In this commanding Ted Talk Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks about stereotypes and their ability to dominate and silence groups of people. She calls to the power of stories to enrich the human experience and promote dignity. When assessing the stereotypes of women in the media, this Ted Talk highlights the importance of communicating more than one story of female experience as a way to contradict negative and narrow generalizations.
Park and Recreations, a NBC comedy series, features and follows the career of mid-level government worker, Leslie Knope's rise through the ranks. This show not only passes the Bechdel test, but it also contradicts many of the the female movie stereotypes. Leslie Knope is an ambitious and deputy director of the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. She is an efficient and capable leader and this challenges the stereotype that female bosses must be cold-hearted and calculating to be powerful. Leslie is warm, caring and an effective and dedicated boss who can focus on her career, her friends, and her family.
This article lists the 9 most pervasive female stereotypes that are abasing and antiquated. Most roles for women in television and movies fall into these 9 areas and this limits the range of experiences communicated and consigns women's experiences into a single story. It is important to reflect on stereotypes and their limiting effect on gender roles in television in order to assess what we see and push for a more dynamic representation of women.
The Bechdel Test, developed by web cartoonist Alison Bechdel, asks a simple question of women's roles in film and television: Are there at least named two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man or boy? This article outlines how shockingly common it is for movies and television to not pass this test. It also argues that this criteria is a starting point consider how women are portrayed in TV and movies, but that we need to ask more of our female roles and offers up edited criteria. Considering this criteria and data is important for assessing the roles of women in television and movies to ensure that a rich tapestry of women's experiences is portrayed.