Strong Female Characters in Movies & the "Trinity Syndrome"

fullwidth.fff1465fI stumbled upon this article recently and found it to be another thoughtful and relevant look into the images media is portraying for audiences today, similar to the "Flawless Rescue Stud" phenomenon I wrote about earlier. I definitely agree with the author that Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow was a great character, and I wish more females in movies were like her. It is disappointing to hear of a lot of recent films with strong females who are given nothing to do to further the plot. It seems like such a waste!

I always enjoy reading things like this so I thought I'd share. Let me know what you think about it.

Romantic Comedies & The "Flawless Rescue Stud"

Safe-Haven-splashI just read this editorial article over at about an unfortunate phenomenon in romantic comedies of late where their male characters, referred to as "Flawless Rescue Studs", are creating unrealistic and harmful portrayals of romantic relationships. The basic premise, which is elaborated on in the article, showcases the trend of male characters "saving" the women characters in these movies and rescuing the women who have basically been made incapable of solving anything themselves without a man around. It has a lot of important connections and connotations for feminism and masculinity and how they're represented in media so I recommend giving it a read. Lets support more original, creative, and realistic representations of people and their relationships. Check out my movie reviews for some great examples of this streaming now on Netflix.

Support for #YesAllWomen & The Real Issues Behind Elliot Rodger

[youtube] I felt the urge to share this video* because I feel it is important as a male feminist ally. Laci Green sums up the issues very well behind why someone would do the terrible things Elliot Rodger did and how misogyny is literally killing people.

* Warning: Footage of Elliot Rodger is shown in this video, albeit a brief clip. I know some people may not want to see him/hear him, so I am including this caveat to the above video.

Support #YesAllWomen on Twitter with a retweet, favorite, or even just taking some time to read all of the messages. There is some great learning and catharsis happening on there.

Young Women and STEM Careers

tumblr_inline_mky4nnv0tG1qz4rgp So I just wrote a paper for class on geek girls and STEM careers, which addressed the perceptions of geeks in popular culture as well as the perception of scientists, engineers, etc., all together creating a deterrent for women to get into these fields of work. It was awesome to explore this topic since it all coalesces to create an ill-structured problem for colleges and universities since more and more women are graduating college (more than men these days) but still more men are graduating with STEM related majors. I sought to figure out why women may not persist and what we can do it about on our campuses.

So the stereotypes of nerds, dorks, dweebs, and geeks are well known; awkward, pale, skinny, poindexters who are lonely and uncool. This perception is compounded by the idea of scientists who work in lab alone somewhere working on arbitrary tasks with no lives and are also most often portrayed as male. A big part of my paper focused on an awareness of these false stereotypes and why they persist. A big issue in the geek spheres is the contention over popular shows like Big Bang Theory, which is a mockery of nerds but at least puts characters in the limelight on network television. I'd far prefer people watch things like the new movie Zero Charisma. It is a far better look at the current nerd culture, and laughs with us rather than at us.

With the media influencing perceptions as well as not being in positive learning environments with proper support and role models, women typically don't persist in STEM. What we can do in college student affairs is encourage living-learning communities for these geek girls looking to get into the great work of STEM fields. It is important and crucial work in these fields and we need every able body at the table solving the problems of the day. Living-Learning communities have been proven to be an excellent tool to help women persist in this challenging landscape.

The image above is from an event we had this past year at Rutgers, Geek Week, which had a "Nerd Girl Panel" which hopefully inspired some attendees to either keep on their studies despite the difficulties or perhaps be an ally to someone who is working against the cultural grain. I hope we can keep giving folks a sense of belonging this upcoming year with the third year of Geek Week.