“Who run the world? Girls!” These immortal words from Queen Bey are becoming more and more true in today’s society with each passing year. We see women becoming increasingly more involved and holding more positions of power and influence in society than ever before. This cultural shift in society’s landscape is especially evident when looking at gender representation within mainstream television.
Let’s look at the show Supergirl for examples of this. In analyzing the gender landscape of this show, we can see that the majority of main characters are female. The female characters are the ones behind the wheel of the show, driving the plot forward in each episode. They are the characters that we are most likely to laugh or cry with, cheer for, and sympathize with. It’s interesting to see exactly how many women there are in leading character roles, and not just the number of characters but also the type of people on the show as well. This show is overflowing with strong, powerful women who have visions for the future and a determination to make their vision become a reality.
The protagonist of the show is Kara, Superman’s female cousin, who is one of the most tenacious characters on the show with a will of steel. Her unshakeable faith and heart for others have made viewers fall in love with her from the very beginning. Her boss, Cat Grant, is a media tycoon and probably the most influential person in National City. She is a determined and ruthless businessperson who helps to shape the narrative of the show and write Supergirl’s story for the public. Without Cat Grant, it is quite possible that there wouldn’t even be a Supergirl to love. Then there’s Alex, Kara’s foster sister. Her decisions have laid the foundation for Kara’s life and opportunities up to this point. Without her, Kara would never have found the extensive support system for fighting crime and locking up aliens that the Department of Extra-Normal Operations has given her. And lastly, what kind of hero doesn’t have an evil enemy? Kara’s comes in the form of her Aunt Astra, who is a criminal mastermind from outerspace. As the seasons go on, we are able to see how much this character really affects the plot with both her actions and her mere presence on Earth.
Now, don’t get me wrong and think that this is an all female show, because there are several significant male characters. They are present but do much more reacting on the fringes to situations rather than instigating them. For example, Superman has been delegated to merely a background reference, Winn is a lovable sidekick and friend, and James is Kara’s mentor and unrequited love interest.
With the changing culture of society and the push to see more females in influential positions, Supergirl has stepped up as one of the main shows to watch as one of the shows pushing for change and helping to change the perceptions of viewers across the country.