back to top

Let's All Appreciate Olivia Pope For The Feminist Goddess She Is

Thank you, Shonda Rimes. Season 4 of Scandal coming to Netflix June 13!

Posted on

Meet Olivia Pope.


If you watch Scandal, you know that Olivia Pope is one of the strongest female leads on primetime television. Just by being her badass self, she spreads her magical feminist fairy dust on television viewers everywhere.

So let's just take a moment to appreciate Olivia Pope's brand of feminism.

First of all, she's the ultimate boss lady.


Olivia runs her own super successful crisis management and communications firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. She is damn good at what she does - strategic, confident and in control - which is why she is highly respected in the D.C. community as the best "fixer" around. (Plus, you know you're an incredible boss when your employees routinely say that they will follow you "over a cliff.")


Props to Shonda Rimes for making a successful female boss who is powerful without falling into "bossy" and "bitchy" stereotypes that haunt women as they move up the corporate ladder.

Speaking of those stereotypes, Olivia swiftly shuts down sexist double standards.


When Fitz calls one of Olivia's gladiators, Abby, a "bitch," Olivia wastes no time calling him out on his sexist bullshit. "Don't say that! The words used to describe women," Olivia snaps back at Fitz. "If she was a man you'd say she was 'formidable' or 'bold' or 'right.'"

Not only does she shut them down, she routinely breaks them.

Who says a woman can't be feminine, fashionable and feminist? The idea that femininity and feminism are mutually exclusive is ridiculous. Feminism is inclusive, embracing both those who identify with feminine traits and those who don't. To say you can't be a strong woman and also be "girly" perpetuates the fallacy that to be feminine is synonymous with being weak. Olivia Pope and her impeccable and fashionable work outfits are proof that a woman can enjoy being feminine and also kick ass.

She knows that she needs to be treated with respect, even when it's the most powerful man in the world seducing her.

Can you imagine the level of self-possession and empowerment Olivia has to have to march into the Oval Office and tell off the President of the United States? In one of the most iconic lines in all of Scandal history, she completely tears Fitz down: "I am not a toy you can play with when you’re bored or lonely or horny. I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, Earn me!”

Unfazed by Fitz's power, Olivia claims her own power and recognizes her own self-worth.

Her time is just as important as the President's.


She has problems to fix. Ain't nobody got time to stroll over to the White House every time Fitz wants a heart-to-heart. "You do not walk away from me!" Fitz, please. This is Olivia Pope we're talking about.

And she refuses to stand down, even when slut shamed by her own father.


"You raised your skirt and opened your knees and gave it away to a man with too much power," Papa Pope actually said to his daughter when he tried to convince her to get on a plane and hide from the press after her affair with President Grant leaked. It almost worked, but then Olivia realized that SHE'S OLIVIA POPE and got off the plane. She doesn't hide from problems; she handles them.

She doesn't only stand up for herself; she stands up for other women, too.


Confronting a senator that falsely accused another senator of sexual assaulting her, Olivia stood up for all victims of assault AND made sure that no one could fall back on the "just another made-up rape accusation" argument. "Women don’t lie about that. There is overwhelming evidence that women do not lie about being sexually assaulted, but you are. And I know you are," she said. "Because when that happens, when a man grabs you, puts his hands on you, you do not forget it. You remember every single detail, every touch."

She isn't perfect; she's human.

Olivia isn't invincible; she cries, she gets scared, she can be emotionally vulnerable. She has made mistakes. She slept (and fell in love) with another woman's husband. She rigged a national election. Her job sometimes involves morally questionable dirty work like trying to intimidate a young, female White House aide into leaving town. You definitely shouldn't emulate these actions, but you can learn from Olivia that you have to accept yourself, flaws, mistakes and all, to be as strong as she is.

Need a fix of your favorite feminist fixer?

June 13. Season 4 on Netflix. Get ready for some girl power.

Top trending videos

Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right
This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!