Review of Trends in American Cinema Suggests Female Heroines Still Stereotypes

Young women and girls often derive role models from film and television, and concerns over the personalities and traits of characters have been rampant for decades. Though women portrayed in films have taken on many new characteristics, some experts aren’t convinced that gender stereotypes have really changed at all –and a recent study carried out at Kaplan Universityhas found, after a critical analysis of over one hundred popular films, that the “tough girl” persona in modern American cinema is, most of the time, a submissive personality who derives no power from her femininity. The research may help psychologists better understand the social impacts of modern film, especially on young females.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Nikki


    April 24th, 2010 at 5:04 AM

    Sad to think that women or young girls would have to look to the movies for role models anyway

  • Jacquie


    April 24th, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    That’s something that always bugs me about female action heroines. They’re usually still falling for some guy in amongst it all. Leave the romance out of it! We’re smarter than that.

  • Wendy


    April 24th, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    The only thing that has changed in cinema with respect to the portrayal of women is that in the olden days they used to be portrayed as helpless individuals who needed to be protected and more recently they are being portrayed as nothing but sex objects,more often than not.This is in fact a negative change and is cause a lot of perversion in the minds of young people.

  • Brenda S

    Brenda S

    April 25th, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    This is the thing. . . most of the movies out there are written by men, men who portray women as they see them, not as they really are. If they think that underneath it all a woman will submit or is frail and fragile that is the way they will be written. This is why we need to look to real life role models, and not those made up in the chauvenistic mind of some make writer in Hollywood!

  • Rae


    April 26th, 2010 at 3:09 AM

    The fact of the matter is that when we start looking to the strong real women who are out there this is when we will discover the real heroes and role models for whom we search for ourselves and our daughters.

  • Lucy


    April 26th, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    The main reason for this is that movie makers,as almost everybody else in general,believe that if there is no one that is ‘weak’ and to be ‘protected’,then they probably cannot bring out the macho ism and bravery of the male characters!

  • Elliot


    April 26th, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Action fans don’t care about the romance parts and won’t take a female character seriously if she goes from wielding a machine gun to batting her eyelashes in a nanosecond.

  • jason M.

    jason M.

    April 27th, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    I have observed and made a note of this myself and it really is of no use crying horse about this…because they will just not listen! There have been activists in the past who have raised this issue to the film-makers and the like…but what has the result been? Absolutely nothing!

    nobody can force them to see the truth.if they are blinded,no other person can help them see the truth,the truth about the emerging force that today’s woman is.

  • mike


    April 27th, 2010 at 2:54 AM

    in the end many of them are still portrayed to need a man to save them- most men today do not want that- we want a strong woman

  • Samuel


    April 30th, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    The best female tough gal was Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in the Terminator movie series. She got stronger and tougher over the course of the first and second movie. Remember the muscles she put on for that role? Incredible.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.



* Indicates required field.

Therapist   Treatment Center

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

Title   Content   Author is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on