August 25, 2019 at 3:18 PM | Posted in Musings, TV | Leave a comment

I grew up at a time when society’s perception of women in general was still traditional and backwards. Even in the media and on TV back then, I was used to seeing women being portrayed mainly as housewives who do all the household chores while the men work or play sports. That, or women were portrayed as only sex objects to be played around by men.

Growing up in a traditional household and with strict Catholic upbringing, I was taught that women should do all the housework and that they should know how to cook, sew and mend clothes, and take care of children. I grew up in a big house living with extended family members, with aunts, uncles and male cousins around the house. They used to hold parties every now and then and I would observe that women would stay on one side sipping punch while the men drink hard liquor and smoke cigarettes on the other side.

Back then, my extended family and I would also often watch TV together. So early on, I was exposed to so much sexism on TV and movies – from James Bond films to beauty contests. My family thought it was amusing to see James Bond sleep with so many women and just discard them easily. To them it’s okay because “he’s a man.” They also thought there’s nothing wrong with men ogling women in bikinis in a beauty contest.

But now that I’m an adult, I realized just how much women were at a disadvantage back then, and how they were wrongly perceived and treated by society. That’s why I stopped watching beauty contests and James Bond movies because of how they treat women.

It’s rare to see strong female characters on TV and movies back then. But we’ve come a long way now and women in the media and in the entertainment industry are now well represented compared to 30-50 years ago (maybe not completely yet but we’ll get there).

That’s why I’m very thankful for shows like The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess for having strong female characters that changed television. These strong female characters taught me that women are just as smart and capable as men.

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