Introducing a new blog series that curates pop culture storylines for changemakers.
At AndACTION, we know that pop culture can help social change communicators draw more attention to their causes. People’s brains are hard-wired for stories — and pop culture is a lens through which we see the world. So pop culture influences the way we think about issues, which communicators can use to their strategic advantage.
But what to watch? There are more choices than ever today, which is why we’re introducing WATCH IT, an ongoing series highlighting TV shows and movies that address social issues or topical themes. That way, you’ll know just what to watch to use pop culture to amplify the issues you care about.
We’re kicking it off with some new and ongoing TV shows featuring strong women role models. As organizations continue advocating for gender equality on numerous fronts, storylines with resilient female characters can help create a social norm and challenge stereotypes. Plus, great stories about strong women are one of our favorite things.
Admit it: On the heels of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, you can’t wait to see what Michelle Wolf does next, and neither can we. Nothing is sacred to Wolf — including the concept of movies with a strong female lead. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’ll watch anything made by Ava DuVernay and we are super excited about season 3 of “Queen Sugar.” The new season boasts an all-female directing team telling the ongoing story of three siblings — including some very strong-willed yet very human women — who are determined to save the family sugar farm while wrestling with their own personal challenges.
It’s right there in the theme song: “Females are strong as hell.” With her relative naiveté and cheerful spunk, Kimmy doesn’t necessarily fit the strong woman role model archetype — which is exactly why we think she’s great. As the final season unfolds, Kimmy’s bizarre coming-of-age-story will surely stay sharp instead of sappy thanks to the sardonic humor we’ve come to expect from creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
Timing is everything, and this new show takes on some of the thorniest issues facing women in the current moment: patriarchy, misogyny, rape culture and unrealistic beauty standards. A wickedly funny satire starring Joy Nash and Julianna Margulies, “Dietland” promises to be full of unexpected stories about how women deal with rage and pain in the modern world.
We’ve been fans of this show from the start for the way it tackles ageism in the workplace. “Younger” has only gotten better with age, so we have high hopes for the show’s 5th season — and for Liza’s persistently plucky resolve to challenge the status quo in work and in love.
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Mena Suvari and Jennifer Bartels, “American Woman” tells the story of an unconventional mother struggling to raise her two daughters after leaving her husband in the midst of second-wave feminism in the 1970s. We expect this show to be an entertaining reminder of how hard women had to fight — and still do — for their own independence.
BBC America; streaming on Amazon and iTunes
Another show with a nearly all-female team — and starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer — “Killing Eve” tells the stereotype-busting story of two women who are equally obsessed with each other: an MI-5 security officer and a talented killer. Season 1 just wrapped, making this a great time for a binge watch as these two women face off in an epic game of cat and mouse.
For guidance on putting these storylines to work, check out some of our tips on using pop culture in social sector communication. You can also get in touch with us at info@andaction to learn more about how your organization can use pop culture in its communication.
– By Amy Lynn Smith for AndACTION