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Thursday, March 7th 2013

8:08 AM

The Olivia Pope Rorschach Test

Earlier this week I got wind of this most interesting clip of the hit teledrama "Scandal" starring Kerri Washington and written by Shonda Rhimes (no relation to Busta as far as I know; H/T Black Yoda). I've briefly mentioned and discussed "Scandal" previously here at the O-Files, but didn't take it any further than that.

Let me also say that I have yet to view an entire episode of the show. In light of what I saw in the clip however, I just might wind up getting the first few season's worth of DVDs and sitting down to do a marathon of watching. Gamesmen know well the value and importance of such researches.

The featured clip is interesting, for this reason - and hence my question, especially if you happen to be (A) a Black Woman and/or (B) a rabid watcher of the show:

As we can see in this clip, Olivia Pope (Washington) is being visited by a Brotha who, from what we can glean in said clip, is a US Senator. They also appear to have been romantically involved to the extent that Senator Brotha has proposed - twice - and has done so bearing his grandmother's wedding ring. Apparently, for whatever reason, things have not worked out between them, and Senator Brotha really looks hurt, rejected and disappointed.

Now - here's my question; listen carefully...

For more than a generation, we have been told by Black Women - particularly Black Women typified by the Olivia Pope archetype - that there simply is not enough of the kinds of Brothas seen in the clip above to go around. Rightly or wrongly - and I personally think it's a bit of both - this meme has strong cache and cultural force in the Black community. It is the backbone around which many a movie, book, article or blogpost has been crafted; scores of panels and forums discuss this ad nauseum; and more.

But here we have a Black Woman in Pope, who has shotdown Senator Brotha, twice. I know that this isn't real, "Scandal" is just a tv show; I get that. And I also know that there may have been a lot that went down leading up to the clip that I don't know about and could have a hand in how things turned out. Granted.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that such a scene, from the point of view of a Black Man, seems just a weebit baffling. It flies in the face of all the agitprop we have gotten from the Sistarati over the past few decades. It boggles the mind. It beggars belief.

If a Brotha like Senator Brotha - tall, handsome, highly accomplished - all the things Sistas have claimed to want and are convinced there are simply not enough of them to go around - can not only get shotdown, but get shotdown twice, even after going down on bended knee bearing his grandma's ring - then, I honestly don't know what to say.

So, I'm hoping that perhaps, you do.

As a Black Man, what am I to take away from the clip presented above, knowing that "Scandal" is a show that is immensely popular with Black Women?

You. Tell. Me.

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
30 comment(s).

Posted by HanSolo:

@Hollenhund and Obsidian

Yeah, that was Plain Jane (now Morgasm and The Bennetts and who knows how many others) posting about the black men going to Brazil. Susan has banned or put into moderation many of Plain Jane's names, emails and IP addresses but she's a crafty troll and finds a way around it. lol
Monday, March 11th 2013 @ 9:41 PM

Posted by Adonis:

That was me, Adonis, in the comment right above this one
Saturday, March 9th 2013 @ 12:13 PM

Posted by Anonymous:

BlackPhilo, I see your first comment. If you posted anymore, then understand that Obsidian's blog host has a funny style policing when the blog gets high traffic.

@renee I feel you on all those point, and it creates a sense of plausible deniability. Thanks for the thoughtful response. Hope to hear more from you.
Saturday, March 9th 2013 @ 12:12 PM

Posted by Mackandal:

Well said Adonis. I also would like to add that most of the black men that are responding unfavorable to Scandal are usually the ones preferably vie for the Sistah’s attention and see it as: a betrayal, or a major paradigm shift on how they view sexual relationships within the black culture (which puts into context most of the behavior of the Sisterati in general). To me, it shows that despite how much game you have, or how hard you try to be the best (Black) man you can be, it is never enough because Todd/Brad/Ted is the CEO, President, etc. and no amount of game you have is going to change that social disparity between you two. That’s why it cuts deep for some them. And I think I can safely conclude that’s the logic of some of brothas on the upper echelon of this socio-economic arena. Bottom line, don’t put your wear your heart on your sleeves. Dumb that shit in some liquid nitrogen and store it in a fridge for better use.
Saturday, March 9th 2013 @ 1:26 AM

Posted by blackphilo:

Why was my comment, in response to AP @ 1:31 PM, disappeared? There was nothing offensive or rude in it.

If you'd rather I not comment on your blog, please simply say so--though that would be ironic.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 5:54 PM

Posted by Renee:

I do understand how confusing it must be if the same black women who complain about the lack of black men love the show, although I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to take a poll and know which of the thousands of black female viewers believed such a thing.

I think this whole thing shows that there are indeed differing ideas and beliefs amongst black women (at least the viewers), just like in any one group of a particular type of people. Just like among people PERIOD. As a black woman myself, I don't follow the whole "no more good black men" or "no more good black men AVAILABLE" train of thought, and I'm sure that there are more out there. To me Olivia simply did not have feelings for the Senator. That’s it. To have feelings for someone, it’s more than just his credentials, his looks, etc. If the feelings aren’t there, then all that stuff doesn’t matter.

And, like I said before, I think her not being with the Senator has more to do with her being the main character than anything, and ABC (one of the major tv stations) being too chicken to either have the President black or for her to be with the Senator (although there really wouldn't be any love angst in that case - which is a major part of the show).

There's also the thing of a black woman actually being seen as attractive to men other than black men, similar to how white women are seen as attractive, no matter what race/ethnicity men are. While I didn’t see her as this representation of a type of black woman, she does show that black women can be seen as universally attractive while being a well-rounded character, not to mention being in a position of power.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 1:03 PM

Posted by Renee:

Adonis, that’s actually MY comment. And I'm not playing dumb. Yes I'm aware that there are many of black women that fit your description (with that being said I'm sure that there are other cases where the abuser shows his true colors once the relationship is established - but that's another topic). I was just wondering what the character of Olivia has to do with it. I just didn’t see her as this representation of a certain type of black woman. She was just a character.

For one thing, ABC was probably too cowardly to have her be with a black man on the show, because you know, for some reason white audiences might see it as a "black show" and won't tune in. Also, we all know that there has to be some type of quota for the number of minorities on a station like ABC. They can't have "too many" lol.

Now that I've actually slept however, I think I get it.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 12:49 PM

Posted by Adonis:

"And really, WHY exactly does the character of Olivia have to be this representation of all black women and their choices?"

D, are you gonna play dumb, and forget about the legions of black women who "find themselves" in abusive relationships, complaining to their girlfriends how men suck, and stepping over men who don't fit the abuser profile. Whatever tho.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 7:25 AM

Posted by Obsidian:

Thanks for sending along the link, it's been awhile since I checked in over at HUS to see what's going on!
My sense of things is that this is the work of Plain Jane aka BAG LADY, but in any event she has just given me yet more fodder for a provocative blog post/article, which will be appearing very soon, so by all means, stay tuned...

Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 7:15 AM

Posted by Höllenhund:

Obs, you gotta see this trainwreck!

There's a new post at HUS about casual sex. Her readers, however, cannot be bothered to give a damn. They prefer to chat about the big, bad, nasty, bitter, jaded...African-American PUAs. I'm not making this up:

Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 4:20 AM

Posted by Renee:

I think I kind of went off subject there. Now that I think about it, as someone who has no problem dating both black men and outside her race, I probably didn't have much to contribute in the first place :P Anyway....

D at Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 11:10 AM,
You pretty much summed up my thoughts on this matter. This could really apply to all races and ethnicities as well.

And really, WHY exactly does the character of Olivia have to be this representation of all black women and their choices?
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 2:50 AM

Posted by Renee:

I've only gotten into Scandal in the last few months and haven't seen it from the beginning, so correct me if I'm wrong on things about the show.

From what I can see, she loves the President, not the Senator. Simple as that really. As for hypergamy, personally I feel that it's more than that, but that's just me.

Secondly, I think that with black women, there's a satisfaction that TWO white men sees a black women as attractive. In a culture where European/Caucasian looks in women are seen as the pinnacle of beauty, and with them being paired with men of different races and ethnicities, it's almost unheard of.

Third, I too am a little bothered that the one guy that Olivia turns down on the show is black lol.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 2:34 AM

Posted by HanSolo:

Or Twilight, or 50 Shades, or...the list could go on and on.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 12:28 AM

Posted by HanSolo:

Whether white or black, the female fantasy is to have one or more men out of her league vying for her attention. Look at Pride & Prejudice where Mr. Darcy is waaaay out of Elizabeth's league but he is rejected by her and remains in love with her ever after, until he finally gets the chance to win her over again, this time succeeding.
Friday, March 8th 2013 @ 12:28 AM

Posted by Kema:

I'm anonymous above... anyway I agree with D. A woman could have all the things you think you want on paper but if you don't want her you don't want her. Doesn't matter how good her head game, how great her Sunday dinners are or how she knows just the right time to shut up. If you don't feel that for her these things won't help her case. Of course guys handle the situation differently and will play with her until she 'gets the hint'.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 9:23 PM

Posted by D:

Plus, as noted, Olivia Pope is a majorly messed up character. She explicitly tells Senator PuddingPop that she feels that love should be "difficult and painful." It is quite obvious that homegirl has some issues that need to be worked out with a licensed psychotherapist. But that is part of what makes her such a fascinating character to watch. I wouldn't want her life (her wardrobe is another matter), but she makes for high drama.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 9:19 PM

Posted by Anonymous:

*waves* Hey O! I'm with Ms smart... some women choose the man that they feel they're supposed to be with. Which doesn't work if it only works on paper. A similar example to Ms pope's choice is in the movie 'Think like a man'. Taraji's character also forgoes the 'successful good black man'.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 9:05 PM

Posted by Adonis:


That was a slick move there bro. I didn't even think of that, and then the complain is, about all these successful brothas with non-black women.

Black women do not think
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 7:49 PM

Posted by blackphilo:

"Men are not entitled to women regardless of how upstanding they may be. Count the experience as a loss and keep it moving."

Not sure how many men feel "entitled to women regardless." In any case, BW often complain that BM indeed "keep it moving"--to non-Black women. BM don't seem to be making a reciprocal complaint.

So, AfroPetite, would it be correct to say that you are advising BM to "keep it moving" to other BW? Why should BM heed that advice? If that's not your advice, why all the complaints about the alleged scarcity of "good" BM?
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 4:23 PM

Posted by AfroPetite:

Are men not human just as women are? Pope has some major character flaws to begin with so hearing her say that she wants a painful relationship wasn't surprising to me as an avid viewer of the show.

For as many BW who complain about the shortage of "good" BM, there are just as many BM who lament about BW who lack couth, domestic skills, above average intelligence, and supernatural coital prowess. Why should women be obligated to pursue relationships with men because of the backlash they receive at the risk of being deemed hypocritical?

Senator Cosby feels as if his status entitles him to Olivia (and any BW for that matter). Men are not entitled to women regardless of how upstanding they may be. Count the experience as a loss and keep it moving.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 1:31 PM

Posted by Anonymous:

"Again, this is what Sistas themselves say - not anyone else."

I'm about to say something politically incorrect...M'kay?

The women who say that line don't have access to those men. They think all of their relationship problems would be solved if they found a man who has a job, can read, and doesn't live with his mom. Instead, they should be reassessing what they tolerate from the guys who aren't tall, dark, handsome, educated, yadda yadda! You know, the guys they have access to every day. How do I know? These sought after men comprise my dating pool. The reality is that having those things doesn't make a man the kind of dude I would want my sons to mimic. (I don't have sons, BTW.)

"So, if indeed, Sistas are being "pushed" to deal with such guys, they have no one but themselves to blame, since it is they who have crafted the criteria by which a Brotha is deemed to be a catch or not."

I agree, they are to blame. The women are only 49% to blame at least where marriage is concerned because, for the most part, it's still left up to the man to ask the woman. Sure she says yes. But she wouldn't even be able to say yes if these men, who know they are only a good match on paper, stop asking these women to marry them.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 1:12 PM

Posted by Obsidian:

Deeply appreciating all the responses and feedback, this is great! Had no idea it would go down like this, but I have been pleasantly surprised.

A few things.

1. Whenever I get a lot of comment traffic, Bravenet goes into auto anti-spam mode and starts moderating comments that are unfamiliar with its system. I'm gonna check in every 15 minutes or so to make sure that any comments you post up go through as quickly as possible. So if you find your comment in mod, please bear with me; it'll appear shortly.

2. Fellas, I am deeply appreciative of your ardent and impassioned responses, believe me I am; but I really want to hear what the Sistas, particularly those who are regular watchers of the show Scandal, have to say in response to my question/observations above. We know that ladies tend to pipedown whenever lots of guys start weighing in on something, and I want to give them as wide a berth in order for them to have their say. So, fellas, I'm asking you to leanback, just a bit; let's all listen to what the ladies have to say here.


Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 1:12 PM

Posted by Adonis:

For some reason, my comment go through
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 12:08 PM

Posted by Adonis:

Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 12:02 PM

Posted by Adonis:

I did not know that you were going to have a lively comment section.

We know what is going on from a evo-psyche/hypergamous POV. Clear as day.

The problem is, that we address women as responsible, straightforward, human beings that can be held accountable for their actions.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 12:02 PM

Posted by Adonis:

I did not know that you were going to have a lively comment section.

We know what is going on from a evo-psyche/hypergamous POV. Clear as day.

The problem is, that we address women as responsible, straightforward, human beings that can be held accountable for their actions.

The complain to us, that we are in jail, gay, cheaters, not enough money, deadbeats etc....
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 12:00 PM

Posted by Adonis:

I did not know that you were going to have a lively comment section.

We know what is going on from a evo-psyche/hypergamous POV. Clear as day.

The problem is, that we address women as responsible, straightforward, human being that can be held accountable for their actions.

The complain to us, that we are in jail, gay, cheaters, not enough money, etc.

But when the guy shows up as the antithesis of all those complaints, you get that Scandal clip.

And art imitates life.

When black women or any other women complain about what men are or not doing, it should fall upon deaf ears.

As blues said, go alpha, and keep your money in your pocket.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 11:58 AM

Posted by Blues:

Continued: If it doesn't get you laid, it'll at least prevent you from becoming a chump
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 11:39 AM

Posted by Blues:

Taking out of the equation the race part, the short answer is: Hypergamy doesn't care.

The long answer is:

1) Average feamle hamster on hypergamy: Why settle for a senator when you have (even if having just means sex) the POTUS?

2) Senator brotha chasing after Olivia and even proposing, even twice? beta behaviour display of the highest order.

3)Now let's add that from all your writting my impression is that black women are the most hypergamy driven women and combined with the previous points there's your answer.

The real shocking thing is that this happened on TV were everyone can see it.

And to answer your question on what to take from this as a black man (or any man really): don't listen to women and learn game/go alpha.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 11:37 AM

Posted by D:

Olivia is in love with the President, not the Senator. She broke it off with the Senator a few years back, and he has actively pursued her since, despite the fact that Olivia is decidely lukewarm, at best, about him. She and the Senator are a good political match, but a bad romantic match.

I think women want the dashing, accomplshed guy, who they are also *attracted* to. It isn't enough, for most women, as some guys suppose, just to have the accomplishments, if she doesn't also want to sleep with you. No more than a submissive, feminine, woman who can cook will make a man attracted to her, if she is only a HB3 in the looks department. The extra stuff can only get you so far. I think guys get confused and think the extra stuff will make the woman attracted to him, when it isn't so. Those are components which must be met after the base level attraction is already satisfied.
Thursday, March 7th 2013 @ 11:10 AM