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Feminism Case

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Over time, society has been exposed to many different representations of how gender roles should be portrayed, specifically what is socially appropriate for each gender. The media has been a sizable entity that has had a great influence on how the female sex should be evoked, and has done an exceptional job with doing so. It is clear that gender stereotypes are involved in almost every aspect of the media, both positive and negative. The analysis of three stereotypical binaries: Active/Passive, Public/Private, Logical/Emotional, will provide evidence through the two chosen TV shows: The Honeymooner's and The King of Queen's that gender stereotypes are present, however it is clear that these stereotypes are improving over time.

As defined in the text, Feminism is: "A political project that explores the diverse ways men and women are socially empowered or disempowered." (Ott & Mack, p.178) The mainstream media generally like to delineate Active/Passive gender stereotypes, which can be viewed in today's society as degrading. The active side of the binary can be recognized as the typical working male, an active and strong member of society, working with tools and driving powerful vehicles. The passive side of the binary portrays women as weak and fragile, making it seem as though women are not biologically structured to take the roll of a man. "Most women who appear in the media are young, white, able-bodied, middle- class, apparently heterosexual and conventionally attractive." (Gill, p.12) Thus, demonstrating the generalization of what is socially acceptable as a female gender role. In part 2 of the TV series The Honeymooner's episode 3 The Golfer, the audience is presented with well- sized hard working man coming home from work to his wife waiting for him by the dinner table. This scene alone can be recognized as the man playing the active roll, and the woman playing the passive roll. As contrast, in the modernized TV series The King of Queen's episode 11 Depo Man, the audience is shown Carrie the wife, coming in from a long day at work to her husband Doug waiting for her by the dinner table. It is clear that in The King of Queen's, the gender roles are reversed, the man takes on the passive role whereas the woman takes on the active role. Such examples show us that not only are gender stereotypes present in media, but that feminist theory has developed to show equality between the sexes.

Some gender stereotypes can also be based on Public/Private relation spheres. Media has played a big roll in developing stereotypes that portray women as the nurturing housewives, while men are the hard workers that bring in the money. "And whatever you do, don't mention anything about me becoming the new assistant traffic manager to Norton, you know what a big blabber mouth he is, he'll run home and tell Alice before I get a chance to." (Frank Sataenstein, 1951) This quote, taken from The Honeymooner's, exemplifies a perfect embodiment of the Public/Private stereotype. The public side of the binary for this specific example refers to the strong and active male character, considered to be the breadwinner for his family. The private side of the binary refers to the stay-at-home wife that has many responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and nurturing to do within a domestic private environment. Another example of the Public/Private binary can be seen in The Honeymooner's, part 2 of episode 3 The Golfer, the stereotype is set on the fact that women are supposed to stay at home to nurture the family, clean, etc. Because of this there are not many scenes where the wife is outside of her home, thus bringing the private aspect of the binary into light. In newer TV series such as The King of Queen's, plenty of scenes demonstrate the wife at work, at a restaurant, shopping, etc. Proving that although feminism is changing the media industry positively there are still gender stereotypes that are present.

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