Strong Women On TV Can Change Sexism


Michelle Obama is giving her speech at the Democratic National Convention today and we’re stoked because we know it has the potential to change people’s minds. A recent study discovered that seeing strong females on television made men less sexist compared to when they watched women behave submissively and weak. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer versus Ariel from the Little Mermaid (She gave up her voice for a dude!).

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!

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  • roselove445

    i really hate politicians but it makes me want to become one because how dare they talk about women and our needs and not have any women there i mean these guy are just complete idiots and stuff like this really makes me want to flee the contry after college and join the europeans.

  • Wendy

    This might be completely off topic but I have to defend Ariel . . . First of all she is not submissive, Prince Eric didnt demand her to give up her voice for him and second of all she gave it up for a new adventure and her TRUE love, wouldnt you fight and sacrifice for yours? he never treated bady and stayed true to her, the had a daughter together and lived happily FOREVER after!

    • LittleRedWolf

      While I know you’re right about him not demanding it (that was Ursula wanting her voice for herself), she gave up her voice for a guy SHE BARELY KNEW. She’d never talked to him, didn’t know a thing about him… that isn’t love, that’s a crush based on his looks. Sure, she eventually found out that he was a nice guy, but she didn’t know any of that when she made her choice. And it’s still symbolic, even if the guy himself didn’t want her to be mute.

  • Yvonne

    I don’t think strong women make guys lest sexist, lot’s of times, guys learn sexism from the house they grew up in. You won’t think this is true but in my school, (mosty women admin, women principal) everyone thinks that a guy should go to college and get a job and a life and a girls should get married after high school (or even before, they think that girls can get married at 12 years old) and have a lot of children (they think Birth Control is wrong) and spend her days cleaning and cooking. It’s so stupid and I’m glad i only have 1 more year left. but still

    • LittleRedWolf

      That is pretty bad. Sounds like your school is stuck in the 1950’s! Sorry to hear that… I agree, it’s totally dumb. Women these days should be encouraged to go to college, get an education and follow their dreams. If their dreams ARE to get married and have kids, that’s great, but they should never do it because they feel they have to.