‘Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman’ Taught Me I Was A Feminist
And Sully taught me I was a straight woman.
There are certain moments in life that change us forever. Mine was when I first started watching “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” For those of you that didn’t have the privilege of seeing it back in the 90s, it’s now streaming on Amazon Prime. I’ll give you my password if you need it, gurl.
“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was what I can only describe as a Sexy Western that aired for six all-too-short seasons.
I grew up in a small town in the heart of Nebraska. There was an abundance of prairies and rivers.
Diversity? Not so much.
Feminism? I only heard that word from my senior year English teacher.
Sex education? An abstinence-only slideshow starring Clifford the Big Red Dog.
My surroundings gave me a very narrow worldview that would only be widened by pop culture. None more than “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” The series showed me a strong woman who often faced adversity — and did it with gumption.
“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” was set in a time when it was daring and forward thinking for a woman to follow her passions and reach her full potential. That didn’t narrow it down for you? Let’s try again. Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman was set in Colorado in the 1860s. It begins when Michaela Quinn’s father, who was also a doctor, passes away. Her father was her true champion, he helped her get into medical school, and then hired her as a partner at his practice in Boston. When he passes away, the clients leave and Michaela is forced to close his practice. There is no work for her in a big city like Boston. So she answers an ad for a doctor in a small town of Colorado — the Wild Wild (Mid)West.
I watched as the town complained about having a woman doctor. Hardly anyone would go to her for anything medical. That was until Dr. Quinn let the other town’s doctor-dentist-barber Jake Slicker pull out one of her perfectly good teeth.
That little tooth changed everything. Soon she was helping the whole town, but not just as a doctor. She was fighting for the rights and lives of immigrants, adopting three children, trying to smooth relations between the Native Americans and town folk and arguing about gun safety. One time she even dressed as a man to win a horse race. Obviously the horse race episode is the biggest gift television has ever given us.
My feminist heart wasn’t the only thing “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” set ablaze. It also set my loins on fire. Through SULLY. Sully lived with the Native Americans, always had a wolf by his side and found a reason to throw his tomahawk at least once in every episode.
Every time he threw that tomahawk it hit me square in the heart. Sully was my sexual awakening. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to hear another opinion from you ever again.
Each week I watched Dr. Quinn and Sully go on adventures and fight the good fight. It wasn’t long before I was in love with the whole cast — even Brian who was a little annoying.
I’m so grateful for that sexy Western. It taught me more than any corny after-school special could. I always think of the 90s as a time that, no matter what age you were, you were looking for yourself.
I found myself under the Colorado sky.