Kids Want to See More Female Superheroes, Study Says
The impending arrival of “Captain Marvel” can’t come soon enough: A new study found that the kids are clamoring to see more women heroes. And for young girls especially, that desire goes far beyond simply entertainment value.
A joint study conducted by BBC America and the Women’s Media Center surveyed more than 2,400 boys and girls ranging in age from five to 19, and found that both genders — and every demographic within them — wanted more female characters in the superhero and sci-fi genres. But researchers also discovered a stark contrast between the genders when it came to feelings of self-worth, with teen girls less likely than teen boys to feel confident or brave, and teen girls feeling like they have fewer opportunities to be leaders than their male peers.
That’s why representation of female heroes on screen is so important, the study argues: Two-thirds or more of girls ages 10 through 19 said that watching women heroes made them feel a range of positive emotions, including strong, brave, confident, and inspired. And that same group also reported that watching female heroes and sci-fi characters made them feel like they can achieve anything, with girls of color agreeing most strongly with statement.
“The biggest takeaway for me from this was first of all that affirmation of ‘if you don’t see it, you can’t be it,'” said Sarah Barnett, president of BBC America, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “If there isn’t representation of women in these roles, young girls and young boys don’t see the opportunity, and boys don’t see women as naturally in these positions of the hero or the one with power.”
Barnett added in a statement:
“It’s time to expand what gets seen, and we hope this report will contribute to sparking change in the stories we see on screen. With greater representation of female heroes in the sci-fi and superhero genre, we can help superpower the next generation of women.”
We couldn’t agree more.
[Women’s Media Center, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety]
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