“How to Get Away with Murder”: Feminism, Intersectionality, and Representation

The television series called “How to Get Away with Murder” covers so many topics that were explored in this course which is one of the reasons it is one of my favourite shows of all time. As an aspiring lawyer and law television show enthusiast, this show was wonderfully executed and the representation and diversity in the show made the show earn its top spot as one my favourite shows. The main cast consists of 4 queer characters (3 of them being people colour) and 4 women of colour. I love that this show gave many people the opportunity to see themselves represented when they are often left out of mainstream media.

Annalise Keating is main character, played by Viola Davis, and Annalise is a bisexual dark-skinned black woman who is a practicing lawyer and law school professor. The head of Annalise’s law firm, Tegan Price, is an Afro-Latina lesbian who finds solidarity with Annalise as the only women in their entire law firm. They are hardworking and uncompromising, and they support and empower each other when they could easily be petty and competitive towards each other as ambitious women in the field of law. The trope of women competing against each other instead of uplifting each other is something I’ve seen often, so it was nice to see this wholesome, respectful, and supportive bond between Annalise and Tegan who are extremely powerful and competent women in a field that is dominated by men.

Annalise is a successful lawyer who brought a case about justice system reform (in regard to racially biased incarceration and low funding for public defenders) to the Supreme Court. She did this with the help of Olivia Pope who is another black female lawyer from the television show “Scandal” — another one of favourite law shows with a powerful black female lead. This is a huge accomplishment and many people told her that she could not accomplish anything with this case and many people tried to stop her, but Annalise was uncompromising and dedicated to justice, and she went through a lot to bring her case to the highest court in the United States. This was so inspiring to me as a young woman of colour and this show actually sparked my interest in law. The show through Annalise’s eyes reflects and intersectional point of view as a black queer woman in the United States and bell hooks covers the same topic of intersectionality in her texts about feminism.

“How to Get Away with Murder” has multiple seasons but one of the topics it covers is targeted physical assault against gay men. It also showcases the experience of a Pakistani refugee with the threat of persecution for being gay. Also, Annalise gets threatened and targeted for being successful, being black, and being a woman who excels in the field of law. The show also explores Annalise’s internal conflicts about her sexuality. The show takes the opportunity to talk about certain topics and experiences from Annalise’s intersectional point of view as a woman. Intersectionality is a topic that was covered by bell hooks when talking about feminism and the female experience. Annalise also takes sexual assault cases, and this raised awareness for young girls that are targeted and the victims that do not get justice in real life.

I also had to shout out the fact that they portrayed a healthy homosexual relationship between 2 male members of the main cast, one of them being an HIV positive Filipino man. This is unlike any type of representation I’ve seen in mainstream media anywhere and I’m so happy and proud to see this type of representation in a popular American television show that actually has a good plot.

I have such a deep love and appreciation for this show and I’m sad it is ending after I’ve invested myself into this show for 6 seasons, but it’s truly an amazing show that covers so many important social issues related to gender, race, and sexuality while having a talented cast and an incredible plot.

Here is Annalise Keating’s speech at the Supreme Court and Viola Davis’ amazing acting:

One thought on ““How to Get Away with Murder”: Feminism, Intersectionality, and Representation

  1. This is one of my favorite TV shows and I truly believe that Viola Davis perfectly plays a determined woman who will stop at nothing to be heard. I also think that the show treats and represents well the topics of feminism, intersectionality and Black women representation.

    Liked by 2 people

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