Posted by: egotschalk | January 16, 2013


Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of cop shows, but I think that many people are fascinated with the tough-as-nails, authoritative women that is often portrayed in shows like Rizzoli and Isles, Law and Order, Castle, Southland, CSI, NCIS, etc. The women always seem very driven and successful, and seem to cultivate a certain amount of respect and authority from their peers. I don’t know why these women seem so interesting to me, yet I think that I like to watch their experiences (albiet fictional) to see if I would respond the same way. Women in law enforcement have always been portrayed in the media as this powerhouse woman with snappy comebacks and lots of gumption. While this is a positive stereotype, I am curious as to why it’s limited to law enforcement. There have been a few spinoffs into espionage (e.g. Covert Affairs), but it seems to be fairly limited to a specific role or occupation. This could potentially show that some gender-based stereotypes are linked to specific occupations. 


  1. I think that in today’s society media is playing a large role not only in our daily lives but also in the influences that portray our leadership experiences. I feel as though a lot of the shows that you mention protray this sort of negative image for women leaders based soley on the fact that they are all determined, successful, and challening leaders. I feel as though many people are intimidated by this sort of leader there for feel as though women leaders are all this way not only through televeision shows. Media has become such a power tool to influence others that it is almost scary in a sense. Leadership on television is completly different than in realtiy and can have negative impacts on people’s understanding of it, based on the media influences.

  2. While I agree that media certainly has a major effect on the minds of specifically younger generations, I do not necessarily agree that all of these images of women in authoritative roles is a bad thing. I know I would not be intimidated by a powerful and determined woman and I know plenty of guys who not only respond positively to it but find it attractive when a woman speaks her mind and makes a difference. The biggest example I can come up with is Tomb Raider. Both in the games and movies she is a bad-ass and she is one of the most popular girl video game/ movie stars. Everybody knows Lara Croft. Also I can see your point about how most strong females are in police shows but they are also depicted in scientific roles like Bones and other shows like Medium etc. I think we have come a long way in society in regards to our outlook on females, and I can only hope that we continue on our path towards complete equality.

  3. I like your thought construction, but the main point I want to focus on is “gender based stereotypes are linked to specific occupations”. In the United States, it is still the culture to have males expected to fill “male-needed” occupations. Not to ignore the obvious natural physical differences, indeed some of these occupations warrant such expectations. Examples are construction workers or oil-rig employees, where brawn is necessary. However, it is blind to ignore how this culture harms the woman potential to advance in the world in ways never seen before. In fact, I would stake my personal opinion on the belief that it is the number #1 most harmful factor. Think about it, when a woman can believe she can be President of the United States, she can get the proper education, have the proper charisma and oratory skills, coupled with experience in Congress or otherwise, but it probably will not be enough. The American culture is still stuck in the mindset that men belong in the Oval Office, so that same woman, who might have credentials and skills and ideas that trump her male competitor, loses because the public is brainwashed to believe that the male candidate displays the “strength” necessary to hold office. That is a whole other discussion for another day, but my point is that it will take a woman to almost go above and over the top to prove she belongs as President whereas her male competitor does not have to work as hard, because he has the cultural advantage. A woman needs to be the “first”. Then maybe, hopefully, the floodgates will open.

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