Lindsay and the Feminism of “You’re The Worst”

“You’re the Worst” is in its last season on FX. On one level, the show is about four friends who are terrible people. As the show unfolds, however, it goes from an over-the-top depiction of their awfulness and into the deep complexities of why people behave as they do and the relationships that sustain them. Ultimately it’s a ridiculous, beautiful, hilarious and sad show and I’m sorry to see it go. And while each character could have their own post, I’m here to talk about Lindsay, played by Kether Donohue.



Lindsay, like all of the characters on “You’re the Worst,” is a wreck. She’s married when the show opens to a man she barely cares for, she’s selfish as hell, and usually comes across as remarkably unintelligent. She’s got one sister, Becca, who is also a disaster. As the show unfolds viewers learn about their upbringing; their mom was an actress who largely left them to raise themselves and jerked them from boyfriend to boyfriend. Lindsay’s had a series of jobs, none of which she particularly likes or understands because of her short attention span and unwillingness to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

Across the years, however, I’ve come to adore Lindsay and how the character works on the show.

She takes no shit from anyone.

She’s become increasingly better over time for her best friend, Gretchen; sometimes they’re still self-destructive together, but Lindsay often has pithy wisdom that cuts through Gretchen’s bullshit and the fog of her depression (the two things are sometimes but not always related).

Lindsay carries herself with great confidence, even when the situation does not warrant such boundless self-optimism. She’s a model unto others of caring less about what others think.

She knows she’s sexy as hell and has never considered apologizing for it. She’s often in low-cut tops and has glorious underthings.

She does what she wants in terms of her own sexuality. She wants a man, she gets one.



What’s especially a big deal about the last two here is that Lindsay’s a curvy lady and it makes no difference at all in how she is in the world. After watching the most recent episode I realized never once in five years has the show mentioned her weight.

There’s no diet storyline, no “I need to fit in this dress” motif, none of the usual tropes you get with voluptuous women on tv, particularly voluptuous women surrounded by thinner women, or hell, just shows with women at all! The writers seem to have made an active choice that Lindsay’s size is a non-thing; even while brawling with Becca or as she plumbs the depths of the problems with her mom, it doesn’t come up. This is a tremendous departure from damn near every show on tv. It’s glorious and liberating.

While “You’re the Worst” may not be the most obviously feminist show on TV, the choices the writers, costumers, and Kether Donohue have made in scripting, dressing and playing Lindsay make it one of the most strongly feminist shows. The radicalness of their choices can be seen just by doing a google image search for images of Lindsay from the show or for Donohue–the top options are predictably body-focused. But Lindsay, regardless of her faults, gives us a future in which such bullshit doesn’t matter. Let’s all give fewer fucks.



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