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Gender On Television

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Walter White

on 23 April 2014

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Transcript of Gender On Television

Gender On Television
Television has always greatly impacted our daily lives, whether we've chosen to adknowledge that or not. We will be discussing the different ways it has done just that, including the depiction of cartoon characters and how they effect young viewers, the progression of gender roles in prime-time television, and how same-sex couples are showing up more and more often.
Children Cartoon TV Shows
Gender Role Progression: Females
Women in the 50's
Presented as (somewhat) ditzy, always dressed "properly", relied on men to take care of them, solely used as romantic/plot devices and/or comedic relief
Rarely ever seen as the "hero" to any degree
Usually portrayed as helpless and/or in need of a man
Women in today's world
Becoming more of a "powerful force" and less of a romantic device
Still seen as secondary characters but have more of a prominent role than ever before.
Gender Role Progression: Males
Male roles in the 50's
Seen as "the man in charge" or the main character; plots usually revolved solely around them
Had the main roles and more interesting or diverse plotlines.
Usually seen as the hero, regardless of how strong the women were
Male Roles in Today's Television:
More than ever shown as stay-at-home dads rather than the "bread-winners" of the family
This is still somewhat uncommon but has been showing up more than ever in recent years.
Still mainly the stars of many shows, but have become more of a romantic plot device for the female leads
Couples in Television
Symbolic Interaction
S.I. theory states that people modify their behavior based on the interaction and what is going on around them, they react and interact based on their perception of any given situation. The media behaves the same way, mirroring society's progression and how things change.
"Life imitates art; Art imitates life"

Ex. The more women make their presence known in the world, the more likely you are to see that played out on TV as well.
By: Alexis Rauscher, Maya Yurkovich, and Melissa Alcala
As we've now seen, animated shows once went from being strictly for children to having more adult-themed entertainment, women are becoming a force to be reckoned with, and society as a whole is becoming more comfortable with seeing same-sex couples on their TV screens.
Couples in TV have evolved from being just heterosexual to include LGBT couples
LGBT couples have switched from being characters in the background to being main ones
A study asked 1, 055 children ages 2-12 how should the character Bibi Blocksberg look like?

Children Drawings About Television
Adult Cartoon TV Shows
Social Learning Theory
Cultural Lenses

(American Culture)
Shows such as Glee, Pretty Little Liars and Modern Family feature gay characters
Difference between Hetero and LGBT couples on TV
There isn't much difference except the sex of the couples in the relationship: Male/Female, Male/Male, Female/Female, etc

"TV shows show the love and the way a LGBT relationship works. Its not any different than a straight relationship" (Kane, 2012)
There a certain evolution of Television
Society is full of mixed couples and TV is finally recognizing that
Relationships on TV
Straight couple
Loves and cares for one another
Male and female
LGBT couple
Loves and cares for one another
Male and male, female and female or another combination
No difference between the way they are towards one another
Its good that children get to see how the world works
From a little kids show
They get to see a mom and dad and two moms
How are LGBT characters and couples presented
sometimes shown as really flamboyant and feminine
sometimes shown as manly or masculine
Bisexuals & Transgenders
not shown as much on TV
Obviously not always shown this way

EX: Cam & Mitch, Steph & Lena
We choose what a family is and what each member is supposed to do
We base our family off of our interactions w/others
How Do People Feel About This?
Some people strongly dislike
"People are just watching TV to be entertained, not realizing that
their view of life is being twisted
in a way that's very
harmful to them and harmful to our culture
."-Bryan Fischer
Some people think its a learning experience
"...more and more Americans, sort of from the safety of their armchair, could
learn a bit about gay people
who they might not otherwise have learned from in real life," - Edward Schiappa
Its really up to the person
See that the world is changing
Stick to your beliefs
Stealing The Spotlight
The 1950's called, they want their sexism back
Have certain sitcoms reverted back to the 1950's mentality?
In shows like HIMYM or TBBT, the men are most often the ones that "come out on top" while the women are left with nothing.
Women in these types of shows are often only there as "eye candy", comedic relief, and/or to serve as a romantic subplot for the male leads.
It is rare for women in these shows to achieve any long-term success or happiness unless it is in the arms of a man or the man helped her get to that point.
A woman's "greatest achievement" is often still winning the affection of a man rather than meeting her own personal goals.
The Anti-Hero
What is an anti-hero?
An antagonist who lacks traditional heroic traits and/or goes to extreme and questionable measures to do the "right thing" for his family and/or what he believes is right.
Becoming a more and more popular trend in television in recent years.
The anti-hero is almost always a male, aged between 35 to mid-fifties, with a crumbling marriage that is constantly being forced to make questionable, life-altering decisions in order to keep control of the given situation.
"We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men."
Anti-Hero or Hormonal Villain?
When female anti-heroes "take control" and "make the tough decisions", their actions are usually brought on by deep personal issues or a dark past.
There are always excuses or reasons for their behavior that are much more personal than those of a male anti-hero.
It is very rare for a female hero or anti-hero to arise that does not have some sort of painful back-story.
Often labeled as "emotionally unstable"
Ex: Emily Thorne (Revenge) and Carol Peletier
Ex: Walter White (Breaking Bad) and Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)
In the last decade or two, more female ensemble shows have started to appear, flipping the script on how television has been done in the past with the women taking the lead rather than the men.
Many of these shows still revolve around the women's romantic lives, but there is more focus on their personal lives and achievements than ever before.
They are no longer just there for the entertainment of a man or to fall in love with one.
In recent years, women have also been shown taking on more dangerous or risky roles than they have in the past.
Changing The Image
Men were originally portrayed as well-groomed and/or strong individuals.
Always had everything taken care of and in order, always put-together, dependable. Often seen as the "strong, silent ones".
They have since become more flawed and relatable, having more realistic quirks and are not always portrayed as the stereotypical image of what a "real" man

McGhee and Frueh discovered that children who watch a lot of television tend to have stronger traditional sex-role development (Wallner, 1999).
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