In a world where we’re becoming increasingly conditioned to question cliches, challenge stereotypes, and come up with more open-minded narratives, there are still quite a few things we still struggle to get right in our media representations. One of these is TV and movie depictions of single mothers.
It’s not a new concept to the cinematic world—or the real world, for that matter. From black and white films to Oscar-nominated blockbusters, single mother characters have been prevalent in movies and television over time. As Jeff Sharp, co-producer of the 2000 film You Can Count On Me said when the movie was released, “This isn’t a fad, it’s a trend that reflects reality.”
According to the CDC, 39.8 percent of annual births are to single, unmarried women, and one in four children under age 18 will grow up with only a mother. Single motherhood is a norm and a reality in our society—and while the strong presence of these badass women in film is encouraging, many movies and TV series have trouble portraying these characters without imposing stereotypes or unrealistic personas.
What can we do to change the perception and portrayal of single mothers cinematically? Here’s what you need to know about the evolution of single mothers in film and how it can continue to improve.
Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in October 2017, a shift has occurred in the way the media talks about and addresses sexual abuse allegations. Until the expansion of this movement, the taboo subject went largely avoided by the media and in all industries, except in the most high-profile cases, as it made readers, viewers and listeners uncomfortable. However, the hashtag movement, started by Tarana Burke and popularized by Alyssa Milano, has opened this conversation to the masses as a subject that can and should no longer be ignored.
One of the large and essential consequences of this movement has been the critical reflection on the behaviors we, as a society, deem acceptable and promote through the forms of media we commend and popularize. Those who are affected by discrimination, as well as allies, have begun to speak out about problematic messaging. From songs that promote rape culture and misogyny with their language, as well as some classic, critically acclaimed films whose dialogue and humor has not aged well with the times, our perceptions of media have been refined to notice the dangerous concepts we are reinforcing as the norm in our society.
For decades, women have made incredible strides in the world of sports and are becoming more and more visible within the athletic community. Here are some of the ways women have inspired us and challenged the status quo time and time again.
Historic Moments in Sports for Women
According to research from Ohio University, “40 percent of all sports participants are female. Yet women’s sports receive only 4 percent of all sports media coverage.” Despite this low amount of coverage, women continue to break barriers and achieve greatness within the sports industry. Here are a few notable milestones for women in sports throughout history:
Billie Jean King Defeats Bobby Riggs: Already turned into a big studio movie, the Battle of the Sexes tennis match in 1973 was a triumph for women around the world as they watched King take the win against the notoriously misogynistic Riggs. King was already a legend at that point, but defeating Riggs sent a statement to women everywhere that they can do anything.
Althea Gibson Breaks New Ground: Often referred to as a female Jackie Robinson, Gibson made strides for both race and gender equality by becoming the first black competitor at the U.S. Nationals in 1950. She also became the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon in 1957 and the U.S. Open in 1958.
Ann Meyers Drysdale Inspires Generations of Women: Drysdale became the first woman to sign an NBA contract, as she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. She also became the first woman to broadcast an NBA game when she served as a color commentator for the Pacers.
Danica Patrick Proves It’s Not Just a Men’s Game: In 2008, Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy race with her victory in the Japan 300. As a professional racing driver since the age of 10, Patrick continues to make an impact on the sports industry and inspires women everywhere.
The Olympics Makes History: In 2012, the U.S. sent more female Olympians than male to compete in the summer games. Women’s boxing made its debut that year, while male competitors were outmedaled by women in the U.S., Russian and Chinese teams in all sporting categories.
These are just a small number of the ways women are making a tremendous difference in the sports industry. But it’s not only in sports where women are breaking new ground. According to Arizona State University, “women make up nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 51 percent of corporate professionals.” It’s inspiring figures like King and Drysdale who have brought strength and confidence to women everywhere and motivated women to move up in their career.
Since King and Drysdale made such important milestones, other women have achieved greatness in other industries. For example, Eileen Collins became the first female space commander in 1999 when she was assigned to pilot space shuttle Columbia. Collins became the first female astronaut to pilot a space shuttle mission in 1995 and became the Air Force’s first female flight instructor. From healthcare to technology, athletics to journalism, women have made a difference in how they’re represented and proven there are no boundaries to what women can do.
These women and their inspiring stories of success will continue to stand the test of time and empower everyone to accomplish their goals. The impact women have made in the sports industry demonstrates the strength and power our femininity holds within all of us. The amount of barriers broken by women throughout history is astounding. But we still have a long way to go before that glass ceiling is completely shattered.
Frankie Wallace is a freelance journalist interested in all things pop culture. Wallace resides in Boise, Idaho and contributes to a variety of blogs across the web.
Earlier this fall we announced the Name Our Avatar Contest. We received so many amazing entries, and we’re beyond excited to finally share the winners with you today!
Every name that we received was thoughtful and picking just one was a true challenge. We were so heartened by your bounds of creativity and passion. So without any further ado, here are the two runners-up as well as the winning name:
Why?: This is a beautiful middle eastern name that means “rivers” which I love as a representation of fluidity as well as strength in the GeekGirlCon community. “What I love most about rivers is: You can’t step in the same river twice. The water’s always changing, always flowing.”
Why?: First, it means sky or heaven in Arabic: this reflects the constellation-like patterns on her clothing, her freckles, as well as the fact that she is very bright! It’s a name that gets used in many places and cultures, and is very beautiful to boot! (It’s also the name of a character from Miraculous Ladybug! Alya runs the world’s best Ladybug fanblog, and is Marinette’s best friend.)
…and finally, our first place winner and the new name of our avatar. Introducing…
We at MoPOP look forward to GeekGirlCon every year. And this year is no exception. We’ve got our panel guide planned, our cosplay laid out, and MoPOP booth prepared for you to come visit.
When we were asked to write a piece for the GeekGirlCon blog, we got excited! But what to write about? There are countless topics we could have tackled, but when we got down to it, we thought it might be nice to pull back the curtain and introduce you to just a few of the many people who populate the world of MoPOP.
If you see them around the Con (or the museum or Seattle), feel free to say hi.
For those who have been following GeekGirlCon for a while, our little team of avatars may be familiar to you: Burashi, Jwé, Vívid, and Dr. Mae! Last year we introduced a new avatar to the lineup by artist Sheri Bates, but have yet to name them.
In anticipation for GeekGirlCon 2018 from today, September 5th, to October 1st you can submit a name and explanation by following this link! The #NameOurAvatar contest gives our community the chance to help us build upon the convention. We are looking to your creativity and stories not only to name the latest addition to our team of characters, but to help us continue to build a GeekGirlCon that you feel apart of and proud of. Whether you come to us with an original story or want to tell us a little bit about yourself, we want to hear what you have to say.
For over 50 years, Aretha Franklin’s cover of “Respect” has remained a classic staple of soul music, making anyone of any age want to get up and dance. But “Respect” wasn’t just your usual chart-topping single; it became an anthem for civil rights and the women’s rights movement, which helped make Franklin an icon.
On August 16, the world lost this legend to pancreatic cancer, and tributes came pouring out from all around the world. While Franklin was an incredible singer with an amazing voice, she was more than just the queen of soul. Her work as a civil rights activist and advocate of feminism cemented her legacy and made her an inspiration to all.
Post by Sharon Magliano Feliciano, President of the GGC Board of Directors.
On Saturday, June 16th, GeekGirlCon teamed up with our friends at Mox Boarding House for Free RPG Day.
GGC Volunteer Rick led a Shadowrun game.
Free RPG Day is an event hosted in various game and hobby stores worldwide. RPG publishers provide new content for both beloved properties, as well as new games. Stores throw events where customers can pick up brand new, never-before published content—totally free!
Mox celebrated by offering several free RPG modules, and invited both GeekGirlCon and the Pathfinder Society to talk about our organizations and role-playing games.
GeekGirlCon volunteers headed to Mox Boarding House in Bellevue with their bags full of dice to lead “Food Fight”, a short, introductory Shadowrun adventure. The folks from the Pathfinder Society led boisterous games of “Skitter Skirmish” from the year-old Starfinder (published by Paizo, the same company that produces the popular Pathfinder). There was also a volunteer who lead a round of Call of Cthulu—an RPG based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
The Pathfinder Society led the Free RPG Day module “Skitter Skirmish”.
For those new to the world of role-playing games, or RPGs, this event was a great opportunity to learn the basics. Often while playing an RPG, a Game Master or Dungeon Master (often abbreviated as GM or DM), tells a story that a group of people act out with characters that they have created themselves. For this event, fully formed characters were provided for attendees—though many seasoned RPG players find that creating their own is one of the most fulfilling aspects of play. These short “modules” allowed a game to be completed in about an hour. This let players get a feel for the game dynamics without having to make a huge commitment.
Attendees ranged from kids who had never played an RPG before, to seasoned DM’s who wanted to try something new. The Mox Boarding House tournament room was filled with laughs, spontaneous outbursts when something went awry, and the sound of many, many rolling dice. It was a great reminder of the wonderful geek community we have in our area, and the fun events that bring us together. At one point our Shadowrun table had our GM, a middle aged woman (me!), a professional in his 30s, and two teenage girls. It wasn’t a group that would make up your usual game night crew—but everyone was brought together by games.
Car chases, shoot-outs and frantic fist fights are usually left to the boys… but why should they have all the fun? In an era of girl-power and new wave feminism, it seems only fair that women get an equal shot (or stab, or swing) at the chance to fly through space, race supercars and dangle from skyscrapers. Currently carrying the torch are stunt-girl heroes like Caitlin Dechelle (Wonder Woman, Fast & Furious 7), Zoë Bell (Kill Bill, Thor: Ragnarok), and Dayna Grant (Mad Max: Fury Road, Ash vs. Evil Dead), who are living proof that woman can kick just as many butts as men, even in short skirts and high heels.
Want to join their ranks? If you’re a thrill-seeker who lives for taking on new physical challenges it’s understandable that you might be looking for a career more inspiring than personal training or fitness coaching. Becoming a stuntwoman isn’t easy, but if you think you’re up to the challenge, here are the golden rules for sticking it out in the stunt industry.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemone folds readers into a world of magic, flowers, romance, and danger. First, I would like to acknowledge this beautiful cover, the one pictured here is an OwlCrate exclusive cover, but the version you can dig up in bookstores is also beautiful. I will not hold back on gardening puns, and I will not apologize! I was worried the story wouldn’t live up the magic of this cover, but thankfully it did. With notes of Practical Magic and Chocolat, we’re pulled into a world with five female cousins, and three generations of mothers, grandmothers, great aunts, and aunts-all who can grow hundreds of thousands of flowers based on their namesake. Which sounds fantastic and they probably all smell really good. But there’s a catch, a few catches actually- if they ever try to leave their home, La Padera, they will die. And if they love a man hard enough, he will eventually disappear. This becomes a problem when all five cousins, fall in love with a girl. What will happen to her? And what of the mysterious boy who appeared in La Padera with no memory of his perhaps sinful past? As a life-long reader of mysteries, I am hard to surprise, but Wild Beauty surprised me, IN THE BEST WAY. Lush writing and full of metaphors and magic and little painted wooden horses.