Today marks the first day "Live! With Kelly" aired after Michael Strahan left his position as co-host. As the media storm that ensued over the past few weeks settles down, there are important lessons we can't ignore when it comes to women in the workplace and how they are portrayed in the media.
Here are three things we can learn from Kelly Ripa that no one is talking about:
1. When women have an opinion or a feeling, they are often portrayed as "crazy."
This needs to change. Just check out the articles and headlines about Ripa. It's like the media just portrayed Ripa as a diva throwing a tantrum. Ripa appeared to have been blindsided by the major news of her co-host leaving.
Should she have easily taken the abrupt news while sitting pretty with a smile? This isn't Pleasantville; it's 2016, and we're talking about "Live! With Kelly and Michael." It's a show in which it's assumed they each have 50 percent of the responsibility for.
Would the headlines and articles have been described differently if they were talking about a man? Why was the bright, stunning and witty Ripa that we know and love made out to be something completely the opposite? Is it because when a woman doesn't act the way society wants or thinks she should, she is automatically considered dramatic or "crazy?"
As Ripa expressed, she didn't just not show up for work. She called out, which is something anyone would have done, given the circumstances. We need to make sure a culture of harassment doesn't persist when it comes to women expressing their opinions, values and feelings.
2. Women can rock it on their own.
What everyone is forgetting is that Ripa built this house. Ripa spent a decade co-hosting with Regis Philbin and then 10 months auditioning co-hosts until Strahan joined the show in 2012. Ripa introduced him.
People magazine reported, “the number of under-35 female viewers has almost doubled […] viewership among women 18 to 34 was up by 80 percent” once Ripa joined the show back in 2001.
Ripa is a powerhouse, and she reminds women we all have the ability to be powerhouses whether we're alone or in the company of others. After reading mentions of the show's logo, handles and general look being changed, I couldn't help but think, "Damn straight."
With this whole situation, I can't help but think of Cristina Yang's line in "Grey's Anatomy":
He's very dreamy but he's not the sun. You are.
Strahan is awesome, but Ripa doesn't need him. She can handle everything on her own.
3. Women need to feel comfortable standing up for themselves in the workplace.
During Ripa's return to the show, she mentioned the need for respect and communication in the workplace. After being at ABC for 26 years and part of the show much longer than Strahan, it blows my mind that conversations were going on without her regarding the future of the show. It's even more confusing that she had to publicly rationalize her response.
With that being said, many women often feel like they cannot stand up for themselves after being disrespected in the workplace. The way the media attacked Ripa proves this point.
Ripa was blamed and shamed for not going with the flow. Fortunately, Ripa had the chance to do something many women do not: utilize a platform to clarify herself and set the record straight.
However, the reality is, each day, women aren't able to use their voices when they feel they're not being treated fairly in the workplace. We can all learn from Ripa's actions and words as she chose to stand up for herself in the midst of scrutiny and tribulation. She took time when she needed it, and she expressed herself in a way she saw fit.
Once we absorb the above, we can all hopefully get back to allowing Kelly to do what she's been doing best: owning daytime television simply by being herself.