Trailer Park, an entertainment and content marking agency, decided to take a closer look at the social mechanisms behind the trend in its latest study, “Nobody’s Damsel: A Study on Modern Women on TV and the Audiences Who Watch Them.” The study took the 36 women leads from across 17 of the highest-rated, women-centric dramas and sampled 1,200 viewers of those shows. Researchers then asked the group what traits and story lines they preferred for female versus male characters.
When it came to story lines, those aged 13-17 (Generation Z) were more likely to prefer non-traditional gender roles for both male and female characters as opposed to those who were 25 and older. For example, the younger respondents said they would like to see a TV show revolve around a man who moves to a big city after a bad breakup to find love, or one featuring a woman doctor and her residents at a major hospital.
Gen Z was also much more likely to espouse progressive views than those over 25, and were most likely out of all age groups to strongly identify as feminist. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed self-reported as feminist compared to 16 percent of those aged 25-34. The study put forth:
Gen Z may be the start of a larger cultural shift in television viewing preferences where gender equality will be expected rather than a notable exception.