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Chambers, A., 2020.

Representing Women of Science in Film and TV

Output Type:Chapter in a book
Publication:The Palgrave Handbook of Women and Science

Historically, women scientists have limited representation on screen regardless of whether they are real or imagined, and they are often defined by their male counterparts and framed as 'sci-candy' and 'plain brains' rather than fully realised scientists. Whether as protagonists or secondary characters, women scientists are still relatively infrequent, thus the popular dialogue surrounding them tends to focus upon specific examples, such as Dana Scully (The X-Files) and the so-called 'Scully Effect', rather than quantitative analysis that is possible when considering the pervasive depiction of men in science. This paper analyses the changing nature of the representation of women in fictional science-based entertainment media despite the proclivity for male written and directed stories. Recent examples such as Hidden Figures (2016), Black Panther (2018), and Annihilation (2018) position diverse women scientists as protagonists within a community of professional, capable women showing that women scientists and women-led science-based stories do not constitute a barrier to critical and financial success.