Grandmother, mother, daughter, sister, aunt: what does the future hold for the women of the world? In 1991 Katha Pollitt had that same question. In an article in The New York Times Pollitt expressed her concerns regarding female role models in the media for the younger generation. “Contemporary shows are either essentially all-male, like Garfield, or organized on what I call the Smurfette principle: a group of male buddies will be accented by a lone female, stereotypically defined” (as cited in Green & Lindsky, 2012, p. 546) Katha Pollitt argues that the television shows children are watching are predominantly male leads, thus leaving girls without suitable role models. But why does a role model for a girl have to be a woman? Over the 25 years since the article was published, gender equality has changed a great deal. But is it enough to make a difference? Pollitt states that boys are left with the mentality that “girls just don’t matter much” (546). The ‘girls’ absolutely matter and society has taken notice. By addressing the Smurfette principle, networks and producers have embraced women in media from preschool television to major motion pictures.
In a world where gender equality is one of the most controversial topics, one would think strides are being made to expand opportunities for both genders. Decades ago Katha Pollitt realized there were not enough women is the television industry and preschool aged children were the ones being effected the most. From Pollitt’s article the Smurfette principle was developed and spread worldwide. This principle has helped lead the way for women in the media, but has it been enough? In her dissertation about how female characters are represented in Hollywood, Reema Dutt (2013) points out ...
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...ed around the world for years since the article was written. Women all over the world are taking a stand for their rights and they are making changes for their own futures. They are ensuring that kids have suitable role models. Has enough progress been made to make a difference for little girls around the world? Do television shows and movies portray women in the most accurate ways? In an article for Forbes magazine, Kathy Caprino interviewed Dana Cook and other founders of The Empowerment Project. Cook asserted, "If (women) can recognize all of the passion and the power is already inside of us, embrace our vulnerability, and show up as ourselves, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to" and this changed views of women around the world. She could not be more accurate, it is up to the woman to see the best in themselves before they can make changes around them.
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