Recently, I’ve been glued to the sofa on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, patiently waiting and channel surfing until Borgen (Wednesdays) and Silk (Thursdays) came on the telly. This may surprise you but I only realized a couple of days ago that a large part of their appeal for me was because both series feature strong, capable, intelligent women who are at the top of their profession and who, somehow manage to retain their humanity as well as feminism through all the grime and betrayals of the legal and political professions.
Of course, this is only television and many are the critics who have panned Martha Costello, the QC on Silk for being naïve and Brigitte Nyborg on Borgen for being worse. The plots are not more plausible than average nor have the actors looked anything like the ragged doll the average woman feels after a run-in with a hated rival or having been caught on the hop by a curve ball.
Still, I return to the screen each week faithfully because they are my heroes. The ones who try and sometimes win but more often have mixed results. As in last week’s episodes on Silk, when the person Martha defended in the name of a principle had tricked and deceived them. And when the determination to tackle the debilitating treatment of cancer on her own and in secret caused Brigitte Nyborg to stall at a pre-election debated televised on national television in Borgen.
I think they are my heroes because they are flawed, proud women who make mistakes, go under and fall apart, and acknowledge they need men (sometimes). They are my heroes because they portray what I want to believe as one of the middle-aged women past childbearing though not child-caring: that we can still make a difference by knowing our minds, taking a stance and patiently, chipping away at our self-appointed tasks.