I’ve always loved “The Golden Girls,” even when I was a young toddler. According to my mom, any time she turned the show on and I heard the intro song, I’d perk up immediately, smiling and dancing in my seat. Besides the welcoming music, this iconic show features hilarious, loveable characters. What’s not to love? (And am I the only one who secretly thinks Rose’s, um, ignorance, is hilarious? And don’t get me started on how much I live for Sophia’s sassiness.)
While “The Golden Girls” is a classic comedy show, it also teaches important and timeless life lessons we need to talk about still today, over 35 years later. Below are four beautiful and unforgettable examples.
When doctors dismiss your pain, advocate for yourself
“The Golden Girls” featured a couple of episodes in which Dorothy stands up for herself at the doctor’s office. When her doctor blames her tiredness on her age, she speaks up, saying the problem is larger than that. And she’s right 一 she was dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome. Had Dorothy not continued to speak up and advocate for herself, she wouldn’t have been able to get the treatment she needed.
Unfortunately, it’s a real phenomenon that doctors often dismiss women specifically in their offices. This is partially because medical research usually centers on men’s experiences and health problems, which can differ from women’s. As a result, doctors lack crucial knowledge, and end up misdiagnosing or not believing women who seek their help.
Other demographic groups also receive disproportionate, inadequate health care. Black people, for example, get lesser care compared to white people, and they have higher mortality rates. One reason for this is providers are less likely to give them effective treatments, if any treatment at all.
Additionally, doctors often ignore people in larger bodies by focusing so much on the patient’s weight that they don’t give the actual issue the time of day it needs. This causes the well-being of those sick and hurt individuals to get worse, which is undoubtedly dangerous.
Standing up to the doctor in those situations is hard. They’re the experts who attended school and trainings for over 10 years. We’re supposed to trust them, but they aren’t always 100 percent right; just like everyone else, they make mistakes sometimes.
Take suicidal thoughts seriously and with compassion
There was a Golden Girls episode where Sophia’s friend Martha contemplates suicide, that demonstrates one of the most important steps we can take 一 other than encouraging professional support 一 is reminding the person we’re there for them and love them.
Suicide is a leading cause of death. According to past research, 4.8 percent of adults have considered suicide at some point in their lives. Statistics like these are terrifying, especially when you realize these numbers represent actual people like you, me, and our loved ones.
Understanding how to respond to a friend’s suicidal ideation is, to understate it, difficult and anxiety-provoking. We may not always know what to say or we may fear saying the wrong thing. We may feel powerless or think we need a deep, informational response to be helpful.
“You wanted me to be here for your death. How about letting me be here for your life?” Sophia says to Martha. Martha then realizes what she needs is a friend’s support 一 what Sophia is offering.
While suicide and mental illness can be more complicated than that, the message is about the same: Tell people you love them and are there for them, and stay true to that in your actions.
Respect all people and all kinds of love
There was an episode when Blanche shares her unhappiness about her brother wanting to marry a man. Sophia then asks her why she married her husband. Blanche replies by saying she loved him, wanted to commit to him, and wanted everyone to know. Sophia responds beautifully, saying, “That’s what Doug and Clayton want too. Everyone wants someone to grow old with, and shouldn’t everyone get that chance?”
In another scene, Sophia is talking to Dorothy. She says that if her son was gay, she wouldn’t love him any less; in fact, she’d wish him the all the happiness.
What our world needs is more acceptance. More compassion. More realizations about love being love, regardless of gender.
What our world doesn’t need, however, is excusing these acts of hate on someone’s age. “The Golden Girls” illustrates how age doesn’t excuse homophobia several times throughout the show.
Having fun doesn’t have an age attached to it
Some of the most joyful scenes in “The Golden Girls” are the ones where the women have fun and try to relive their youth. Rose and Blanche tap dance together. Dorothy acts like a turkey for a play. All the women go on a game show. “The Golden Girls” presents many ways you can keep life exciting regardless of your age, and it’s so nice to see.
Having youthful fun isn’t only for young people!
While “The Golden Girls” has unfortunately come to a close, the lessons it teaches live on and are relevant still today. I’m thankful for the laughs it gave me and the love it consistently portrays.