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Major Female Influences in Popular Culture


Written by Jessica Shelburne

From literature and art to music and film, men dominated every aspect of popular culture until women forced their way into the spotlight and exhibited their own talent and importance. Every woman is relevant in the fight for equality, but there are some women in particular whose effort and essence change the face of pop culture for example. The list is innumerable, but the following three are very different representations of how women have positively influenced popular culture content.

Marilyn Monroe is a prime example of someone who disobeyed the conventional standards of her time in favor of personal expression and unforeseen femininity. Her involvements in film and music revealed her sparkling disposition and unashamed display of sexuality. As she gained recognition, her time spent as the center of attention magnified and she was labeled an American sex symbol, which many deem a negative quality, but really it just spoke for her persistence to break out of the traditional confinements and standards to which women were tightly bound.

Wonder Woman was not the first comic character with superpowers, but she is one that changed typical comic content by providing a strong and equally competent feminine presence. Between every comic book character ending in -Man, there was very little room for women in the fantastical realm of individuals who save the world with their abilities. Wonder Woman interrupted this trend by demonstrating in an otherwise masculine arena that women, too, can outsmart death and look cute while doing it. From her original state as a DC comic character to the latest adaptation starring Gal Gadot (2017), Wonder Woman continues to empower women through her display of strength, confidence, and intellect.

Oprah Winfrey and her massively successful career are a visual representation of what it looks like to shatter the glass ceiling. Despite the poverty and instability that encompassed her childhood, Oprah pursued her dreams and strove for excellence, and is now the richest African American woman in the world. But riches aside, Oprah uses her platform in business and entertainment media to express compassion to others through social reform and awareness. Her foundation alone is a reminder of what perseverance can achieve and a reflection of how professional female empowerment can benefit many people.