Female leads still have long way to go

Regan Munstedt, Opinion Editor

    Strong and confident female leads have been evident in television for years, and superhero movies have started to catch on, but still have a long way to go so that women have the representation they deserve.


    Instead of wishing to be saved by the male superheroes that grace the big screen, young girls and women can now aspire to be their own personal heroes. Strong, smart heroes, such as Black Widow and Wonder Woman, have altered the mindsets of young women, and made it okay to be more than just another pretty face.


    Black Widow, most popularly known now from her appearance in the Avengers series, has proven her dominance by being able to fight her enemies and by making calls based on what she thinks is right, rather than what people tell her to do. Unlike many other women portrayed in superhero movies, she is willing to sacrifice herself rather than making it an ultimate goal to be saved by the brawn of male superheroes.


    Although this is a step forward, movies are just now catching up to the stereotype-breaking powerhouse females that television is used to. Strong, successful and confident women are nothing new to shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.


     The writer and creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Off the Map, Shonda Rhimes, has created a plethora of strong female characters including Meredith Grey, Miranda Bailey, Arizona Robbins, April Kepner and Lily Brenner. However, her strongest and most impactful character is Cristina Yang.


    Yang, a cardiothoracic surgeon, is a superhero of reality, saving lives with her extensive knowledge of surgery and medicine. But what truly makes her a role model for women is that she redefines gender roles by her hesitation to have kids and unwillingness to put her career aside for love. This shows women everywhere that it is okay to prioritize success in their career field over men and the idea of starting a family.


    Another female lead who has been fighting crime is Sergeant Olivia Benson from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In every episode, Benson puts her victims before herself, a kind of sympathy that no man on the show possess. But while some people find that sexist, it is what makes her more powerful than any of her male partners or superiors.

    While strong women are evident in television shows geared towards adults, it should start at a younger age. Disney channel has begun starring female leads such as Zendaya in K.C. Undercover. In this show, K.C., played by actress Zendaya, is the government’s newest secret agent. Zendaya’s strong influence has shown young girls the importance of education, and that they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it.