How to negotiate in the workplace, as Bette Porter said of “The L Word: Generation Q”

There are three types of L word fans: people who identify with Bette Porter, people who want to be with Bette Porter, or people who are a bit of … both.

Jennifer Beals has been the iconic powerful lesbian character since the series premiered in early 2004, and today she serves as the follow-up executive producer for Showtime. The L word: generation Q. Over the past 17+ years, Beals has seen Bette go through several heartaches, breakups, and make-ups. She took Bette through the biggest changes of her life: losing a parent, becoming a parent, getting married and divorced for the love of her life, losing her sister, becoming mayor and raising a teenager. But one of Bette’s most enduring (and endearing) coherences? She can put a man back in her place faster than virtually any other character on screen.

it helps that The word I writers provide the public with men worthy of every comeback Bette can throw. Every day that patriarchy produces more vitriol than usual, Google search for “scream Bette Porter” or “curse Bette Porter” and you will find an appropriate answer.


The L word: Gen QThe second season of, which debuted on August 8, picks up more classics from the first. The first episode shows Bette negotiating her contract with the racist and sexist owner of a high-powered art gallery. Bette, who previously left the art world to run for mayor of Los Angeles in season 1 of Gen Q, is now back where it started: trying to make an exclusive and white industry less exclusive and less white.

This episode one negotiation scene between Bette and her new boss, Isaac Zakarian (Griffin Dunn) gives us a classic of Bette versus the patriarchal (“fucking asshole”) line. But it also speaks of something deeper: More than two million women left the U.S. workforce during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Pew Research Center April 2021 Report, and those who remain are faced with how to negotiate their worth, needs and safety in the wake of the pandemic. Even Bette, at the top of her estate, is ready to hear ‘no’ when she asks what she wants. She enters the situation with very specific requests for the artists she wants to represent but seems ready to be refused. Additionally, she is well aware that Zakarian has a habit of not giving opportunities to people who are unlike her. And, as we learn, she has reason to be skeptical: Zakarian only wants “marginalized artists” because he thinks they are in fashion.

And of course, Bette – who says in episode one that she wants a girlfriend with a “career” – isn’t always the model career woman. (Becoming intimate with your personal assistant, like Bette did in Season 4 of the original series, doesn’t necessarily top the “Professionalism 101” list.) But, despite her flaws, she does stick with it. Leslie Knope and Olivia Pope as characters whose willingness to fight for what they need in the workplace makes them one of television’s biggest icons.

Beals, who admits collecting some advice from Bette over the years, has been working since he was a teenager. At 19, while a student at Yale, she shot to stardom with the 1983s Flash dance. Since then, she has learned to defend herself on film sets, in the writers’ rooms and in the producer’s chair. With that in mind, welcome to a new SHE segment: “Porter Power Hour”. Below is Bette’s advice – in Beals’ words – on how to be a badass in the boardroom and an ally to those who don’t have access to it.

Do your research and know your worth.

“It’s not just about defending [for yourself]”Says Beals.” Advocacy has to come from a place of honesty and research and knowing your worth, right? So the first part is kind of looking at where you are in your place. You can’t complain about where you are and not do anything about it. That’s the first thing. If you don’t like your situation at work and you’ve done everything right. your power to improve your situation, then you have to move on. You have to have the courage to move on first, which is a bit scary for some people.


“[Ask], ‘Where am I going to find the environment, or create the environment for myself where I will be valued and can advance my own intentions of what I want to see in the world?’ The dream is big, and it must include a lot of people.

Learn from your weaknesses. Work on them.

“It’s probably a good idea to go to someone you admire and trust and ask them to give you an assessment, and that’s part of your research when you go to stand up for yourself. “These are what I think are my weaknesses and strengths. Can you give me your opinion on what you see [are] my weaknesses and my strengths? ‘

“Because it’s not just about the Power Woman and the starfish pose and the… you know what I’m talking about?” Hands on hips, hands out?

bette porter power position jennifer beals

Show time

“This [pose] increases your confidence and that is great, but if you have the confidence without the means and knowledge to do your job then you will burn out. If someone gives you that feedback, “Here’s what I think you could work on,” be open about it. Take the time to improve in these areas before asking for this raise. “

Don’t take too much.

“Really make sure you have invaluable value for this business or workspace, and that can sometimes mean you don’t take all the jobs. You make sure you have a limit, because if you keep taking every job, and you don’t really have time to do them all well, then it won’t bode well for you when you ask for a raise. . “

To negotiate. To negotiate. To negotiate.

bette porter jennifer beals

Jennifer Beals, as Bette Porter, negotiates her new high-powered art work with boss Isaac Zakarian (Griffin Dunne) in episode 201 of Generation Q.


“Don’t be afraid to negotiate, but do your research before you go to negotiate.”

Do like Beals says, not like Bette.

“This is [coming from] Jennifer, not Bette. Bette would never say that. The universe will give you more energy if you include more people. This is Jennifer’s advice. From there, you become curious about other places where you could be liked and where you have room to grow, even if you have to take a pay cut.

“But if you find a place where you can grow up, where you are valued or to create the place where you can grow up, where you are valued, then all kinds of things can happen. It requires self-knowledge, honest self-knowledge.

bette wear gen q season 2


“I think [research is] something that Bette could perhaps have done a little better this first negotiation [in season 2 of Gen Q]. She thinks she’s asking so much, saying “I want to do this, this, this”. But if she had been really good at negotiating, she would have asked a rival gallery to engage with them, so there would have been a bidding war.

“In a more perfect world, she would have gotten Gallery B to drop their offer so that she could go to Zakarian and say, ‘This is what I want.’ Benefit. You are not entitled to the raise just because you are confident. You are entitled to the increase because you are valuable.

Defend for yourself and others outside of the workplace too.

Before concluding Porter Power Hour, it’s important to note that Beals believes that if Bette had won her 2020 mayoral race, she would have prioritized systems to support LA mothers who were working to be “the teacher, the mother. , the UN negotiator, the expert tutor, or an IT expert ” and the home worker during the pandemic. “The first thing, yes, is childcare and paid vacation,” she adds.

No one other pulling their Bette Porter for president T-shirt after reading that?

“There are different ways of doing politics,” says Beals. “There are different ways to change culture, to change policy. To get the meta, The word I takes us from a sort of heterocentric focus and gaze to an LGBTQ-centric world. This in itself is political in many ways. As part of her own ongoing activism, Beals is currently raffling off the photos she took on the Gen Q as part of a fundraiser for the LGBTQ + GLSEN youth organization.

“I think Bette knows that in working in the art world, especially in our time, it’s time to look away from a world of white privilege to look at the African-American experience,” Beals says. . “By doing this, you can create change.”

In the years that followed The word I Created for the first time, Bette went from Bette Porter, champion of “Provocations” – an extremely controversial art exhibition depicting naked men in slavery – to Bette Porter, ardent advocate of BIPOC artists who never obtained their had neither been allowed to show black joy. instead of trauma. Now that she and these powerful combinations are back in the world’s most prestigious galleries, nothing can stop Bette’s patented “Big Top Energy”.

Now go ahead and tap into some of your own. But maybe leave the swearing and screaming at home.

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