Tropes About Women that We Need to Ditch

In American society, it seems as if the list of movies and TV shows is limitless. We live in a time where we are presented with variety; not only in how we view media but what types of content we are able to view. Diversity is constantly being pushed in the entertainment industry. While many individuals like myself appreciate this necessary variety, there are too many tropes about women in our society that are old, tired, and unrepresentative of the social changes that have overcome our country.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the blatantly disappointing tropes that still seem to characterize women.

1. The Workaholic Woman

She’s intelligent, high-strung, drinks a lot of coffee, and cares about her job probably more than she cares about herself. Did I mention that she will inevitably meet a love interest who makes her question just how committed she is to her job? She’ll end up having to choose between her busy, successful lifestyle and “true love.” This trope is toxic; it suggests that women can not flourish in the workplace without sacrificing healthy romantic relationships. Women can have both love and success, so why make them feel like they have to choose?


2. The “Feminazi”

She screams about feminism and hating men, and her body language almost always reinforces her anger. Other characters see her as standoffish, dramatic, and terrifying. The “Feminazi” is almost never taken seriously, and this trope, in particular, is especially damaging because it creates a false image of what feminism means. This trope also simplifies the complexity of feminism; intersectional feminism, in particular, is what the entertainment industry needs to accurately portray in order to positively influence and inform audiences.


3. The Slut

There are many toxic tropes about women, but what makes this one especially terrible is its ability to confidently characterize a woman as nothing more than her sexual experiences. Usually, this trope takes form in a woman who throws herself at anyone who wants her. She’s promiscuous and everyone around her knows it. While it is absolutely okay and wonderful that women are portrayed as enjoying sex, being confident with one’s sexuality does not give audiences a well-rounded understanding of who this woman is beyond her sexual experiences.  


4. The Damsel in Distress

You know this one. This woman is always in need of saving...but she can never manage to solve her own problems. She can be found pining for a person that somehow manages to magically fix all of her problems for her and help her come to some grand realization about herself. Women don’t need saving; this outdated trope just reinforces that women are incapable of resolving things alone, which is absolutely untrue.


If there is anything to be learned about these tropes, it is that they fail to give women the well-rounded characterization that they deserve. Rather than allow ourselves to accept these one-dimensional and offensive representations of women, audiences and creators of content alike should share the responsibility of challenging these antiquated tropes.