“But ma’am, without no man, there is no future,” says Kimberly Cunningham (Amber Tamblyn, “Drunk History”), the dead president’s daughter, as sleep-deprived women scurry to save leftover survivors after mass destruction.
But really, what would the world be like without men? Could the rest of humanity survive, naturally and successfully, on their own? Or would it bring the present lack of workplace diversity to the focal point? FX’s “Y: The Last Man” gives us insight into why women are needed in major career fields.
An adaptation of the comic book of the same name by Brian Vaughn, “Y: The Last Man” is as post-apocalyptic as it gets. There’s the already crumbling infrastructure, increased violence among the survivors, threats of famine and a fear of what happens when there are no answers for why people are dead. The series traverses a range of concerns, from biological warfare to limited diversity in workplaces.
This science-fiction drama takes place in a disaster-ridden New York City. Everything is pretty normal until an unknown force wipes out every single living thing that has a Y chromosome. Corpses of male-identified humans and animals litter the streets, baffling the female survivors who are left to reconstruct society.
Since the American government’s line of succession is entirely made up of men, Senator Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”) becomes the new president responsible for the grueling task of rebuilding America after this mass casualty. But when she sends Agent 355 (Ashley Romans, “NOS4A2”) to search for her daughter Hero (Olivia Thirlby, “The L Word: Generation Q”), the agent stumbles upon the president’s son Yorick (Ben Schnetzer, “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair”) and his male Capuchin monkey, the only two “men” left alive.
The series takes a deep dive into the gender gap and workplace inequality that may be considered controversial due to society’s view of women in certain occupations. In the show, there’s panic among the women, and at times they are shown wishing men were still around for survival-related reasons. When the threat of starvation arises, after Kimberly tells her there is no future without men, President Jennifer Brown, through gritted teeth, says, “I hear you, but we’re just trying to survive the present.”
In one scene, President Jennifer pleads with an experienced nuclear engineer to get a nuclear power plant back up and running because she’s the only one alive who knows how to do it. Since the men who worked in that field are no longer around, there aren’t many people left to help solve this problem. It is a snowball effect that illustrates an unbalanced workforce.
The objective of the show is to argue that the lack of women in the workplace is harmful to society as a whole. There is no room for women to learn the intricacies of certain fields, so when everything is left to them, they are unable to solve issues because they’ve simply never been given the chance to learn. It’s not because women lack intelligence, but because they’ve been blocked from a variety of fields.
Although there’s significantly more diversity in the workforce than there was just decades ago, true equality remains far away. This series forces viewers to take a step back and read between the lines of gender inequality. It’s a start.
Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.