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"Insecure" season 3: how do women of color find job empowerment?

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Issa Rae’s fresh and incisive tv show Insecure is currently in its third (and much-anticipated) season.

For those who have yet to catch up, season three has seen Issa, our main character, finally embracing her post-breakup life, despite a few setbacks.

Something Insecure has always done splendidly is portray modern, relatable black women with all the emotional complexities that white or male characters are nearly always given without thought. Issa and Molly, her best friend, have highs and lows, not only romantically but in work, their friendships with other women, and within their families. Although Los Angeles is an integral character to the story, as a former Angeleno and current NYC-transplant, I am still able to find sisterhood with these characters.

Molly, for example, begins season three off at a new job, where she expects to feel totally comfortable yet stand out, since she is beginning work at a “black firm” but with plenty of experience working twice as hard to receive the same recognition as former white colleagues. But she finds just as many challenges (competition with male coworkers, and coldness from woman colleagues), telling her therapist she “deserves” to be on top. Many millennials in the workplace can relate to this, even if they resist admitting it out loud, but there are extra complications to take into consideration. Setbacks in white spaces become resentments in black spaces; her colleagues begin to slowly ostracize her for her expectations that the “black firm” would be the same as her “white firm”.

Issa has nearly the opposite problem this season: she is surrounded by white colleagues at a job where she is the token black hire; when she brings this up with the company, they decide to hire more token black employees. Disillusioned with her job, she quits on the spot despite the fact that she can barely afford to live on her own and has no savings.

This theme of career disempowerment is still in play, and I am curious to see how this continues to develop throughout the season. It would be interesting to see Issa take on a full time job that she can be passionate about, and for Molly to, as her therapist suggests, “Focus more on being helpful than on being the best”. (Black women are already the best, right?)

We are halfway through the season, and I cannot wait for the rest!


Celine Aenlle-Rocha is a writer from Miami and Los Angeles, residing in Harlem, New York City. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction Writing at Columbia University. Her writing addresses the intersectionality of race, womanhood, and other identities, seeking to redefine our history and address the future with open minds. Follow her on Instagram.

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