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‘Dietland’: We Need to Talk About How Two-Faced Kitty Montgomery Is

Kitty Montgomery is the image of a woman with power: she has an assistant following her ever order, she rocks power heels like there’s nothing to it, and she completely commands a room full of executives.

At its core, Dietland is a show that preaches body acceptance and women’s empowerment, and no matter how controversial, superficial and selfish many of Kitty’s appearances on screen may be, there are moments were she embodies this central message. Whether she’s speaking up and taking command of her magazine, or finally coming to recognize the influence that she has on the young women, Kitty can be a role model for any woman who wants to achieve (and deserves to achieve) a powerful role in society—but don’t take her position as a role model too seriously.

Under the facade of “girl power” that she creates with her magazine and her (rare) inspirational quips, she’s constantly tearing down the women around her. She advocates that women take control in their lives, achieve the greatness that they’re meant for, and feel good about their bodies, but she only wants this for a very small number of women. A very specific group of women that she deems worthy, i.e. women who look like her.

Kitty constantly talks about overcoming the challenge of working under powerful men at Austen Media. She commends herself for finally standing up to them, forcing them to publish the Jennifer Manifesto and “finding her voice,” but at the same time she doesn’t allow Plum to find her voice.

Kitty complains of the hard work and sacrifice that it took to get her to where she is today. In the process of firing Plum, she complains about everything she went through to gain the power she deserved. “The assholes I had to flatter, and humor and cater to. While the whole goddamn time I was smarter, better at the job. But I smiled and nodded and took lots of shit” she says.

Interesting, because it seems Plum is going through the exact same thing: Plum is forced to flatter Kitty day in and day out, she writes under Kitty’s name rather than her own, and she takes tons of shit from Kitty. She’s clearly better at being Kitty than Kitty herself, but of course, Kitty doesn’t see that. She only tears Plum down further by calling her “nothing” and something along the lines of a sewer-dweller. Wow.

Kitty is now supporting “Jennifer,” and sending that message out to her readers (seems good, right?). She tells Plum that she “supports the conversation” that the group has started, empowering young girls to feel inspired to stand up for themselves. Kitty then asks Plum to write a story (but as her, of course) to “let the girls know that I’ve got their backs, now more than ever.” But she surely doesn’t have Plum’s back, and she didn’t have the backs of all her readers before.

Only one episode ago she was shaming her own young readers for being too overweight. Does “at first I didn’t want to encourage them to be fat. If you give them pretty clothes, where’s the incentive,” ring a bell?

Not to mention the fact that she only has Plum’s back when she sees that Plum is losing weight. “You’ve been making a real effort lately, I think you even look slimmer,” she says. “You keep killing it, and I see a bright future for you here, maybe even with an office.” Plum was worthless before this one exchange and is worthless again after. It’s only when Kitty feels confident about herself that she isn’t tearing down other women. The worst part—she doesn’t even realize what she’s doing is wrong.

In a show that doesn’t shy away from controversy, Kitty is the epitome of controversial. She, unfortunately, represents a lot of women in society today—only championing other women when it benefits her. But her character only supports the central messages of Dietland, which is only when women work together and rise up against the dangerous beauty standards, misogyny and mistreatment, will change be made.

Makena is the Decor Section Editor, and former Style Section Editor and Editorial Intern at Her Campus. She is a senior at Marist College majoring in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Graphic Design. One day she hopes to put her writing skills to work at a magazine or women's publication.  Follow her on Instagram @makenagera and Twitter @makena_gera.