How does the TV show Supergirl represent gender? Part #11
In episode fourteen of Supergirl‘s first season, Kara (Supergirl) goes to work and finds another desk directly across from hers. Kara’s boss has hired another assistant and her name is Siobhan. When Siobhan makes her entrance, there is playful music, and she introduces herself very confidently as you can see in her physical mannerisms, such as the sly smile she gives Kara, and the way she holds herself high. The camera angles in this scene perfectly set the women up to be each other’s match.
The boss, Cat Grant, then calls Siobhan assistant number #1 and Kara assistant #2, which clearly confuses Kara since she had been working for Cat much longer than Siobhan. We also see Kara and Siobhan both offer Cat some coffee, but it is clear that Siobhan is made out to be the superior assistant, since she makes a comment about personally hand-pressing the coffee herself. Then, we see Cat call Siobhan to follow her into her office and again, she calls her assistant #1. Kara continues to look at Siobhan, and Siobhan looks back, flipping her hair.
The gender stereotype shown here is the rivalry between women. From the moment the two meet, we get the instant feeling that they have met their match. Siobhan immediately tries to win over their boss with coffee, and Cat also literally places them in a hierarchy by calling Siobhan assistant #1, and Kara assistant #2. Siobhan also gives Kara several looks to show her that Cat likes her best, and she even flips her hair in the end to show that she came out on top in this scene. As the viewers, we get the sense that this is only the start to a very competitive relationship between the two women.
The gender stereotype comes from the fact that society places pressures on women to be better than other women in every way. When Siobhan comes in, we see that she is a beautiful, young, woman and she is even physically taller than Kara. This makes Kara compare herself to Siobhan, which makes her feel insecure about her position at work, because Siobhan is presented as being the favorite. Although she doesn’t say it out loud, we know that Kara is upset because she breaks her phone. Ultimately, this scene in Supergirl not only shows the stereotype that women are always competing against other women, but that they are also comparing themselves to other women too.