Viola "Mammy" Watkins: A feminist role model
I love a good, sleazy scandal; be it a drunken inter-office hookup or a married celebrity with a wandering eye I find it fun to research and hear all the details. This comes as no surprise since the Golden Girls storylines often include an admirable amount of sleaze, but they speak very openly about female sexuality. SIGN ME UP!
What does sleaze have to do (or not, in this case) with the Golden Girls and Women's Hx Month? In Season 5, a bomb is dropped on Blanche when she learns that her childhood mammy*, Viola Watkins, was getting her berries razzed by Blanche's father, Big Daddy! They weren't just hitting the sheets and calling it a day; their affair was based in true, deep love and Viola has the letters to prove it.
Viola Watkins was a role model not because she had an affair with a married man, but because she broke the rules and followed her heart at a time when she could have been beaten or killed for doing so. She dared to pursue a relationship with a white, married man despite all the injustice she faced. Basically, she said, "Eff this racist BS! I want this relationship and I am TAKING IT!" From the way she describes the relationship, in another time or location they would have been married. We can assume that Blanche's character was born somewhere in the early to mid 1920s, so for that time this was especially bananas.
You just don't go through what Curtis and I went through just for sex. ::shudders:: Although that was reason enough.
HEY-OHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! GET IT, LADY!
Aside from the affair, what's clearly implied in this episode by way of the description of her relationship with Curtis and discussing children, how to handle them (i.e. Blanche), and the longevity of their relationship it is clear that Viola was the true matriarch of the household. Heck, 40+ years later and she still is able to make Blanche sit and listen to her with one statement: "I said sit!" BOOM.
Women rebels hold a special place in my heart. The more obstacles they face and persevere, the more I know I've found yet another role model.
In friendship and cheesecake,
*A mammy (also spelled mammie is a Southern United States stereotype for a black woman who worked as a nanny or general housekeeper and, often in a white family, nursed the family's children, according to Wikipedia.) Mammies were and still are often portrayed through white culture as black women who are satisfied (or even happy) to fill this role which undoubtedly is far from the truth despite potentially cultivating a loving relationship with the children.