About

Portrayal of Women in Television Today

My name is Yevgeniya Obukhova, young adult in my twenties and currently living in Rome. One of my favorite leisure time activities is binge-watching television shows and films. I’m a communications student at a university, and media studies are essential in order to graduate with this degree. Classes in which I study how to analyze, as well as interpret films and learning the history of television and cinema gives me insight into how much has changed since the arrival of these Medias as early as late 1940s in America. What interests me the most is how far television has come in breaking stereotypes it put in place in the first place. The roles for female and men were generic and very sexist. Today, we can say that is definitely not the case. Currently, there are more shows with the lead being women rather than men. The shift in television didn’t happen overnight. In fact, these developments coincide with social change and movements that have occurred since late 60s in U.S. and the rest of the Western world. 

The types of female leads in television haven’t always been as fluid and diverse as they are today. In fact, since the 1950s sitcoms have gone through many changes, especially women’s role. Back then, women as well as men portrayed particular stereotypes. Perfect example would be “The Ricardos,” I Love Lucy which aired in 1951. Lucy was the clumsy “clown” like stay at home wife of a Cuban musician, who seemed to always get into trouble while he was away, only to be rescued by him in the end of every episode. Moreover, this show was first to have a female lead role as the protagonist. The show could have been poking fun of the stereotypical roles of husband and wife by doing so. The character seemed as though she was tired of her tedious life and always wanted to adventure.  I believe the significance of this topic lies with how much more realistic the female characters have become in television today. Television shows such as How to Get Away with a Murder and Scandal for example, portray a female leading character that is strong and beautiful, however, aren’t afraid to show them being weak and natural. In this case, they wear the pants in the relationships they have, and often are of promiscuous nature. Also on the topic of natural, the episodes often end with the character taking off their wig, fake eyelashes, and make up; returning to their natural form, giving a more realistic view to the viewers. Also in more recent years, Girls television show came out in 2012, similar to Sex and The City which aired in 1998, however, gives a more real portrayal of young women struggling and figuring out their lives in the big city. There are hundreds of television shows today, one way to keep viewers interested is by making the characters more relatable. As the curator of my blog, I will examine particular issues and advances in the portrayal of females in modern day television, as well as give examples of how in the past it wasn’t so.