Olivia represents the modern 21st century independent woman. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing more attractive than a woman who is ambitious and has worked hard for her own. In fact, I think this should be every woman’s dream, to be able to accomplish and succeed to her greatest potential, however it is important to understand that self-absorbed independency takes away from intimacy. When I speak about intimacy, I am speaking about the ability to be vulnerable while maintaining one’s identity, the ability to be interdependent.
As a young lady, I can’t express how many times I have heard this phase from independent, beautiful, successful women, “I don’t need a man, I have _______” (my masters, my cats, Jesus… You fill in the blank), convincing themselves that what they have and who they are is enough in this life. I am not saying that a woman needs a man to be intimate, and in my opinion I think some people would avoid heart ache, be less miserable, and make other people happier if they were single, but intimacy is an amazing experience created between people. And intimacy can only be created through trust. Therefore, Olivia represents a wide range of women who have allowed qualifications and even possessions to stand in the way of achieving healthy intimate relationships.
This idea of independence is the reason why Olivia and the President work together so well, they work on a part-time basis. Interdependency demands commitment and accountability, however, both Olivia and Fitz are convenient for one another, when their priorities aren’t at their peak. It is no wonder Jake could not stay, because he wanted all of her, however Olivia’s independence was only offering part of herself. And as for the President, he was only offering part of himself; well after running the country, looking like a good husband and father and trying to be re-elected. But true intimacy and interdependency is not void of commitment and accountability. It is only by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open up to the possibility that we may be hurt in the process, that we are able to grow and learn from our mistakes. Listen, intimacy has been something I have been afraid of. Always wanting to be in control while never wanting to be hurt, but I am realizing more and more that my desire to have healthy, long-lasting, resilient relationships, is not worth losing for titles, an image, independency or even control.
This brings me to my last point. Olivia is not only a shameless-mistress or a lonely independent woman, but more scarily, she is in denial that she is in fact dependent. I know it may sound like an exaggeration, but think about it, being independent while being dependent is an oxymoron. What is scary about this oxymoron is that Olivia has convinced herself that she is independent, which blurs the reality that she is in fact dependent, whether it’s on the President, her gladiators or even her father. Although Olivia seems to have everything a woman could ever want (except for her messy relationships… for the most part), her livelihood and worth is founded in other men. Olivia has become so good at “fixing things” for everyone else; she has missed out on fixing the issues in her own life. Her dependency is found in the attention which is given to her by men rather than how she values herself. For Olivia, attention equals validation.
I must say, writing my opinion on the Olivia Popes of this generation was hard to come around. Why? Because many of us are taught that finding a husband or being wanted by men is a clear indication of our value, and this is something that many people have believed, including myself. This was Olivia’s problem, rather than taking out the time for herself to deal with her deep issues of feeling abandoned, unloved or even insecure, she continued to Band-Aid her cuts, rather than going deeper into the wounds, in order to achieve true healing. Likewise, I have used validation from others to replace the love which was needed for myself and have plastered it with artificial attention and compliments to cover up the insecurities and neglect I have felt. This kept me going but only lasted for a while, only to find that once that ‘love’ was gone, I would once again become dependent on non-durable praise, attention and other’s opinion of me.
Yes, Olivia Pope is beautiful, sophisticated and successful, not to mention my girl can dress. But the older I get the more I realize there is more to a woman than just what she can put on. And although Olivia exemplifies the trophy woman for any man she is not the trophy woman for herself. The danger with this day and age is as much as we are trying to be inclusive and be relevant to everyone’s wants and needs; we have often neglected some of the most fundamental qualities that makes a woman powerful and virtuous. But hey, maybe Olivia will come to realize her worth or maybe she won’t, but one thing that is guaranteed, if she doesn’t, she will spend the rest of the seasons lonely and miserable fixing everyone else’s life but her own.