The Special Woman: Depiction of the New Self-Actualization of Women

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Heather MelloDuchaney MWF 8:30
Paper #2
Due 3/8/13

The "Special" Woman: Law and Order SVU and its Depiction of the New Self-Actualization of Women

Women have been on the prowl for their path to success for a handful of decades since the "second wave" feminist movement began in the 1960's. While some continue to lead submissive and traditional lives due to circumstance, the progression of female television characters did not cease. They continued to portray modern-day women, like Mariska Hargitay's character Detective Olivia Benson of Law and Order: SVU, as capable and willing to achieve self-actualization through less traditional avenues.

Abraham Maslow was one of the forces behind the newly-evolving school of humanistic psychology. As the product of a lonely childhood, he felt as though he had much time to introspect on what the necessities of a human are. Here, is where he created the pyramidal "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs". At the foundational level was physiological needs; essentially meaning food, water, shelter, and sleep. Ascending to the second level was security needs, which in basic senses, is the need for safety in many aspects including job safety, family stability, and secure financial means. Immediately above are social needs. Social needs mainly entail the need for "love and belonging" in different environments ranging from the workplace, to family, to romantic relationships. Esteem needs follow; which include the desire to reflect back on personal achievements and establish personal value. The final step in the pyramid is self-actualizing needs. This is vital in a person's complete image of herself/himself. A self-actualied person is rarely worried by other opinions and remains confident in herself/himself to make correct choices and in their ability to attain maximum personal growth. Maslow views this as the "last stop" of development interiorly (Wade, Tavris) (Cherry). Self-actualization plays an imperative role in the women...
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