Masculinities In A Sitcom Series, How I Met Your Mother Gender And Comunication Assignment

1120 words - 5 pages

The situation comedy, or the “sitcom,” is an established part of daily television. Prime time is rife with them; some are considered classics and others are quoted long after they are off the air. How I Met Your Mother is one of the current hit comedy series that went on for ten seasons, showing the lives of Ted and his four best friends, Marshall, Lily, Robin, and Barney, living in Manhattan, primarily through flashbacks. Ted, in the year 2030, recounts to his daughter and son the story of how he met their mother. The comedy in this show is rooted in real-life, real-world situations to which an audience can relate: dating, marriage, friendships, and careers. These familiar situations are the epitome of why a sitcom is successful. The recent media and political discussions surrounding the definitions of “marriage” and “family” create opportunities for prime-time television series to address these issues in a way that may challenge the dominant ideologies of Americans: what a “man” is, who a man “should” be with, what a man “should” do. Not only does it reflects American ideology but also work to shape that ideology. Because the comedy in the show is overtly presented by the womanizing character, Barney Stinson, this analysis aims to determine if Barney reinforces or challenge and ambiguously debate the traditional hegemonic masculinities.
The emphasis of Barney’s character on exploits with women gratifies means of masculinity perpetuation- the blatant sexual objectification of women. (Bird, 1996) His lack of interest in developing legitimate relationships with any of the women he sleeps with maintains his promiscuous sexual identity; his heterosexuality is made obvious. An important marker of Barney’s sexual objectification of women is his “Playbook.”, a collection of characters and pick-up lines that Barney uses over the course of the series to successfully get woman into his bed, which immediately marginalizes women. Women are to be used as objects and “played” with until Barney is satisfied; the women Barney uses his plays on are not expected to figure out his bluff or turn him down because they should not have the mental capacity to question his character’s claims. This contributes not only to his hegemonic masculinity as defined by his dominance over women, but it also promotes competition. Barney tracks the statistics of various plays, determining their success rate like we would treat a competitive sport.  
While his sexual identity with women is perpetuated in his Playbook, his identity in homosocial situations is maintained by his “Bro Code.”, a book written by Barney that are guidelines to outline the acceptable behavior in particular situations as well as the behaviors that will result in being ostracized or the questioning of sexual identity. The man who adheres to the Bro Code dominates women and establishes his dominance in homosocial situations. This man is confident enough in his masculinity and sexual identity to develop close...

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