The Future of Women Leaders
Mainstream media plays an important role in influencing gender norms in leadership positions. Many forms of media do this by placing women in the home or working under male leaders. In the film Miss Representation, all the ways media and advertising objectify women were discussed. Along with objectification, the film also established that if women are never portrayed as leaders in mainstream media, then women will never strive to fulfill those roles. Many different types of media demote women and suppress their right to leadership. In the Law and Order SVU series by Dick Wolfe, Officer Olivia Benson is a very successful woman in her department. However, her police sergeant is male, along with most of her other coworkers. Not only is she the minority gender working for a male, but she also is portrayed as someone who cannot hold relationships with men. Another good example of this same scheme is shown in “Grey’s Anatomy” by Shonda Rhimes. In this series, Christiania Yang is one of the most successful women in her field. Nevertheless, the chief of surgery is male. Christiania is also portrayed as having “relationship issues”, being coldhearted, and not caring about children or relationships. Although media can seem to portray “successful” women, there is always undermining factors. The young generation consuming this type of media can only come to the conclusion that as a woman, you can be successful but children, relationships, and marriage are out of the picture thereafter. Not only these two shows, but many others also typically give leadership positions to male characters. The director of Miss Representation was obviously right on at least one aspect; if we want our daughters to grow up as leaders, then the media must be stopped from telling them that leadership is predominately a male role and comes with consequences for women.