How does the TV show Supergirl represent gender? Part #4
In the Supergirl episode “Fight or Flight,” Cat Grant interviews Supergirl and asks her, “Any plans to start a family?”
To which Supergirl replies, “Nobody ever asks my cousin [Superman] these questions.”
Supergirl (Kara) brings up a very interesting point. In our society, we expect women to want to start a family, and tend to shame women who choose not to. Why do we pressure women to start a family, and most importantly, why do we not expect the same from men?
The idea that women should aspire to get married and have children, while men are expected to work and provide for the family, is an archaic and sexist mindset.
According to a study done by the Pew Research Center, women were more likely than men to take off time from work to care for children and on average, women also spend more time on housework than men.
The chart on the left shows that only 12% of Americans believe that women with young children should work full-time, compared to the 70% of Americans that believe men with young children should work full-time. The chart on the right shows 27% of women have even quit their job in order to care for a child or family member.
Society pushes this idea on women that they should strive get married and have children because it will leave them feeling fulfilled. If a woman is not settled down at a certain age, we judge her for it and constantly ask “Why” questions.
“Why don’t you want kids?”
Or if she is married, we ask, “Do you want kids? When are you planning to have kids?”
Whether or not they want to have children is completely personal and a decision made between a couple.
Furthermore, the Supergirl scene shown above also criticizes the different questions interviews ask women as opposed to men.
Although Supergirl has powers such as super strength, super speed, and the ability to fly, the interviewer is more concerned with Supergirl’s plans to start a family, which completely takes attention away from her talents and her achievements.
Mic.com has compiled a list of sexist questions celebrities have been asked. One included a Teen Vogue interview between Spider-Man costars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. When Emma was asked a question about her hair, Andrew said, “I don’t get asked that.”
Emma replied, “You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you are a boy.”
We tend to take men more seriously, and that is why men are asked direct questions about their professions and accomplishments, while women are asked about their personal lives, including appearance, weight, marital status, and whether they plan on having children.