WOMEN

11 Reasons To Get On Board With Shonda Night

It's Shonda's world, and we're all just living in it.

Shonda Night returns on Sept. 24, and we could not be more excited. 

The back-to-back airings of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How To Get Away With Murder" have made ABC the channel to watch on Thursday nights for sex, drama, and fabulous wardrobes. And the shows are making history. 

On Sept. 20, veteran actress Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama. Her acceptance speech showed how Shonda Night is changing television for the better.

"You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there," she said. "So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black."

Rhimes' award-winning shows offer complex, powerful roles and diverse casts. If you're not tuning in, you really should be. 

Here are 11 more reasons to get on board with Shonda Night, because #TGIT. 

  • 1 Shonda Night gives viewers subtle lessons in feminism, every week.
    The shows are filled with empowering speeches, mold-breaking women, and characters calling each other out for sexist behavior
    ABC
    The shows are filled with empowering speeches, mold-breaking women, and characters calling each other out for sexist behavior.

    In "Scandal," viewers have had to observe what women risk when they come forward about abuse, why the media treats female politicians differently, and the problem with the word "bitch," And it's awesome.
  • 2 The badass, unapologetic female characters.
    Rhimes' shows are full of competitive, successful women who won't take sh*t from anyone. And it's incredible. May the legacy
    ABC
    Rhimes' shows are full of competitive, successful women who won't take sh*t from anyone. And it's incredible. May the legacy of Cristina Yang live on forever.
  • 3 The shows challenge stereotypes about black women.
    While Hollywood generally&nbsp;<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/viola-davis-just-called-out-hollywood-for-ignoring-dar
    ABC
    While Hollywood generally ignores dark-skinned women, Rhimes' shows definitely do not. Black characters are given the same complex storylines and powerful scenes as the rest of the cast -- no "token" characters welcome on Shonda Night. 

    Especially notable is the incredibly powerful scene in HTGAWM where Annalise removes her makeup and wig. Davis has spoken about how empowering she found that moment.

    “I wanted that scene to be somewhere in the narrative of Annalise,” Davis told The Wrap. “That who she is in her public life and who she was in her private life were absolutely, completely diametrically opposed to one another. Because that’s who we are as people. We wear the mask that grins and lies.”
  • 4 Even Shonda herself is inspired by her characters.
    In a Sept. 8 <a href="http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/08/shonda-rhimes-dating-and-upcoming-book-year-yes" target="_blank">i
    ABC
    In a Sept. 8 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rhimes shared how writing a storyline for "Grey's Anatomy" character Cristina Yang helped her clarify her own views on marriage.

    ”I was seriously dating somebody and I was like, 'I don’t want to do this,'" She said. "I guess I had been secretly feeling that way and writing it for Cristina."

    Writing for "Grey's Anatomy" helped Rhimes realize that she didn't want to get married -- and that there was nothing wrong with that.

    "We’re all so conditioned to want [marriage], I felt like there must be something wrong with me," she told Entertainment Weekly. "But the minute I said it out loud to my family, it was fantastic. Now if somebody says, ‘Are you looking for that?’ I say, ‘Nope, looking for a boyfriend, not a husband.’ And there’s a freedom to that. There’s no pressure if you’re not looking for it.”
  • 5 The shows push the envelope when it comes to sex on TV.
    Remember <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/scott-foley-eiffel-tower-scandal_n_6017722" target="_blank">that "Eiffel tow
    ABC
    Remember that "Eiffel tower" scene in "Scandal?" Or Callie and Arizona in the shower on "Grey's Anatomy?" Or all the absurdly steamy sex scenes on HTGAWM? There is way more happening here than standard vanilla sex scenes, offering a more inclusive representation of what goes on in real life.
  • 6 Shonda totally knows how much easier it is to be a man, and her shows reflect that.
    Rhimes gave a speech at a Feminist Majority Foundation event in May 2015, where she talked about embracing womanhood in a wor
    Getty Images
    Rhimes gave a speech at a Feminist Majority Foundation event in May 2015, where she talked about embracing womanhood in a world that makes things easier for men. She said:

    "My assistant wants to walk through the world just for a day without some guy hitting on her when she runs to Starbucks to get me coffee. She wants to not be called 'cute' by the security guard. She wants to not be told that she should be a model. She wants to not see the look of surprise on someone’s face when she tells them where she went to college. She wants her boobs to no longer be a topic of conversation. She wants to no longer make 70 cents on the dollar. She wants to not have old men legislate her vagina’s rights. She wants to not know that a glass ceiling ever existed. She wants to not believe that having a baby would end her career. She wants everything in the world to be made for her, be about her and speak mostly to her. Because that’s how it is for men."
  • 7 The shows are dedicated to telling LGBT stories, too.
    "I think in telling LGBT stories, I'm telling everyone's story," Rhimes said while <a href="http://www.glaad.org/blog/video-g
    YouTube
    "I think in telling LGBT stories, I'm telling everyone's story," Rhimes said while accepting a GLAAD Award in 2012. "Love is, in fact, universal, right? … I want my daughters to grow up in a world in which there is more love than hate. I want them to know a world where everyone is free. So that's why I write the stories that I do, because everyone should be free."

    Back in 2014, Rhimes shut down a Twitter user who complained about the "gay scenes" in her show, responding: "There are no GAY scenes. There are scenes with people in them."
  • 8 "How To Get Away With Murder" reminds us that all women can be sexual beings.
    During a <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/viola-davis-playing-a-sexualized-woman-the-hollywood-reporter_n_7554652" tar
    ABC
    During a June 2015 roundtable, Viola Davis spoke out about being cast as attorney and professor Annalise Keating.

    "There was absolutely no precedent for [this role]," she said. "I had never seen a 49-year-old, dark-skinned woman who is not a size 2 be a sexualized role in TV or film. I’m a sexual woman, but nothing in my career has ever identified me as a sexualized woman. I was the prototype of the 'mommified’ role.”

    Davis went on to discuss how she embraced the role, and hopes to represent the women she knows in real life.

    “The women in my life who are sexualized are anywhere from a size zero to a size 24. They don’t walk like supermodels in heels. They take their wig and makeup off at night.So this role was my way of saying, 'Welcome to womanhood!'"
  • 9 So many types of couples and families are represented.
    <a href="http://thenotmom.com/talking-about-childfree-women-dont-forget-cristina-yang/" target="_blank">Childfree</a> couples
    ABC
    Childfree couples. Same-sex marriages. Trans-racial adoptions. Single moms. Surrogate parents. Step-parents. Three-parent families. Marriages of convenience. Nuclear families. They're all there. 
  • 10 Shonda says she isn't "diversifying" TV -- she's normalizing it.
    "I really hate the word 'diversity,' it suggests something... other. As if it is something&hellip; special, or rare," Rhimes
    Paul Archuleta via Getty Images
    "I really hate the word 'diversity,' it suggests something... other. As if it is something… special, or rare," Rhimes said while accepting an Ally for Equality award at the 2015 Human Rights Campaign Gala. "As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: NORMALIZING. I’m normalizing TV."

    Rhimes explained that her goal is "making TV look like the world looks," saying:

    "Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL. The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them."
  • 11 The Executive Producer of Shonda's shows fully supports "slutty slutsters."
    Betsy Beers, the Executive Producer of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How To Get Away With Murder," talked about the <a hre
    courtesy of Betsy Beers
    Betsy Beers, the Executive Producer of "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How To Get Away With Murder," talked about the importance of representing complex women while at a luncheon in 2014.

    Beers explained that she and Rhimes work hard to make sure women like themselves are portrayed on screen -- sexual escapades and all.

    “We were two strong, competitive women with dark and twisty centers for whom work was a paramount importance, who had complicated love lives and messy relationships with a diverse group of friends who were as screwed up as we were," Beers said. "When we looked at the television landscape around us, we didn’t see us in any network dramas or really, anywhere else.”

Also on HuffPost:

 

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Empowering Shonda Rhimes Quotes