On Thursday 21 January TEDxDelft hosted its first event of 2016. It was the second Cinema event of the season, entitled ‘We’ve got the power,’ focussing on feminism. Hosting the event on the evening was TEDxDelft’s very own Ailie Conor.
The representation of women in popular media is what angers Conor in particular. Modern culture portrays women in specific roles, as certain stereotypes, creating unrealistic expectations of women. “It is difficult watching a movie, or a TV show, or reading a book not to feel saddened by these renditions,” she clarified.
“Society seems to hate teenage girls, showing them being frivolous, looking vapid by taking a selfie,” Conor said. The media, when dealing with teenage girls, often shows them as flat characters exhibiting only a couple of character traits. Yet there are strong women who can be great role models. “Someone like Stevie Nicks perhaps,” she said. Women are too often portrayed in the same roles, which makes it all the more important when they do play the part usually reserved for men.
According to Conor, what is important in improving the depiction of women is accountability. “By choosing the shows we see and the books we read,” she explained. Selecting those which do represent women, real women. Or by portraying women in roles traditionally left to men, thereby turning tropes around. “Make a difference by making choices,” she concluded. “By seeking those narratives, those voices, which are not always listened to.”