State News Roundup, Rude Wisconsin Drivers, Girl Heroes On Screen

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An technology manufacturer is considering a move to Wisconsin that could create up to 10,000 jobs. We hear about the prospect and check in on other top stories in Wisconsin. Young girls are showing up as heroes more often in TV and film. A media expert talks about some examples and how it’s changing the classic hero narrative. We also get your thoughts on a new survey showing that Wisconsin drivers are among the rudest in the nation.

Featured in this Show

  • State News Roundup For July 7, 2017

    Governor Walker offered changes to transportation funding, amid ongoing negotiations about the biggest stumbling block in the state budget. A news editor joins us to talk about this and other top state news from the past week.

  • Women And Girls Are The New Heroes In Movies And TV

    Girls are increasingly becoming the heroes of TV shows and movies. We look at what is behind having more young women save the day on screen.

  • More Women, Girls Taking Prominent Roles In TV, Movies

    Pop culture has recently seen a shift toward strong female leads, both on television and the big screen. It’s a shift Spring Duvall can get behind.

    “To be able to see themselves in the hero role provides girls with more variety in their role models,” said Duvall, an assistant professor of communication at Salem College in North Carolina. “They’re able to look at these powerful women and girls … and see someone they might aspire to be like or that reflects them better than the typical hero or boy might.”

    A February report from The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University found a 7-percent increase in female protagonists in 2016 over 2015.

    Typically, Duvall said, women and girls have very limited visibility in media. They are often pigeonholed into certain characteristics or roles, even when holding a starring role.

    Take “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

    The 1990s hit TV show sparked conversations about women playing violent action heroes. But in many ways, main character Buffy still fit conventional media stereotypes, like many female characters of the time.

    “They were very aggressive but they were doing it in high heels and full makeup, so there was a very limited depiction of them,” Duvall said. “And often we would also see them in those time periods relegated to the sort of sidekick role.”

    Today’s female leads are increasingly more multifaceted than were typically seen in big budget films and television, Duvall said.

    This year’s box office take on the classic comic book character Wonder Woman broke boundaries by featuring a main female protagonist, a rarity for a summer superhero movie.

    The film was also the first American superhero movie to be directed by a woman.

    Duvall said the Wonder Woman character did fit some stereotypes of women in movies. But the boundaries she did break opened the door for more complicated characters in the future.

    “It’s a lot of pressure to put on one film to expect it to be completely without problems,” Duvall said. “So in many ways it is going to conform to the genre in terms of the way she looks, the character she was in the comic books, the way that she’s been depicted in films in her iconic outfit and those sorts of things.”

    More important was the film’s emphasis on strength, vulnerability and love, uncommon for a superhero movie, and also multifaceted for a female character, Duvall said.

    “The Hunger Games” was one of the first movies to start the modern shift toward strong female leads, Duvall said.

    In the movie and book series, the protagonist is a teenage girl who’s independent, headstrong, skilled at archery and hunts her own food.

    She’s also largely unglamorous. It’s a positive portrayal that can affect young boys just as much as it affects young girls, Duvall said.

    “Boys can see more nuanced girl characters as well or see girls in those roles, and it’s going to open up more possibility of seeing girls as, again, capable, as powerful in their own right and not just existing to be looked at or to be a sidekick,” she said.

    Stranger Things” also broke the mold. A girl named Eleven is a major character in the Netflix TV series. But she’s nuanced, bold and powerful. The group of young boys who interact with her in the series are diverse and emotional as well.

    “I think sometimes if we see these girls cast in more diverse roles, we can also see that in the rest of the content reflected in more interesting roles for boys as well,” Duvall said.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Rob Ferrett Producer
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Rob Mentzer Guest
  • Spring Duvall Guest

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