The lonely heroine: Portrayal of women scientists in films

Denise Kool, Nathália Helena Azevedo, Lucy Avraamidou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Popular films can influence the public’s image of women scientists and (re)shape social stereotypes. In this study, we examined how women scientists were portrayed in films in the context of fourth-wave feminism. Twelve characters of women scientists in eight films were analysed using sociological film interpretation across the following categories: occupation, socio-political theme, and time frame. The findings showed that most characters were portrayed as competent, diligent, and typically as experts in their fields. The most prevalent stereotype across the films was the lonely heroine. Overall, the findings suggest an improvement in the representation of women scientists in films and provide a set of implications about how women scientists’ portrayal in films may contribute to addressing gender science stereotypes. Beyond seeing women in scientific fields represented, it is important that their portrayal is positive, diverse, and intersectional and does not reinforce stereotypes of either dominant or overly feminine women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-171
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Media International
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28-Jul-2022

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