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An important factor in sitcoms is gender and gender stereotypes.

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Introduction

An important factor in sitcoms is gender and gender stereotypes. In many early sitcoms, there were two main gender roles: the role of the male who works during the day and provides for the family, and the role of the female who took care of the children and the house, and tentatively cared for her husband after his 'long, hard day' at work. It would be expected that gender stereotypes such as these would have changed with the times, yet it can be seen in many modern day sitcoms that rhis is not the case. In one of this generation's most popular TV shows, 'The Simpsons', it is easy to find these stereotypes. Just by taking a glance at the show you see that it portrays the typical image of the "traditional American family" of the last decade: the mother stays home to cook, clean and take care of the kids, while the husband provides for the family. ...read more.

Middle

Meanwhile Lisa stays home and has fun by going to work with her dad. What's the message here? "Boys go off and do crazy things, but girls must stay home, close to the family". Bart is always the one who has all the adventures and does all the exciting funny things, where Lisa is the shy/intelligent one always getting him out of trouble. She never holds any grudges, while Bart is verbally abusive to her a lot of the time and always gets his revenge on anyone who has crossed his path - in other words "girls; you be silent, boys; you have the right to do anything". The children are not the only characters who can be discussed in terms of gender representation, the adults are also classic cases. As mentioned before, Marge (the mother) is a housewife; she never directly disagrees with Homer (her husband/the father), and she's always the one spoiling the children. ...read more.

Conclusion

How about cooking for his kids... wouldn't that make him a good father? It was incredible the way Homer made every skill that would have helped Marge get a job seem so useless and unimportant. In conclusion, I think that 'The Simpsons', as representative of modern sitcoms today, reinforce gender stereotypes rather than subvert them, especially those that date back to as early as the 1950's when television first became available. One of the main objectives of a sitcom is too entertain the audience and give them the opportunity to laugh at aspects of themselves, as the characters are representative of the audience. This makes us, the audience, feel secure in our own worlds. Yet I find this slightly contradictory, as mankind has generally lost the label of stereotype and we now live fundamentally as individuals in our society. We, as a whole, no longer lead the gender roles which are emphasised in early sitcoms, and which are still emphasised in general today. ...read more.

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