Gender stereotypes in television shows. The two TV shows I will be referring to will be the Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and some of the course materials covered in class.

It is interesting to see that the female characters on Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are unemployed or stressed with life in some sort of way. Yet, the male characters are successful because they are professionally employed. Male characters tend to be much for successful with their lives compared to female characters on TV shows. For instance, Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother is a professional architect and Marshall Eriksen is a graduate from the Columbia Law School and has a high-class position in New York City. Conversely, Lily Aldrin (one of the few female characters on the show) changed her career to a kindergarten teacher from an artist because she could not afford to pay her bills on time. Why is it that male characters are more successful compared to female characters all the time? In fact, there are female characters that are successful but if they are then they tend to have a weakness that corresponds with it such as, poor academic education background or an unhealthy relationship with a loved one. Television shows definitely lack confident and strong female characters. Is this reality though? No. Look at the United Sates for example. From year to year, more and more women are becoming the breadwinners for their family. At times, female characters have more stable jobs compared to male characters. For this reason, female characters should not be portrayed in such weak, unsuccessful, and male-dependent images.

In in-class lectures, our class analyzed some characters in the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James. Like always, the male character is dominant towards the female character and the female character is submissive to the male character. The female is like an infant who wants to be in the “adult-like” male character’s arms. Hence, women are children and men are adults. The characteristics for male character in television shows are usually – dominant, competitive, and perfection. On the other hand, the characteristics for female characters tend to be – empathy, insecure financially, clumsiness, and beauty anxiety (Week 7 Lecture, 2013). I do not think these fixed images of what it is like to be a man and a woman is helpful in any shape or form to anybody. Who says that women have to be nurturing and men do not have to be? Mass media should balance out and control how much emphasis they put on the standard “characteristics” of a male and a female. Also, I do not think these messages sent out from mass media are healthy for young children as well. I think this because children today are grown up in environments where boys should not cry, play with toy trucks, and have blue colored rooms; whereas, girls are “allowed” to cry whenever they want, play with Barbie dolls, and have pink colored rooms filled with princess stickers. Why is it that girls cannot play with toy trucks and boys play with dolls? What is so weird about it? Clearly, society thinks these actions are abnormal. Again, this is an example of gender stereotypes. Media today should balance out how much emphasis they put on gender stereotypes.

Modern Family Poster:Image



2 thoughts on “Gender Stereotypes in TV Shows

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. As a preschool teacher I struggle to help children see themselves as people rather than as genders. The themes that enter their play as gendered are heavily influenced by those they are exposed to through popular media. Without censoring their play, I nonetheless make efforts to encourage the children to push beyond their perceived gendered boundaries.

  2. If only there were more teachers like you!! The importance of what you’re doing, encouraging your students not to define themselves primarily by gender, will have incredibly beneficial and (hopefully) long lasting effects. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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