Minnie Driver: Women are supposed to be likable, men are allowed to be difficult

Minnie Driver just starred on the ABC show Speechless, where she plays an aggressively protective mom to three kids, including a son with cerebral palsy. I watched the first episode after reading an interview with her a few weeks ago and it just wasn’t enough to keep my interest. The show wrapped its first season this week and the ratings were high so it almost certainly will be renewed. Anyway Minnie covers Emmy magazine and the interview inside includes photos and quotes with her Speechless costars. She talked a bit about perception of her character and she made some good points.

In the issue, Minnie opened up on her character, who is an assertive mom, saying, “I get really annoyed when people say she’s not likable. Why are women supposed to be likable and men are allowed to be difficult, like Archie Bunker on ‘All in the Family?’ I love how fierce and passionate Maya is, and I love that she’s written with such irreverence and insight into what it is to be in a family that has special needs. When people say a woman is difficult, to me it’s a red flag that someone is interesting.”

[From Emmy Magazine via ExtraTV]

Minnie is right, female characters are stereotyped and pigeonholed while male characters, like Archie Bunker, are celebrated for being difficult. (Sidenote: have you seen the video comparing Trump to Archie Bunker? That was was funny when it came out until it became reality and wasn’t.) Women are supposed to value relationships, not principles, and are expected to be self-sacrificing. When we aren’t, when we have goals and needs and act in ways for which men are lauded, we’re labeled and talked over and expected to know our place. Even women Supreme Court Justices aren’t treated with the same respect as their male colleagues, and we’ve seen this play out over and over on a national stage, and in our personal lives, when we’re called difficult again on the few occasions we decide to speak out about it.



photos credit: Getty, FameFlynet and Emmy Magazine

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

16 Responses to “Minnie Driver: Women are supposed to be likable, men are allowed to be difficult”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Beth says:

    I personally know a few difficult women who are VERY unlikable too

  2. Green Is Good says:

    Minnie isn’t wrong about that.

  3. k37744 says:

    She’s getting more gorgeous as she ages. And girl has a brain on her that is so so sexy. Always loved Minnie.

    • OTHER RENEE says:

      +1000. I loved the series “About a Boy” even though it didn’t have a long run. I was disappointed when it got cancelled.

    • Pandy says:

      Yes, she looks wonderful!

    • Kiki says:

      I agree she does, she looks even more gorgeous as she did before. Also, she is so right. Maybe it is my feisty side of things (yes people, I am very feisty and I have a lot of mouth) but I can’t stand recluse, overly sweet and shy, girl next door kind of women. I like my women to have a mouth and say what they have to say and mean it, also stand up for themselves against male adversaries, and I am glad Minnie Driver said it. Thank you Minnie, and keep playing that beautiful character of yours on Speechless, I absolutely love her character.

  4. Jess says:

    Amen! Good for Minnie for calling this out. I have always loved her and really like Speechless. It took a little while for me to get into it but I really enjoy it now.

  5. mellie says:

    I really like this show. I like the fact that it’s not one of those shows where the mom is perfect, the house looks like a show place and everything works out perfectly in 22 minutes…it’s kind of like ‘The Middle’, it could be any family, just struggling through with their own problems. I like her Mama Bear attitude and I’m glad it was renewed.

  6. SugarMalone says:

    My long-standing love of Minnie was what got me to watch Speechless in the first place but it was the smart writing and humour that kept me looking forward to the show every week. I laugh out loud at least a few times every episode, and I’m not a sitcom/half hour comedy lover at all.

    I especially love that J.J. – the character with cerebral palsy – has his own coming-of-age type storylines and also gets to be funny. He’s never treated like he’s part of a “very special episode.” He’s just a regular kid with regular kid problems who also happens to have special needs. It’s really great to see.

    TLDR: Speechless is good! Give it a try!

  7. Chem says:

    I feel is the opposite in real life. Men are very simple

  8. bleu_moon says:

    It’s been ingrained in us that we have to be likable or we’re a b*tch. Yet men are lauded as “driven” or “aggressive” for the same behavior. Some of the best advice I received when I was in the corporate world (before children) was that women try to “be friends” with the people we supervise and we shouldn’t worry about that. We tend to share too much about our personal life in an attempt to bond and socialize with people we supervise outside of work too often. We want to be seen as the boss, but approachable and not threatening (read: “not b*tchy”). Men certainly don’t worry about that, but they’re also not judged for it either.

  9. Erica_V says:

    I’ve been butting up against this double standard my entire professional sales career.

    If I’m serious and authoritative with a customer I’m a bitch and told to “try & be more positive”.
    If my male coworker is serious and authoritative with a customer he’s “just sticking to his guns” & doing what’s best for the company.

  10. Adele Dazeem says:

    What vat of formaldehyde is Minnie sleeping in? My goodness she’s getting prettier as she ages.
    And it doesn’t appear to be “Hollywood aging” either. No LA Face.
    Do she and Julia Louis Dreyfus both take some kind of Benjamin Button magic pill? I want it!!

  11. Leslie says:

    I get what she’s saying, but Archie Bunker was the wrong example to use. Archie Bunker is supremely unlikable and very annoying, and All in the Family sucks because of it. A better example would be Frank Underwood from House of Cards who is not “likable” in the traditional sense but is lauded for being smart and driven.