The Representation Of Male And Female Characters In Two Comedies

2348 words - 9 pages

The Representation of Male and Female Characters in Two Comedies

Situation comedies as a whole are a conservative representation of
life mainly due to the fact they are screened at prime family times
and want as large an audience as possible so try not to be too
controversial. This means they very rarely challenge the status quo
and re-enforce stereotypes. I am looking at how male and female
characters are represented and whether the way they are represented
challenges the stereotypes associated with gender differences.

The two situation comedies I have chosen are ‘Friends’ and ‘Man About
The House’. As Friends was made decades after Man About The House it
gives us a good insight into how male and female representations and
attitudes towards the roles of males and females has changed over the
last 30 years. Man about the house was produced during a time of
women’s liberation whereas Friends is set in post-feminine times. As
well as showing us the difference in attitudes towards gender over
time they also show us the difference in opinion from one side of the
Atlantic to the other. Friends is set in the heart of New York and Man
About the House is set in London, giving two different cultural
perspectives. Despite their cultural and time differences Friends and
Man About The House are comparable because they have a similar theme,
male and female characters living in the same house. This means that
they are both domestic sitcoms and show ‘the not quietness of
domesticity’ as John Hartley put it. They are also both hybrid
sit-coms, both are heavily centred round sex and relationships which
is more a trait of a work sitcom. Friends also does not have a
self-contained narrative which makes it almost a soap.

The title sequence is designed to give you a quick insight into what
the program is about, so any gender stereotyping in it makes a big
statement about how males and females are represented. In the Man
About the House title sequence one of the two lead women, Chrissy, is
seen loosing her shoe while getting bundled onto a bus. This portrays
her as being ‘dippy’ and ‘dizzy’ which does not challenge the
stereotype that women are the vulnerable gender. Jo, the other lead
female is seen leaving a tube station and a blind man takes of his
glasses to stare at her as she walks down the road empathising how
attractive she is meant to be. This however simply supports the
stereotype that women are sex objects. In the Friends title sequence
the man are portrayed doing macho poses whereas the women are seen
doing much more ‘girly’ poses like playing with umbrellas which does
little to promote the idea women are no longer jus pretty objects.

A huge drive for those protesting for women’s liberation was equal
rights in the work place, there should be just as many women in high
up jobs as...

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