime, that portrays a woman who overcomes bosticles, in a positive way. "More Than Meets the Eye" was the only one I personally saw. "Doing Time on Maple Drive" (Jim Carey) was the other, but that's not so much for females, as much as "non-tradional minorty" males, with female accepting audiences... also known as Lifetime's P2's.

Also Xena and Buffy are also great examples of anger and violence selling.

But the question is... is it just females that are being sold? I say no. The cattiness comes to my own group... gay men. Look at the gay-popularity of "Betty," "Desperate housewives," "Top Model," etc. Yes they are intended to be for female audiences, but the cattiness attracts more than that (snap-snap).


I wonder how many logo shows are just as angery and catty? can you compare those? I'll bet so.

@Kim, thank you! :)

@Anonymous, I agree. But I think a lot of women attach to Betty because she's a "good" character, she's one of them. I think the same goes with Serena on Gossip Girl. Top Model, I really think it's the competition element, the glitz and glamour. I believe it's the glam, not the catfights, that appeal to women on a lot of the shows along this line, but it's hard to say for sure. It's not to say that cattiness sells to a degree, but I wonder: Are there other choices out there for women to say one way or another? I'd love to explore this further.

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