Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Real Superwomen of Television

Over the past few years, there has been a rise in the number of television shows that have a professional woman as the star character. If you turn on any of the popular channels such as TNT or USA networks then you will see commercial after commercial advertising television series that focus on a woman and her high level career. I thought I would highlight a few that I believe to be important in showing off the real super powers of today’s women.

TheCloser_300x300.jpgThe Closer (TNT):
Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson is a Georgia police detective that gets promoted to the head of the Priority Homicide Division in Los Angles. She shows off her prime investigation skills and interrogation tactics in the process of locking up brutal killers. Deputy Johnson has a special ability to read people and draw out confessions from the most hardened criminals. She gains respect from her team by using her unique case closing techniques to get results. In this position of power, Deputy Johnson maintains her style and stays true to herself even in the face of opposition.


In Plain Sight (USA):
Mary Shannon is a U.S. Marshall assigned to the Federal Witness protection program. Her job is to protect relocated federal witnesses and help them change into their new identities. Some of the witnesses are innocent people while others are criminals that are being protected by the law. No matter their background story, Shannon has to do her job right and protect the hunted witnesses from their pursuers. Shannon is tough woman; she not only takes on the challenges of her high-pressure career but also deals with her dysfunctional family members.

slide1.jpgBones  (FOX):
Dr. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who has a unique ability to solve crimes by finding evidence from the victim’s bones. Law enforcement calls upon the brilliant Dr. Brennan when the clues in the remains are too difficult for the FBI forensic team to extract. The rotting dead bodies that she is required to work with on a daily basis never faze her. Dr. Brennan is an extremely intelligent woman who remains focused and dedicated to her career.                

These television series portray modern day women in a positive light and show the vast strength of the 21st century woman. We get to see women demonstrating leadership and holding positions of power. They are capable of fighting crime and solving problems without magical superpowers and revealing costumes. Are there any others that you feel are important and need to be added to this list?     


  1. I’m so glad you decided to post about this. I remember in class that we mentioned how “are there any women in real-life high-end jobs that are main characters?” and some people couldn’t think of any. Well, your post proves that popular media has made an effort to frame women as strong, independent people in realistic situations. There is no need to create this fantasy world that women can only excel in because they are capable of doing this in reality. On that note, while modern popular media still exploits and degrades women, there are occasions that this is not the case and we should make more of a note of this in class.

  2. Agreeing that these shows clearly display women in high position jobs. I feel as though shows as these can truly allow insight into the sometimes struggling world of a working mom or the stereotypes women have to overcome in order to be taken seriously in a high position job. I think your post showed that the production industry is taking notice and making these women the main character of their own television show.

  3. One female character I always really admired was Mrs. Cosby on the Cosby Show. Although this show is older than the ones you mentioned, I always thought that the Mrs. Cosby not empowered women through her job as a lawyer (of equal position to her husband who was a doctor), but also empowered minorities. We discussed in class about how there is a minimal number of African American superheroines and usually the African American women play the part that has to do witchcraft in order to help out others. Mrs. Cosby completely contradicts all of these stereotypes, showing that it is possible to be a woman, African American and also extremely successful.

  4. Wow! Emily, when I was reading this I was honestly thinking about Mrs. Huxtable as well. She and her husband, both highly educated and earning African Americans give a great example of battling minority stereotypes. Not only is it a hilarious show (that I watched almost every day after school) but it also shows the importance of healthy marriages that do not contain gender roles. Mr. and Mrs. Huxtable had equal examples of "leading" and "following" roles. Both were deeply invested in their children's lives and are definitely examples of good parenting.

    I think that the prevalence of women, as well as good examples of equality in relationships, is lacking in television. However, I am glad there are shows like The Cosby Show, Bones, and The Closer, that come up against stereotyping roles.


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