A few weeks ago, I saw this on Pinterest:
At first, I just laughed at the sentiment. My husband and I have had the conversation many times about the difference in female characters (and male characters too, but we're focusing on females) in the awesome sci-fi shows we watch versus some of the more popular shows on television. This pic has stayed with me over the last few weeks and it honestly makes me a bit sad now.
I will admit that I don't recognize the first three woman on the geek culture row (I'll get there, I'm sure, but there's only so much tv we can watch in a day), but the last two are both well-known to me as they come from two of my favorite shows. Those two woman are great role-models for young girls. Both of them manage to be completely brilliant while managing to also be kind, beautiful, and just generally good people. They are not sexualized, despite the fact that they are gorgeous.
The women in the top row are largely famous for doing nothing more than exposing themselves to the public and allowing their stupid decisions to be broadcast to the entire world and yet I'd be willing to bet that most people could identify more people from the top row than from the bottom.
I think about my four-year-old niece and the types of female characters she will grow up with and likely idolize as many children do. She will see these women and perhaps think it's normal to show off her body to everyone or spend all of her time partying. I wouldn't have a problem with it if these women were also intelligent and were showing off their bodies while also explaining astrophysics. I think Jeri Ryan's Voyager character, Seven of Nine, shows that it can be done. And certainly the women in the geek culture line-up also happen to be gorgeous. I mean, Terry Ferrell used to be a model and Amanda Tapping, at 46, still looks stunning, but the characters (and in every case I've seen so far, the actors as well) are very intelligent women who don't use their looks to get what they want. I think those are the types of role models little girls need (and little boys as well). This idea that being stupid is fun or funny and that being intelligent is only for losers needs to change. It's not science fiction to think that women can be both beautiful and smart and I'd like to see some better role models for my future children.