The Profess-Hers Podcast

16 | The Trouble With Tropes

February 15, 2019

What’s a “woman in a refrigerator”? Are you more complex than an Old Maid or Bridezilla? Nagging wife or desperate for a husband?

We’ll discuss what tropes are, and what tropes storytellers use in their depictions of women. How do these tropes undermine or over-simplify women’s complex ranges of emotions, ideas, and personalities? How do tropes affect our own biases, and why does this matter?

With lots of examples from TV and movies, we get into crazy women, old maids, wedding-obsessed ditzes, and perhaps the most pernicious: straw feminists and women on the sidelines.

Don’t worry, we end with examples of TV shows, movies, and books that bust tropes with realistic, complex, nuanced female characters that bring women’s identities into the forefront.


Audio from: Wedding Crashers, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Community, Powerpuff Girls

With more examples from: Married With Children, Roseanne, New Girl

Shows We Recommend in This Episode: The Kids Are Alright, Orange is The New Black, The Wire, Grace and Frankie, Big Love, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Black-ish

Books We Recommend in This Episode: The Wife (Wolitzer), Manhattan Beach (Egan), Asymmetry (Halliday), Burning Girl (Messud).

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

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