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Gender Roles in Modern Family

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Ryan Wardell

on 9 December 2012

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Transcript of Gender Roles in Modern Family

J. Bryan Lowder
Colombia Political Review “In the end, Modern Family and other shows like it cannot hope to be politically progressive on all fronts; yet, in being playfully aware of their own stereotypes and conventions, they do have the important opportunity to provide a space for cultural criticism, and possibly even change. The danger, as always, is that certain segments of the audience will only catch the occasional gay or racial joke; but in Modern Family, the sitcom is at least attempting to present a truthful image of the modern American family: an image that is demographically diverse, politically imperfect, and, perhaps best, deeply, consistently, and lovingly funny.” How Modern is "Modern Family" Really? Discourse Analysis Theory The main theory behind this analysis is that discourse constantly shapes us as well as is
constantly shaped by us.

This means that while we are affected by the discourse we encounter, we also influence the discourse around us. Discourse Analysis Tools Prosody: the ways in which the words and sentences of a text are said; their pitch, loudness, stress, and the length assigned to various syllables, as well as the way in which the speaker hesitates and pauses.

Reference (Homophoric): A situation in which the identity of an item can be retrieved by reference to cultural knowledge.

Significance: How are words and grammatical devices being used to build up or lessen significance for certain things and not for others?

Identities: What socially recognizable identity or identities is the speaker trying to enact or get others to recognize through his/her use of language? What identities does the speaker recognize for others? How is the speaker positioning others?
Season 1, Episode 1 JAY: "Like a man. A man knows its not appropriate to go around showing your emotion all the time."
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CAMERON: "Yes, Mitchell will be keeping his dental practice and I'll be home full-time, but that does not make me "the wife." Sure, I gained a few pounds while we were expecting the baby, but that was stress.”
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MITCHELL: “Maybe she just can't fall asleep unless she feels a woman's shape. That orphanage was all women.”CAMERON: “I guess that's possible.”Mitchell tries to hand Lily to Cameron.CAMERON (CONT'D): “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”MITCHELL: “I just thought—“CAMERON: “What, that I'm more womanly?”MITCHELL: “Now you're sensitive about that? It wasn't a problem on Halloween when you just had to be Sarah Palin and I was stuck all night in that John McCain harness.
Season 1, Episode 1 cont. JAY: "You know what, Manny, no it wasn't stupid. It was fantastic. You took a big swing and I respect the hell out of that. C'mon, let's go get some lunch. Anywhere you want to go.
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MITCHELL: "I've got good reason to be nervous. I'm having flashbacks to when I told my family I was gay. My mom cried for a week and my Dad still does this thing where he announces himself before walking into any room we're in to make sure he doesn't see anything." Season 1, Episode 2 PHIL: “My son, who is a boy, is riding a girl’s bike.”
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JAY: (To Luke) "Nice bike, Sally." Conclusion: In the end, the goal of the show is to make money, and race, gender, and sexuality jokes bring the viewership. Within the genre of the comedy, Modern Family perpetuates some stereotypes, although relative to other tv shows is progressive and does a good job at giving moral lessons and occasionally breaking down stereotypes too.
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