What is it about television the entertains us? Is it the ability to just veg out and watch something, to live vicariously through our favorite characters, or watching something that inspires us?
The lack of positive female role models on television has been heavily discussed and studied, but has it always been this way? I’d argue that it wasn’t. I remember growing up watching TV shows that made me think women are AWESOME and they can be strong, fierce, warriors. Now, I am saddened by the portrayal of women characters
Growing up I remember watching shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Xena Warrior Princess, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Charmed, and Alias. All of these shows have strong female leads. They are smart, creative, and strong, and I wanted to BE them.
Today we have shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, The Bachelorette, and Desperate Housewives. The women in these shows are portrayed to be unintelligent, desperate, and like they are nothing without men. It’s disheartening the message that this sends to the women who watch these shows.
Even shows like Jessica Jones which are supposed to empower women show them as alcoholic sex addicts. They also don’t seem to make as much money as their male counterpart shows did. Supergirl, for example, was a huge flop.
Why have we, as a society, decided it’s more entertaining to watch people be desperate and stupid? Is it easier? Does it make more money? Was it too much for the patriarchy to support these strong-willed women? Will there ever be a show with a strong female lead that has the popularity of those from the past? It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds.
Who do you think of as a strong female lead for a television show?
Why do you think there is less interest in strong women being portrayed in lead roles?