Both men and women were in the study, but it was really the guys who were affected by seeing different kinds of women. The men were asked questions like, “A woman should not expect to go to exactly the same places or to have quite the same freedom of action of a man,” and, “The intellectual leadership of a community should be largely in the hands of men.” When they saw negative images of women, guys were more likely to agree with these very sexist statements, but when they saw positive images of women they were more likely to reconsider or disagree with these statements.
Women, of course, no matter what they saw knew these sexist ideals are bull.
The article says, “In general, men responded more positively to shows with powerful women. The researchers suggest this may be because ‘depictions of women reawaken negative stereotypes that some men hold about women, whereas positive depictions challenge these stereotypes.'” Makes sense. If everyone is saying girls are pathetic, stupid, and helpless and guys never see them act differently why should they believe girls are actually strong, intelligent, and independent?
So what does this have to do with First Lady Michelle Obama? Well, she encompasses some majorly good qualities of women. If you’ve been following politics at all there are some crazy things happening with women’s rights. States are banning abortions, denying birth control unless you plan on using it for something other than birth control (yes, this is actually true), trying to shut down Planned Parenthood and spreading incorrect information about what will happen if you get an abortion. All of these debates have purposefully excluded women from the conversation. Yep, a bunch of men talking about what women should do with their bodies.
Though we can’t do much to change these politicians’ minds, maybe Michelle Obama (and Buffy) can do something to change the minds of the guys watching. No matter what you believe in, I think we can all agree that women have the right to make their own decisions and should have a say in the decisions made about their bodies.
We can only hope that Michelle Obama can help change the male perception of what it means to be a women. She is more than just the President’s wife. She went to Princeton and Harvard Law School, she was assistant to the Mayor of Chicago, served as Dean at the University of Chicago and now leads the White House’s initiative to end childhood obesity. It’s strong women like her that challenge negative female stereotypes and it’s strong girls like YOU that will finally put those tired, sexist notions to rest.
Do you think strong girls on television can change guy’s minds? Let us know in the comments!