When I was a teenager, I watched Designing Women with my mother religiously. [hahaha] Indeed, our weekly viewing when the show was on the air (1986-1993) were akin to goddess worship. The women of Sugarbaker Associates and Design Firm were equally divine and feminine, each representing a different aspect of goddess, including power, empathy, nurturing and beauty.* These women were terrific role models for an adolescent GG who was starting to question everything, dealing with body issues, worried about life after high school, and couldn’t hold in sass to save her life. I’m sure the ladies of Designing Women were an inspiration to many girls in my generation (and beyond).**
Like many people (probably most people), my favorite character was Julia Sugarbaker played by Dixie Carter.*** She was assertive without being brash, compassionate without being pandering, fashionable without being sycophant, and southern without being prejudiced. All things I aspired to be (and still do). As I think on Julia now, I think she would have made a fabulous princess. No, I’m sure of it!
Here are a few lessons on how to be a good princess from Julia Sugarbaker. In other words, when faced with a dilemma, WWJD (what would Julia do)?
Scenario: Someone says something catty about your sister, your mother, your BFF or some other princess dear to your heart.
WWJD: Spin a tale of accomplishment and superiority about your loved one such that the jerk in question slinks down into themselves and apologizes. And don’t be afraid to reinvent history a little to get your point across.☨
Scenario: Someone says something catty about your liberal leanings.
WWJD: Try to be patient so your points are articulate and, more importantly, heard by the jerk in question. And when you patience runs out (because it will), unleash the hounds of hell (aka get your bitch on). [Note: Julia goes “terminator” at 3:52].
Scenario: Someone says something catty about gay rights or homosexuality in general. Geez, there sure are a lot of catty jerks out there, huh?
WWJD: No patience required. Force this jerk in question to face their prejudices and then introduce them to your backside (aka show them your princASS).☨☨
Scenario: You are trying to hand with your favorite galpals and some dude keeps trying to join the fun.
WWJD: Just keep calling him “Ray Don” until he goes away.
Scenario: Someone says something catty about the South (and you are a Southerner).
WWJD: Try not to mention the War of Northern Aggression (at least not directly). Advise the jerk in question that while the South has a troubled past, our future is bright.
What do you think, Realm? Was Julia Sugarbaker a role model for women? What other princess lessons can she offer?
* Can you guess which designing woman is which goddess aspect? *wink*
** I hadn’t thought of it until now, but DW set the standard for another television gal-pal success, Sex in the City. [Note: The Oracle tells me that other people thought of this, though. *smiley face*]
*** Dixie Carter’s passing two years ago was a terrible loss. She was a grand dame as much as Julia Sugarbaker ever was.
☨☨ The creator of the show, Linda Bloodworth-Thompson attributes the early success of Designing Women to gay viewers, who supported the show because of this speech. You can learn more about that in this interview.
+ Featured image, black and white of original cast. You can buy a poster!