Studies have shown that girls as young as six are influenced by gender stereotypes, and that role models from the entertainment they choose can have a lasting effect. On this note, and in honour of International Women’s Day earlier this month, I’m sharing my girls’ (and my) Netflix choices for favourite role-model female characters.
First, my eight-year-old daughter Eva’s choices:
- McKeyla McAlister from Project MC2, because she’s a spy who works for a secret organization trying to save the world, and she always puts her friends and family first.
- Amy Fleming from Heartland, because she works with horses and got in an accident saving one, and she has never given up working with them even though it’s dangerous.
- DJ Fuller from Fuller House, because she’s not afraid to try new things and she’s taking care of her kids after her husband died.
Next up: 11-year-old Olivia:
- DJ Tanner from Full House, because she goes through a lot of hardships but she always perseveres and teaches lessons to the kids who are watching.
- The twins from The Parent Trap, because they’re clever and tricky and willing to do anything to get their parents back together and make their family happy.
- Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson because she is courageous and faces danger to help accomplish good things in the world.
As an adult, I’m always looking for stereotypes on screen, and and asking myself questions about choices made in terms of characters and casting.
When tons of Facebook followers recommended that I watch Suits on Netflix, I immediately noticed that the two main characters were white men (excellent actors in well-written characters) but was also pleased to see that women, and actors of other colours, were also represented and well-developed. (P.S. March Break has given me the opportunity to *almost* get caught up on Suits.)
I also have come to love Carrie Mathison of Homeland (played by Claire Danes) – a very strong character, though well-rounded with her own vulnerabilities (it’s okay – actually ideal – to show authentic female vulnerability on screen, as long as the ladies aren’t all, or always, damsels in distress!)
Who are your kids’ (or your) favourite strong female characters on Netflix? Let me know!
Disclosure: I am provided with perks as a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Opinions are, as always, my own.