Catherine was great. But was she a girl boss?
Before “Six” ends in a mostly empty gesture of solidarity, “Six” simplifies and updates many of these women, turning Anne Boleyn, an astute political gamer, into a cunning jester, and frames Katherine Howard, an obvious victim of abuse, a barely legal one tease. (“Lock up your husbands, include your sons / K-Howard is here and the fun has started.”) The costume design, based on pop norms, sexualises every woman and combines her value with her sharpness.
Katherine Parr, Henry’s widow, recalls her achievements in her song:
I wrote books and psalms and meditations
Fought for female education
So that all of my wives could study the scriptures independently
I even got a woman to paint my picture
Why can’t I tell this story?
Well why can’t she? Instead, the songs on “Six” center the women’s relationship with Henry and emphasize his attraction (or aversion) to the accomplishments of wives. “The things these women did should be of historical interest, whether or not they were all married to them.” [expletive] Dude, âsaid Jessica Keene, a history professor studying the Tudor period.
This substitution of sexuality for excellence can extend to even more enlightened shows. This “Dickinson” sewing circle episode features a dynamic cameo from Sojourner Truth, played by writer and talk show host Ziwe. Because “Dickinson” is still exquisitely confident, it jokes about Ziwe’s youthful looks (“I’m about 66 but I look damn good”) and Truth’s 19th century sex bomb vibe. I’m a woman in that dress “) .