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Meet the New “Power Woman”

Today’s Power Woman is manifested in popular culture as a positive, gutsy role model, breaking new ground and inspiring conversation and debate about women’s role in society.

In our recent Deep Dive report, we explored the Content Network, that dynamic web of cultural activity that makes up the world of the Power Woman:


The modern Power Woman is strong-minded and balances traditionally feminine qualities with traditionally masculine ones. More and more frequently, we are seeing examples of women who embody life balance, confidence and dominance celebrated in popular culture. The Power Woman displays strength through her trailblazing behavior and speaks up against oppression. In both fictional and real world examples, the positive archetype of the Power Woman is being manifested in a growing number of areas throughout culture.

In contrast to the Power Woman image that emerged in the 1980s (think Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl), today’s Power Woman is manifested in popular culture as a positive, gutsy role model, breaking new ground and inspiring conversation and debate about women’s role in society.

Marisa Mayer, who announced her pregnancy within one day of being introduced as Yahoo!’s new CEO; Russia’s gutsy punk feminist protestors Pussy Riot; and The Hunger Games’  Katniss Everdeen are all part of this new generation of Power Woman. Female Olympic boxers? Power Women.  First female inductees to the Augusta National Golf Club? Power Women. In fact, you don’t need to look far to start noticing that the Power Woman is everywhere.

And while much of the conversation around Power Woman has been given to women managing career and family, following Anne-Marie Slaughter’s debate-inspiring essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, we are also seeing new conversations pop up that take the women and family question to another dimension: Should women marry at all? Do women even need men?

In fact, the role of men vis-a-vis the Power Woman will continue to gain steam. After all, the rise of the Power Woman tracks very closely to the growing number of stay at home dads and what The New York Times calls the “Seesaw Couple,” a configuration in which each partner takes turns being the breadwinner depending on changing family conditions. 

No doubt the conversation will evolve in the months ahead. The elections will bring women’s issues front and center, while new books like Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men and the Rise of Women and Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, as well as new television series like Girls and the PBS broadcast of Half the Sky will fuel the cultural energy around the Power Woman.

As the recent hijacking of the Amazon reviews for Bic for Her Pens amply demonstrates, women will not be condescended to by businesses or brands.  And with a record number of women standing for Congressional seats, watch out for more Power Woman action come 2013. 

sparks & honey is a next generation agency that helps brands synchronize with culture. Download our Power Woman Deep Dive report here.

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