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"Compare how the representation of gender is constructed by the characters' appearance and dialogue in your two television programmes."

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Introduction

Second Question in Textual Analysis Paper Media Studies Mr Daley Hannah Partridge 12C/MD1 "Compare how the representation of gender is constructed by the characters' appearance and dialogue in your two television programmes." Firstly, the representation of gender is different from the representation of sex. The biological and physical differences between men and women are referred to as the 'Sex' whilst 'gender' refers to the different male and female cultural roles 'masculine' and feminine' gender roles. The 'comedy' sitcom 'Friends' is an American programme that is based around everyday situations. The motivation for this sitcom is to make the viewer laugh through being shown different types of relationships. The location of 'Friends' is set in the city; the viewer understands this by the few establishing shots the sitcom presents and the busy lifestyle which the majority of characters uphold. There are a variety of characters within this sitcom creating a unit which the programme revolves around. The first main character of six is 'Monica'. This is an important character because often the humour will revolve around her, due to the fact that she is an obsessive busy-body. Monica is an excitable, loud person who requires everything to be clean and tidy to exactness. She is a typical 'Type A' individual, which means that she likes to be in control and dreads the thought of losing control. Monica will be inclined to get stressed out if she cannot do something to perfection. She is extremely competitive and is not 'instinctively' sensitive of others feelings. A good example of this is in the opening sequence of the programme; she is standing in the kitchen (which is an iconic signifier, women are ...read more.

Middle

The nanny 'Sandy' is a man doing a stereotypical woman's job (caring for children). Ross is clearly threatened by 'Sandy' being in his home and caring for his child. Ross gets so wrapped up in the idea that it is wrong for a man to do a feminine job that he and Rachel (who absolutely adores Sandy) argue and become very tense around one another. Ross obsesses over the way Sandy presents himself and the way he talks, in the belief that he is homosexual. It is humorous for the viewer when watching Ross, because his jealousy of Sandy is so strong that, after a short time, it is all that he can talk about. Sandy is very emotional, much like Rachel. Moreover, they get on well for the reason that they have a lot in common, since Sandy is so womanly. Ross is so threatened by Sandy's understanding of women's needs and his sensitivity that he feels he has to fire him. Ross gets so infuriated by everybody's love of the nanny that he storms out of the flat, portraying childish behaviour. This is an indexical signifier of the spoilt child within. The issues for Phoebe are problems that are stereotypically thought of as a male's situation. Phoebe is with a partner 'Mike', in a fairly happy relationship. They are at the point of exchanging house keys, which is symbolic and is an indexical signifier of their love and commitment to each other. Then an old ex- boyfriend of Phoebe's comes along and they kiss. The kiss stirs up some competitive tension between the two men. ...read more.

Conclusion

Jane perceives herself to be superior to everybody else, and she has no problem expressing that. The chief locations in 'Coupling' are the wine bar; which is associated with the women. This location is an indexical signifier of female sophistication, the pub, which is an indexical and iconic signifier of male non-sophistication. 'Coupling' reinforces gender types more than 'Friends'. In 'coupling' the women feel they need a man around to be handy around the house. The humour in 'Coupling' sitcoms tended to revolve around gender differences. The narrative for 'Coupling' was more basic and focused on small issues, except blew them out of proportion. There was actually just one storyline to the 'Coupling' episode, moreover that was Patrick's failure had made Sally very self conscious. Steve went around to his girlfriend's Susan's place expecting to find Susan there; but much to his surprise Sally, came into the room wearing just a towel after being in the shower. Typically, her towel dropped to the floor, which may perhaps be an indexical signifier for sexual movement. Steve, who was positioned behind her, saw her bottom and there was a slight awkwardness for a short time. Sally's personality then transformed into a confident, seductive woman who responded well to making Steve complement her on her appearance; she was seeking acceptance as most women do. In the end everybody found out about Patrick's failure, because Susan wanted to know why Sally had behaved so appallingly to her boyfriend. Sally's reasoning was that she felt so self conscious and now she knew that it wasn't due to her imperfection that Patrick had a malfunction. 'Friends' narrative was far more complex, with 3 storylines in the one episode. 'Friends' is more glamorised than 'Coupling' due to the fact that it is an American sitcom. ...read more.

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