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To What Extent Has British (Or American) Television Been Successful In Providing Programmes For Diverse Audiences?

1431 words - 6 pages

In this essay I am going to talk about the way in which American television has been successful in providing programmes for female viewers. I will discuss the ways in which American television programmes have provided women viewers with successful role models and provided programmes which are of interest for them.I will talk about sitcoms that have been made with a female audience in mind. I will also write about talk shows and soaps which are also aimed at a female audience.At first television programmes were made with men as the lead characters and women just played a supporting role but over time the programmes changed and women started playing a bigger part. The first programmes that were made for women were about the home and romance."A conservative vision of work and family life affirms the traditional division of men and women into separate 'spheres', where women primarily occupy the private sphere of the home and men the public sphere of the paid labor force"(Margaret J. Heide, Television Culture and Women's Lives 1995)This is saying that women are traditionally shown as being in the home whilst the men are out at work earning money for the family. This is how it is shown on tv but since the 1960's there has been a change in womens lives. Their focus has moved from the home to the workplace as more and more women get jobs outside of the home. With this television has had to change too to keep up with the times and to keep womens interest in the programmes they are watching.In "I Love Lucy" the main character Lucy is a housewife but unhappy and wants to be able to perform on stage with her husband. She tries all sorts of things to be able to do this. This was one of the first programmes for women to show as being unhappy as just a housewife and wanting to do something more. It made women want to get out of the home and into the workplace.There are several American television programs which have been influential in changing programmes that have been made for women and the storylines in them.Often on television, especially American, women are shown as being the weaker sex in a male dominant world. They are often background characters or fit into a typical stereotype of needing a male to help them do simple tasks or the typical 'blonde' ditzy woman.Some programmes have been made which show the woman in a dominant role and as superior to the male characters. Two examples of this are Cagney and Lacey and Sex and the City.When "Cagney and Lacey" was made and first shown during the 1980s it was an original programme in that it showed women as police detectives in America. It featured a role reversal with women in a traditionally male profession. Although they had male superior officers they were still high up in the police force and in a position of authority. It showed women as being able to have both a family and a successful career."Sex and the City" provided viewers with an insight into the life of four successful single women living in New...

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