Friday, March 18, 2016

About That Amazing Marcia Clark Episode
The People v. O.J. Simpson Episode 6

Photo Credit: FX Nework



By Jenee Darden

Somebody give Sarah Paulson her Emmy now!  The "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" episode moved me. This is my favorite episode so far.

Marcia Clark was going through it. Not everything in the show is accurate, but it gives some insight into the madness my father and Marcia Clark survived during those 8+ months. While my father dealt with racism and community backlash, Marcia battled sexism. Race still dwarfs sexism when people discuss the trial. But, sexism was a major issue too.

I first met Marcia Clark when she and my father took a road trip up to the Bay Area. My mom, Marcia and I talked about how ridiculous of the media to put her clothes and hairstyle on trial. I don’t recall fashion experts criticizing Cochran for his bald spot or suggesting Shapiro do better in his tie selection. This all because Marcia Clark is a woman.

If Marcia Clark was Marcus Clark, hair and attire wouldn’t be an issue. Some people told me back then that Marcia came off mean to them. I responded that she’s a nice woman. Which is true. Now that I’m older, I would’ve responded that she’s a prosecutor in a murder trial, not a Miss America contestant. She should be tough. That’s part of her job. Marcia Clark was nice, but she made it clear to me that she was not feeling the sexist bullshit. Of course the ordeal hurt her, but she still stood strong in the storm.

And in that storm was being a single parent of two small children, getting childcare, going through a divorce with her second husband, a childrens’ custody battle, ex-husbands drama, people critiquing her appearance AND her legal skills, rumors, having to wear a disguise when going out, hungry paparazzi and sexualization. I'm sure more could be added to this list. 

The mother of her first ex-husband sold topless photos from their beach vacation in 1979 to the tabloids. Which influenced some people to take her less seriously. But our society doesn’t question professional men who go to topless bars after work. Oh those oppressive, sexist double-standards.

You remember that scene where she’s buying tampons? Then the male store clerk says something like, “Oooh they’re going to get it in court tomorrow.” I don’t know if that’s true, but ladies can you imagine?! I would've needed a lot of therapy, acupuncture, wine and prayer if I were in her shoes.

Marcia Clark was a guest on Ellen recently. Notice her expression when Ellen reads Tweets from people who say she was treated unfairly. I wonder if people now having a better understanding of her challenges gives her some added peace. With more people talking about feminism, maybe this new understanding of Clark will have a positive impact in her professional life as well. 

People tell me that they would break if they shared my experience. I look at my father and Marcia Clark and I can't believe they survived all of that craziness. It's a huge testament to their strength. 


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, I totally missed her on Ellen. You know, it is interesting how the dynamic changed after this trials. I remember in law school professors bringing up how the press attacked her hair, wardrobe, shoes, etc. And talked about how we had to be careful how we dressed and looked as a trial lawyer.
    I just wanted to give her a hug after seeing that episode!

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    1. Wow your law school professors used Marcia Clark's attire as an example of what not to do?! Did the professors mention sexism as it related to criticism of Marcia's attire?

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  2. I'm really enjoying your take on the series. I know your father doesn't think much of it but please tell him that it's causing some black folks like myself to really reconsider the unkind thoughts we had of him and our whole feeling about the trial in general. Many of us didn't necessarily think OJ was innocent but we still didn't like Marcia and Chris. That feeling was unwarranted and unfair.

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  3. Thank you very much. I'm not concerned if people thought O.J. was guilty or not. I'm glad more people see that the key players in the case and their famikies were affected. I have told my dad that people like you have contacted me with similar feelings so thank you.

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  4. I love hearing your insight, Jenee. You have such a unique perspective coming from the daughter of one of the prosecutors. I was curious if you've reached out to Marcia Clark or heard from her at all?

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    1. Thanks Sandra. I'm glad you're enjoying my blog. I left a message on Marcia Clark's Facebook page after I saw her on The View. She kindly responded. I haven't seen her since the trial. I'm glad people are getting a better idea of how she was treated.

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    2. Thanks for your response. I just asked because I suspect she would love your blog and especially your analysis about this particular episode about her.

      I didn't think I would be enjoying this series so far, but the acting is top notch and it's nice knowing that they "get the big stuff right".

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