If Girls See It, They Will Believe It

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If they can see it they can be it!

When I was about 7 years old I told my mom “I want to be a fireman!” and to this she replied “You can do anything you set your mind to.” A few years later when I exclaimed “I want to be an aerospace engineer!” she replied “You can do anything you set your mind to.”  So I grew up believing just that – I can do and be anything.

While growing up I did hear “girls don’t do this…” or “that’s man’s work…” from family members or even strangers, I still felt confident in my ability to do anything.  And I was encouraged by women taking on roles that were once the domain of men – astronauts, prime ministers, doctors and CEOs.

So it dishearten’s me that popular culture hasn’t kept pace with my perception of what girls and women can do and achieve.  When it comes to film and television, not much has changed in 20 years – women and girls are still under-represented and often portrayed very differently from men.  Actress Geena Davis explains this phenomenon well:

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films – this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male.

There is hope however. This summer Pixar is set to release it’s first film featuring a female protagonist.

So, what’s a girl to do? How do we continue to change the status quo?

By Nisha, GGC Staff

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2 Responses to If Girls See It, They Will Believe It

  1. Hi Nisha,

    I advise you to keep blogging, and keep talking. Part of the problem is we don’t talk about it and when we do we are told to be quiet. Educate all to not just be entertained by our media, but to critique it and to draw their own conclusions. Personally, I’m trying to be the best darn role model I can for young girls. The med

    I would like to ad that Captain Kathryn Janeway in the Star Trek series was the first lead character on a television series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Janeway). There are glimmers of hope.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, people’s perceptions of gender roles still shock me. It’s not just the older crowd either. As an aspiring doctor, I’m still surpirsed when people try and talk me out of the sciences- or into nursing. As a Pathfinder leader, it does sadden me when they refuse to try more adventerous things, or say that science and math are for boys or that because I can cook well I should be a housewife. I try and show them that all higher education requires hardwork, and that if you enjoy math or science you should presure it. Also, just because a women chooses a male dominated field it does not mean that she needs to abandon the activites that see enjoys. Overall, women need to realise that they should be doing what they love, whatever that is.

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