What the 'Scandal' Impact Really Means

The impact of the actress' work is bigger than its success on the small screen.

Kerry Washington attends the MTV Movie Awards in April 2013. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

For some, Kerry Washington's portrayal of Olivia Pope on Scandal is a coup because it dismisses the idea that black women are unattractive in mainstream society, writes the New York Times.

It's clear that "Scandal" has touched a nerve: Twitter regularly blows up with "Scandal"-related tweets when the show is on, and the flood of cyberspace chatter has included debates about the interracial sex, the politics and the clothes. Ms. Washington's remark this year that she would have turned down the role had the president been black (out of concern that such a character might reflect an insider's view of Mr. Obama, whose administration she volunteers for) drew attention, too.

"We're putting a lot of our hopes on Kerry's shoulders," said Yaba Blay, an assistant professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University, who live-tweets about the show with a group of female academics. "The conversations about her go beyond the role, to the idea of representing us well as middle-class and upper middle-class, educated women," mostly because of the scarcity of such images of black women."

"We are the same women the media has said are not attractive, are not marriageable," she added.

Read more at the New York Times.

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