We seem to be entering an era of influential women unlike anything we’ve seen in modern history

That may seem like a little bit of an exaggeration, but when you look at some of the trends in politics and influence these last few years, it’s an idea worth considering. To name just a few examples:

  • #WomenAreNATO – The #WomenAreNATO trends this site has discussed before sum up the activities of several women doing remarkable things in foreign and security affairs. Their actions are not necessarily “firsts,” but they represent a wave of women exerting power over areas that have for the most part been dominated by men in modern history.
  • The Women’s March – Faced with a president associated with infidelity, accusations of harassment and, by his own admission, sexual assault, women (and supportive men) throughout America famously conducted the “Women’s March” in one of the largest political demonstrations in history. This movement is largely credited with helping to sweep an unprecedented number of female leaders into the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.
  • Female Candidates In The U.S. – Continuing with American politics, the world is also about to watch a record number of female candidates vying for the presidency in 2020. In some countries this wouldn’t be new, but U.S. politics command a massive stage and influence the world, and it’s going to be quite something to see a race that involves so many women. Furthermore a few of them – senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, in particular – are believed to have a real chance to win.

There are more examples of women’s movements and growing roles around the globe. The focus here however isn’t entirely on what we’ve seen so much as how it might have come about. And to that point, it’s worth exploring the potential impact of pop culture here.

That may sound somewhat strange, but the reality of modern life is that pop culture exerts enormous influence over us. It helps to dictate how we act, what we pay attention to, what we value, and ultimately how we think. Given this, perhaps it isn’t so surprising that the international women’s movements listed above have largely coincided with a growing presence of women in some of our biggest pop culture mediums. Again, consider a few examples:

  • Hollywood Reboots – The past few years have seen numerous Hollywood films and concepts associated with male actors rebooted with women. For instance, Ghostbusters was resurrected with a Saturday Night Live-centric female cast. Ocean’s 8 continued the Ocean’s 11 legacy with an all-women crew. This coming summer, a film being dubbed “female Superbad is set to come out (starring none other than Beanie Feldstein, the sister of Superbad star Jonah Hill).
  • Superheroes – Continuing with Hollywood, we’ve also finally started to see women lead the way in superhero films, such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. Along the way they’ve also gained a bigger presence in the wider world of superhero entertainment. Some of the favorite games in the European-based online slot community now include Wonder Woman, and Captain Marvel has lately been prominently featured on Marvel’s vaunted mobile games. Slot reels and mobile games may seem like small potatoes, but they reach millions upon millions of fans, and they’re now showcasing female superheroes also.
  • Television Dramas – Stepping away from superheroes and Hollywood heroines, there’s also been a very distinct trend over the course of the last decade toward TV dramas that feature women in prominent political or government roles. From Homeland, to Veep, to the final season of House Of Cards – and even Game Of Thrones for that matter- television has embraced women in very powerful, very visible roles.

Now, it’s reductive to suggest that pop culture has caused any kind of women’s revolution around the world. The women of the real world, and the girls admiring them, deserve more credit than that. When you consider these examples and trends though, it’s interesting to wonder if there might be something to the connection.

Perhaps we’re seeing a glimpse of the positive impact of women having the same types of heroes men have had for decades to admire and emulate.


Eastern European Futures

In 2009, the European Union and six of its Eastern neighbours launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP) with the stated aim of building a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation. A decade on, however, progress has been mixed.

Visegrad Insight is published by the Res Publica Foundation. This special edition has been prepared in cooperation with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and supported by the International Visegrad Fund.

Download the report in PDF