Fans of this ground-breaking TV show have been pining its loss ever since we were forced to say goodbye to our favourite Sapphic sisters back in 2009. But at least we can still break out the box sets every now and again, and dream of a revival, maybe in the form of a movie or a spin-off starring Alice. Anyway, one of the reasons why the show was so loved, is that it portrays a group of strong, high-powered, career-driven females, who each reached the top of their respective fields by the end of the sixth season. We can learn a lot from these ladies, their journeys and the mistakes they have made on the road to success.
Bette encountered several obstacles during her time spent as the curator of the California Arts Centre, namely revolving around setting up a provocative installation of work. This was first met with the disapproval of the fuddy-duddies on the board who were too used to having ‘The Impressionists in Winter’ that time of year, and who proceeded to go behind her back by booking the more traditional show anyway. Not one to be beaten, Bette then drew on her list of contacts and adept persuasive skills to bring in the opinion of a big name which would silence the board once and for all. This shows that staying true to your convictions and using the talent you have been given can go a long way in salvaging an idea that you’re passionate about.
She was next met with the disapproval religious groups who did their utmost to destroy the project and Bette’s reputation. Bette however met the leader of the group head on and agreed to a debate. The tip here is to fight fire with fire. Not everyone is going to like your ideas. But if you feel strongly enough about them then you should pursue then anyway, drawing on all of the resources you can muster. If it proves successful, then like Bette, you may even be celebrated within your field.
For a while we only got to see the stay-at-home mom version of Tina, before seeing her in action as a high-flying movie exec. Unlike Bette, who manages to wear the trousers at all times no matter who’s concerned, Tina has often been confronted with a significant amount of misogynistic behaviour in the workplace. She even took on the persona of the misogynist herself at times. What is to be learnt from this is that you shouldn’t sacrifice your morals or what you believe in just to get to the top, as it proves to be a very distasteful characteristic in a person.
Alice’s spark of an idea became a hugely successful online platform for the lesbian community - think the story of how Facebook came to be, but with lesbians. If you’re anything like Alice then the bright idea that could earn you billions might just be right under your nose. Also, something that you do as a hobby already could morph into a career – wouldn’t it be great to do something you really enjoy as a job? Another way in which Alice became successful was by gaining lots of attention through her bubbly personality. Showcase your greatest qualities and you will go far.
Jenny went from being a small-town girl with a reputation for being a bit of a weirdo, to a best-selling author with a trope of fans and a movie deal. The thing is with Jenny, she was always writing, always striving to find ways to better her art. This shows that perseverance can really pay off. However, what came with her stardom was an insanely annoying amount of arrogance, which left her with no friends and eventually got her killed. Now this is quite a dramatic turn of events. But a lesson can be learnt here: don’t let success go to your head, and stay grounded. People, whether it be a fan-base, colleagues or your friends will deeply respect this and it could even lead to much more success.
You can’t talk about The L Word and not mention Shane, the character who could and does manage to charm the pants off anyone. As with Kit, Shane is a character who managed to turn her life around. She went from turning tricks on Santa Monica Boulevard to co-owning a skateboard shop and being a hairdresser to the stars. This is another instance in which a passion or a hobby can be turned into a profession. If you can muster a nothing-to-lose attitude like Shane, then who knows, you could just find your career on the rise.
Kit has had a tough life. It started with having to deal with being in the shadow of the good kid, her sister Bette. She also encountered the trials and tribulations of addiction, and even fell off the wagon a few times throughout the six seasons of The L Word. But it seems that the former musician really turned her life around when she became manager of The Planet, the hot café and favourite hangout of the girls. She even managed to channel her passion for music by putting on shows at The Planet. She proves that changing your life for the better is possible. She also proves that your career can have more than one face, while your original passion remains the same.
I can’t think of another show that has consistently provided such a positive representation of successful women. There are a few common themes here regarding why these women became so successful. One is being brave enough to turn your passion or hobby into a career. Another is remaining true to what you believe in.
Image is the property of Showtime Networks Inc.