For generations, Hollywood has portrayed female honchos as frigid, hysterical, manipulative and promiscuous. But finally a nuanced and realistic lady boss is rising off the silver screen.
By Rebecca Traister
Miranda, played by a silver-coiffed Meryl Streep, levels her gaze at her frowzy lackey (Anne Hathaway) and delivers a calm, magnificent monologue about the fashion industry. In a matter of seasons, she explains, a particular shade of blue trickles from her office to magazine pages to couture collections, moving down the fashion food chain until the hue is all the rage in plain-Jane department stores and outlying retail outlets, finally winding up in "some tragic Casual Corner bargain bin," the very bin out of which a holier-than-thou shopper like Andy has fished the blue sweater she's wearing. Andy may find her boss's attention to accessories beneath her but she should understand that on her back she sports a garment that would not have existed save for the decisions made in this very office, by the very person she's sneering at."
"And that's pretty remarkable. Miranda likes her position, she likes her power, she likes herself. She is calmly asserting that not only does she feel proud of her life but that she's sure other people want it too. She's neither man-eating Faye Dunaway nor bony-assed Sigourney Weaver, and she's not about to apologize for her hard-edged behavior. Imagine her gall."