Growing up, many of us have been taught to not judge a book by its cover. Instead, we are encouraged to look beneath the surface to discover the defining elements of a person, place, or thing.
In television, critics and audiences alike are fast to categorize a series. While it makes sense for a funny show to be labelled a comedy, or a serious show to be viewed as a drama, it is odd that people continue to describe certain series as something that’s strictly manly, or womanly.
For “Call the Midwife” creator and screenwriter Heidi Thomas, she has seen her award-winning period drama termed by others as just a show about women, for women. As you’d imagine, this is a topic in which Thomas has a big opinion about.
“In the early days a lot of people took ‘Call the Midwife’ at what they felt to be face value, and ignored the fact that we were telling strong stories about women and the working class,” said Thomas in an interview with the Observer.
“We got called ‘Horlicks (malted milk hot drink) TV’ and I would think ‘What does it say about our patriarchal society if a show dealing with the effects of abortion, sexual violence and domestic violence is called lightweight fluff?’”
Thomas went on to say she finds “that attitude disturbing,” but noted that “attitudes towards the show have changed” and more people now understand what “Call the Midwife” is really all about.
“The stories we tell are about births, relationships, marriages, deaths – those are rites of passage,” continued Thomas. “[‘Call the Midwife’] touches on truths of existence – what is love, what do we give each other, what do we want from life and from each other.”