Television ranks as one of the most watched entertainment agents of all times throughout the world. It forms one of the most crucial means of communication used in the world today. An average American uses more than 33 percent of his time watching television than any other leisure activity. In most incidences, the television forms an important part of Americans’ life. Between the two genders, women form the largest television audience partly because of their affiliated gender roles, and their attachment to household chores. Further, women are likely to watch television more than men based on the type of programs aired are. Television adds up as an agent of socialization in the fact that it transmits cultural values and norms from one generation to the other. People, especially the young, look up to the program actors as role models. Programs aired on television portray different genders in different roles and dictates which roles a viewer will take in life. Television does not require any special skills like literacy and does not discriminate against individual.
This makes it a unique entertainment tool (Tv.com n.p). I decided to analyze ‘My wife and kids’ comedy due to its deep engendered division of roles in comparison with the current trend of gender inequality issues and the fight for abolition of gender discrimination. Further, the drama highlights some improvement milestones achieved in the fight against gender discrimination in the realms of TV broadcasting. In addition, the drama depicts a mockery of the fight against gender stereotyping in media. My wife and kids comedy Television show depicts a family made up of mother, father, kids, and grandkids. The comedy highlights a typical family in a home setting and the issues that surround domestic life like holidays, marriage issues, gender roles and other family life activities. As the show suggests, the family’s gender division of roles raises the central thematic concern, which is happiness. At the centre of the comedy are the social settings that dominate the scenes of the show that depict a family life full of laughter and indifferences. The comedy features a middle-class American family full of life and promises (“My Wife and Kids” np).
The paper analyzes the following in the methodology section: representation of each gender, types of roles occupied, authority assumed by each gender, physical fitness, dressing in terms of scanty dressing and creativity and innovativeness portrayed by the characters in the drama. By physically counting the number of male characters and female characters in the drama and the speaking lines done by each gender, I found out that females outnumber the males but males have the highest number of speaking parts in all the episodes. According to my estimations, men occupy 65% of the speaking done in the whole drama. Whether the men are young in age or are not well-endowed body wise, they command the higher speaking parts in the four episodes of the drama. By taking headcounts of the characters involved in the drama, I will use the height and body build to measure the age. Further, I will apply the most frequent speaker to gauge who is more authoritative in a conversation pitying a male and a female character. In addition, the amount of body coverage will be used to determine who is scantily dressed. According to the episodes in the drama, females outnumber the men characters.
Despite, this, men do most of the speaking and almost take three of every five lines in the drama. In the drama, the extended family is composed of three men and three females. The nuclear family is composed of two males and three females. The rest of the characters fall out of the family line and represent women characters as the majority. This is a contrast to Renzetti and Curran’s argument that females occupy a small proportion of television episodes characters. On the other hand, it provides a changed perspective of the way people traditionally viewed gender representation in television broadcasts (Renzetti and Curran 152). Through analyzing and taking notes of the roles played by each character in the drama, I found out that the roles occupied by female characters are subtle to those of men, despite their high number in the episodes. Men take up the higher proportion of speaking as seen in the conversations between a male and a female character. Through taking up the majority of the speaking, men are able to control the nature of the conversations by guiding on the topics to be discussed.
Men in the drama dictate holiday trips to be taken, when they will be taken, activities undertaken during the holiday and other minor activities within the extended family. Further, roles of men are depicted as masculine and that require energy as opposed to the simple roles female characters take in the drama. For example, the father of the house takes up the renovation of the garage assisted by his son and excludes the son’s wife. The contractor who takes the job of repairing the family’s house is a man. In addition, women’s roles in the drama are confined to child rearing and kitchen roles. For example, the mother of the house cooks while the husband is away. The son’s wife always stays with the child while the father of the child goes diving. On the same point, women are seen as young as compared to the males (“My Wife and Kids” np). This seems to be in line with Renzetti and Curran’s position on the role of women in television broadcasts (Renzetti and Curran 153). Male characters are also portrayed as well dressed as opposed to females who dress scantily in order to please the men.
This was arrived at through using the proportion of body cover in each of the genders via the analysis of types of outfits female by the characters. Male characters in the drama are always dressed in suits while female characters are always dressed in mini-skirts, tops exposing their breasts cleavage and other scanty clothing. For example, while cooking, the mother of the house is only clothed in panties while the man is clothed in a long-sleeved shirt and trousers. Female characters also use make-ups as one way of enhancing their beauty. For example, in the karaoke competition the female characters are scantily dressed and apply make-ups to sway the decision of the men to their favor. In addition, female characters in the drama are more appreciative of comments about their clothing than are male. Through analysis and observation of roles and activities each gender participates in, male characters are displayed as being more physically fit than the female characters. For example, the father of the house attends gym that is full of weight lifting men and trains daily while the wife is left at home. According to this scene, gym and weight lifting are the confines of men.
Some comments used by male characters portray male characters as agile and ready to face opponents while the female characters are more reserved and afraid of the male. Further, female characters are depicted as thin and lacking the masculine capability of the male. Thinness is associated with female attractiveness, while masculinity is associated with men’s capability to protect the women. This discriminates women and puts them at the whims and mercies of men. The male characters in the drama are depicted as creative and innovative as compared to female characters that rely on men to make the crucial decisions. For example, during a visit to the talk show about philosophy, the speaker is a male character. The painting is argued to have stemmed from the ideas of a man that is replicated. Female characters are also seen as stupid and understanding. For example, the father of the house explains the word contractor and its implications to the wife. During the philosophy talk, the young male character explains the meaning of philosophy to his girlfriend. Further, the female characters are more occupied with romance and use sexual relationships to get what they want from men. On the other hand, men characters seem to be more occupied with other activities much to the exclusion of romance in their relationships.
In the drama, men seem to complain about the sexual addiction of their partners. For example, the son complains about the sexual addiction of the wife to the father. The mother of the house uses sex deprivation to the husband to keep the husband at home when he threatens to go away. In addition to the addiction, female characters seem to dress scantily as one way of influencing the men’s decisions. This is as a result of their mental perception that sex can be used to get what they want. This portrayal of women as sexually oriented characters in the drama augers well with Renzetti and Curran’s arguments about the nature of female characters depiction in television broadcasts. Further, it creates a gendered stereotype of women as depicted in the drama and in real life situations (Renzetti and Curran 153). The drama, My Wife and Kids, is displays racial segregation based on its lack of colored characters. Most of the characters are either white Americans or black Americans but there exist no character with any other racial affiliation.
This poor representation of races in the drama depicts Renzetti and Curran’s argument that TV broadcasts and shows still exhibit racial and ethnic stereotypes and underrepresentation. On the other hand, the drama does not have a physically challenged character. This also displays the poor representation of the minority groups in the drama and many other TV broadcasts. Further, other minority groups like lesbians and gays are not represented as all characters in the drama show straight sexual orientations (Renzetti and Curran 154). In conclusion, the drama My Wife and Kids supports most of the assumptions drawn by Renzetti and Curran.
Gender discriminative roles, authority bestowed on men characters, sexual inclination of female characters and scant dressings by female characters are all supported by the drama. Despite the change in the number of female characters in the drama, the rest of the arguments posted by Renzetti and Curran are true and supported in the drama. Thus, I agree with the arguments by Renzetti and Curran about gender discrimination in Television airing. Gender portrayal is somewhere in between the middle. This is represented by the few changes in females’ representation in TV shows although marred by other discriminative tendencies. A closer look at the show has helped me to pick out gender discriminative issues plaguing the TV shows in the country and gender stereotyping although marginal in magnitude.