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Breaking Bad: How The Show Deals With Gender And Violence

1651 words - 7 pages

In many ways the inception of the television has been a growing phenomenon in our history, cultivating many moments that changed the view of how we preserve what influences us and how we become who we are. The television has since become so important in people’s lives showcasing films, news, shows, commercials, etc. estimating a whopping 96% universal presence in U.S. households (David Croteau, 2014) one can wonder if what is shown in television is a product of the environment or the product of the viewer. This brings me to two major themes in media, women and violence, and how it might have a connection towards what viewers seem to relate too. In this case the examination of the critically acclaimed show Breaking Bad and in particular its protagonist Walter White and his wife Skyler White and how the show deals with the issue of violence and gender.
When delving into Breaking Bad one must ask what ideology is. According to David Croteau and William Hoynes, ideology is “basically a system of meaning that helps define and explain the world” although as much as ideologies reflect the world, most of the time it shows it in a distorted way. So what is the position of contemporary media? Well for the most part in order to understand the ideology of media you must look into its history, older media such as the television programs of the 1950s and early 1960s, which were primarily focused on white casts and male leads (David Croteau, 2014). For example the shows Gunsmoke and Bonanza which ran from 1955 to 1975 and 1959 to 1973 respectively, both shows are western programs and both shows have white casts with male leads, also both shows feature woman as side characters to the male lead. Viewing the television series now is pretty easy to see how things have changed in terms of the diversity of the casting but have the roles of modern characters changed? The answer to that comes with mix results as the modern western world have sets of equals and unequal which is to say that woman and man may feel equal but alas are not (Guantlett, 2008). Are we still in the same situation as say the 1950s, no, but the closer we get to making equality possible the more it’s in our faces when it’s not equal. Which brings me to the golden age of television or the anti-hero era as many has coined it. Starting with the protagonist of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano to the greasily serial killer Dexter to the drug kingpin Walter White; the villain has taken over the television drama. In many ways the male lead has gotten stronger over the years and Author Brett Martin explores this idea of the male anti-hero which leads to the question “where are the woman?” Breaking Bad seems to have given a female (in this case Anna Gunn) a strong lead in the show but as much importance that is given to her, her character still revolves around Walter White.
For starters Breaking Bad is about a high school teacher, Walter White, who is an elderly man that has a special needs son and a pregnant...

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