This Is Us is a show that has faced some criticism for how it portrays women. Rebecca's flaws often seem highlighted when compared to Jack's perceived perfection, and Kate's storylines can end up being all about her weight or the men in her life. Still, allowing women to be flawed and messy is a good start, particular because female characters don't always get the chance to be as fallible as their male counterparts most of the time. The show isn't perfect in this regard, but these feminist moments from This Is Us prove the show is trying, at least. And that means it can always improve.
The female characters on the show do run the gamut in terms of personality and type, and they all have their own specific hopes and dreams. There are mothers like Rebecca and Beth who struggle with balancing motherhood and their personal desires. There's Kate's sometimes singleminded but also very relatable lifelong struggle with body image issues. William's mother only made brief appearances in one episode, but she stood out as a woman who managed to be strong in the face of seemingly insurmountable loss. Randall's little girls are relentlessly delightful, and Kevin's 14 love interests... exist. There are many different kinds of women on This Is Us and their journeys are an integral part of the show. For example...
1. Rebecca's Uncertainty About Motherhood
Before getting pregnant with the Big Three, Rebecca wasn't sure that having kids was even something she wanted. Though she ultimately loved motherhood, allowing Rebecca to have uncertainties and misgivings before the fact made Rebecca feel like a real person. Not every woman is instantly ready to become a mom, and it was great to see that explored.
2. Kate Putting Herself First
Though it wasn't a decision that stuck, when Kate broke up with Toby for not being supportive enough of her weight loss journey, it was a major moment for the character. She put her needs first because she wasn't getting enough out of the relationship, and that was something Kate needed to learn to do in all areas of her life.
3. Rebecca Chasing Her Dreams
The fact that Rebecca isn't totally, 100 percent satisfied by being a mom is something that comes up often with her character. The best part is that she isn't shamed for that at all (and she shouldn't be), but instead encouraged to seek fulfillment elsewhere if she needs it. Rebecca choosing to go on the road to chase her singing dreams was a great moment for her.
4. Kate Shutting Down Duke
Watching Kate continue to assert herself is always a pleasure on the show, particularly because she had some trouble doing so early in Season 1. Duke was a creep of the highest order, and watching Kate tear him down was supremely satisfying. Even if she did end up getting kicked out of the camp because of it.
5. Rebecca Talking To Her Babies
Rebecca's openness about her fears and worries when it came to motherhood were particularly refreshing because those things can still be so hard for women to talk about. Watching her spill all her anxieties and her excitement to her unborn children during "The Big Day" was something that could resonant with a lot of moms.
6. Kate's Job
She may have only held the job for roughly 13 seconds, but Kate's brief stint as Jami Gertz's assistant was a memorable one. It was another stepping stone in Kate's continued journey towards standing up for herself and seizing what she wanted. Kate didn't put up with her boss' bratty daughter or with her boss' questionable reasons for hiring her, instead demanding the job she deserved. (Before leaving it behind to stay in New York for months, but hey — baby steps.)
This Is Us might not be a feminist utopia, but it tries, which is a start and makes it all the more worth watching.