After years of hard work, dedication and unforgettable performances, women will, no doubt, continue to make a mark—a big one—on the big screen.
Compared to their helpless and dependent 1950 media counterparts, women are now portrayed as a force to be reckoned with. In fact, characters such as Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a fiercely independent revolutionary from the “Hunger Games” franchise, send the message that men are unnecessary for a woman’s well-being. Although women in real life still face adversity in areas such as wages, the evolution of female roles in media reflect their ongoing progress on a wider scale—indeed, fewer and fewer women are being reduced to the ornamental positions they held in the past. Through the film industry, they are contributing to a cultural revolution by advancing their roles both on and off the set with every new show and movie.
A catalyst for the increased awareness of this phenomenon, the return of comic book heroine “Wonder Woman” has raised speculation about gender roles in the media. In “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” fans of the Amazonian princess can watch her official return. Following her comeback, Wonder Woman’s origin story will undergo a reboot in her own title movie, making it the first major film centered on a female superhero since 1974.
Why was there such a long period between these movies? The answer is simple: until recent years, women have been restricted by societal expectations. Girls played with dolls and boys, action figures—rarely the reverse. No doubt, the production of this long-awaited movie symbolizes the opening of new doors to women today. Such a film teaches young girls that they, too, can be superheroes; they, too, can tackle the social problems of their day.
Society is welcoming a new generation of empowered females open-armed. For instance, using brains over superhuman brawn, Emma Watson inspired girls everywhere through her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series. A studious and enthusiastic student, Hermione often outperforms both boys and girls her age and uses her expansive knowledge to save her friends in deadly situations. From the young age of 11, Watson has been giving girls the confidence they need to have success if they simply put their minds to the task at hand. All of the traditional “only men can save the princess” notions are thrown out the window. 14 years later, Watson is still advancing gender equality through the United Nations’ “HeForShe” campaign.
Straying from the film industry, a regard for values in modern pop culture is crucial when considering the evolving roles of women in media at large. One of the most successful empires of reality television, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” provides insight into the rising power of the matriarchal society. Throughout the show, one of the most consistent themes is female leadership. Despite their own flaws, the Kardashian sisters frequently have to solve the men’s problems, whether it be Scott’s addiction issues or Rob’s depression. Yes, it is true that these episodes are probably scripted. However, the underlying message that girls can run the program still has authenticity.
If there’s one lesson that can be learned, it’s that there are no boundaries to the progress women are making. These shows and movies teach us that women will constantly question and redefine their positions in the world—society just has to change with them.