FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Fall TV and gender stereotyping

   
Author Topic: Fall TV and gender stereotyping
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
One woman is fed up...with how men are portrayed.

Now, I know we've had discussions about "male rights" and what not in the past, that largely devolve into "quit crying," but I don't think this falls under the umbrella of male rights. It does however fall under the umbrella of our changing views about gender and the fundamental question of what it means to be a man in America today.

I think television is both a reflection and a creator of these ideas. It reflects our current trends, and creates new ones just by giving them voice. I also think the author of the article (a woman), makes a good point of contrast: You'd never see these sorts of shows regarding women. Now, I'm personally not even going to go as far as the author of that article in saying that men have it WORSE than women, but I would posit that it's equally bad, and that we've gotten "PC" enough to where dissing women on television is considered a faux pas (it's all about smart, sassy women now), but dissing men is standard practice, and we could see a point soon where the skew is an inverse of how it was in the 1960s.

We need to broaden our views, both men and women, of what it means to be a man, but even more so, I think men need more credit, more positive portrayals.

I keep thinking of Home Improvement, which some would point to as a precursor to shows like this, but I'm not sure I'd agree. Yes, it was about Tim Allen being the icon of manliness, but he was also a great father, a great husband, a good friend, despite the jokes on Tool Time he was actually extremely skilled. A lot of the show was about his emotionally development in his relationship with Jill, but, though less often, it was also about Jill's emotional development and acceptance rather than constant attempts to TRAIN Tim. Tim got many chances to be wiser than her. And then there's Al and Wilson. Wilson is super intelligent and a great friend. Al is very highly skilled, very loyal and incredibly in touch with his emotions. Despite Tim's ribbing, they're still best friends, and there's a tacit understanding that they're both acceptable, and by the end of the show, equal.

It doesn't feel like sitcoms (and all we're really talking about it sitcoms I suppose, since every other show is just perfect, highly attractive versions of both genders) have that balance any more. It's much more about pushing a negative stereotype. Men on sitcoms are more and more Kevin James parodies falling down all the time, while their wives pick them back up.

Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm conflicted.
I don't know whether to be annoyed that there are too many negative portrayals of men or to be annoyed that there are too few negative portrayals of Asian men, let alone positive ones [Wink]

Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I generally agree with you on this, Lyrhawn. You've seen Community, right? Best sitcom on television by far, in my opinion, and they certainly don't cleave to the "men are incompetent" any more than they do to "women are incompetent." Everyone on the show has times to shine, and everyone has times they fail.

Mucus, it even has an Asian man! Some people might not call him a positive portrayal, but they're just jealous. [Wink]

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Men on sitcoms are more and more Kevin James parodies falling down all the time, while their wives pick them back up.
Men on sitcoms are like women in rom-coms. I've always got the impression that useless 'I fall down a lot' female characters are often used in rom-coms and chick-lit to encourage female viewers to identify with the character and avoid jealousy when the character's life turns around and she gets the guy of her dreams.

Maybe this is a similar idea - that men will think 'Well, at least I'm better than that guy! My life isn't as bad as his!' and will keep watching. Kind of like how people watch medical shows and think 'Thank deity of choice that isn't me'.

Personally, I often find both types of character annoying, but I can understand the thinking behind the character at the development stage.

Posts: 1528 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Annie
Member
Member # 295

 - posted      Profile for Annie   Email Annie         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have two words for that author: Ron Swanson.
Posts: 8503 | Registered: Aug 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've always wondered what actual Libertarians think of Ron Swanson.
Posts: 4136 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Am I the only one here who doesn't watch Community?
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Probably, and you should feel awful about that.
Posts: 4136 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Aros
Member
Member # 4873

 - posted      Profile for Aros           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Modern Family also doesn't play this game.
Posts: 1204 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I've always wondered what actual Libertarians think of Ron Swanson.

[Wave] I've seen a bunch of little quotes and snippets of him, and they were amazing. He is the only reason I sat down to watch Parks & Recreation.

But he's not the star of the show, and the mainstay of the show is cringe-comedy, which is about my least favorite kind of comedy, so I've only watched a couple episodes.


quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
Probably, and you should feel awful about that.

Seriously. What is wrong with you? Do you have some sort of fundamental humor disability? Should we start a fund to research and cure it? We're your friends, Lyrhawn. We want you to be able to live a full, happy life. What can we do to help you overcome this crippling failing?
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
quote:
Men on sitcoms are more and more Kevin James parodies falling down all the time, while their wives pick them back up.
Men on sitcoms are like women in rom-coms. I've always got the impression that useless 'I fall down a lot' female characters are often used in rom-coms and chick-lit to encourage female viewers to identify with the character and avoid jealousy when the character's life turns around and she gets the guy of her dreams.

Maybe this is a similar idea - that men will think 'Well, at least I'm better than that guy! My life isn't as bad as his!' and will keep watching. Kind of like how people watch medical shows and think 'Thank deity of choice that isn't me'.

Personally, I often find both types of character annoying, but I can understand the thinking behind the character at the development stage.

Adam carolla often talks about this phenomenon in television. He's done a number of pilots, and has said that the overriding priority for studios is to make the characters "likable," primarily because by the arcane methods of show testing, likability rates higher than authenticity or humor. An incompetent man is easy to like, whereas a competent "sassy" woman is more likable than incompetent one.

But the studio testing system is all about expectations- they rate sitcoms according to a positive and negative dial that is turned while the show is played. So anything that meets expectations is a flatline- a positive portrayal of a competent man merits no reaction from men or women, whereas a positive portrayal of a competent woman is liked by both genders- either for being sexy, or for being empowering. So studios rarely are willing to portray gender roles in a way that is not evocative of *something,* whether that is by defying the base expectation that a man is competent, or by drawing attention to the relative competence of a woman. That's how you get comedies where a woman doing something correctly where a man has failed is a character defining moment- if th showed a man doing the same thing, the audience wouldn't respond positively because he would be "smarmy" or patronizing. But the base prejudice is intact- men are more powerful, and therefore deserving of or able to withstand degradation that a woman character couldn't endure.

Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
And, I should say, I think the result is bad for everyone. Women are held to a lower standard where only besting a man is seen as an accomplishment, and where there are few instances where they can be seen as accomplished by the standards of a woman, among other women. And for men, masculinity and accomplishment among other men is seen as backwards and silly, even though in reality, stature among other men is important to us. In this way, tv often makes men into mindless buffoons who are only fulfilled by women, and whose manly accomplishments are not valued on their own.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
But the base prejudice is intact- men are more powerful, and therefore deserving of or able to withstand degradation that a woman character couldn't endure.
And of course, this attitude is ITSELF degrading to women.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's degrading to both sexes, it's more tacitly degrading to women, because women are treated as if they are not ultimately redeemable as characters if they suffer too much degradation. Hollywood almost never breaks that pattern. I can only think of a handful of women characters who qualify.
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I've seen a bunch of little quotes and snippets of him, and they were amazing. He is the only reason I sat down to watch Parks & Recreation.

But he's not the star of the show, and the mainstay of the show is cringe-comedy, which is about my least favorite kind of comedy, so I've only watched a couple episodes.

Did you start in season 1? I initially had a similar reaction, and ended up skipping most of it and started in season 2. The primary difference was that they started writing Leslie Knope as a lot more competent, so it was less "watch this odd woman bumble through mismanaging a park department" and more "watch this odd but enthusiastic and competent woman manage to make her department successful, despite a lot of setbacks."

I didn't see the end of Season 1 so I don't know if there was a good transition between the two, but season 2+ is much more coherent, much funnier (IMO), and much less obviously ripped off from the Office.

Posts: 4136 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yeah we started at the beginning. This is good news! Have to give it another chance.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AchillesHeel
Member
Member # 11736

 - posted      Profile for AchillesHeel   Email AchillesHeel         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is exactly why Scrubs was such a great sitcom, they used the large size of their cast to portray the whole spectrum. But no one was left alone to be perfect or an absolute sociopath (except The Janitor) and they regularly challenged many stereotypes, including male nurses and can a thirty-something black man still be cool driving a mini-van.

I too have never seen more than ten seconds of Community, the only thing I've seen was this. Donald Glover rules.

Posts: 2302 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geraine
Member
Member # 9913

 - posted      Profile for Geraine   Email Geraine         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not saying there is a connection, but I would be interested to know what the ratio of men and women work on romcoms vs. tv sitcoms.
Posts: 1937 | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkKnight
Member
Member # 7536

 - posted      Profile for DarkKnight   Email DarkKnight         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mens Health

I recently read this article from Men's Health about this topic. It's pretty interesting...

Posts: 1918 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Interesting read. I wasn't really even thinking about women's TV.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vasslia Cora
Member
Member # 7981

 - posted      Profile for Vasslia Cora   Email Vasslia Cora         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm a big fan of White Collar, and they make a point to have Agent Burke and his wife have a good marriage.
Posts: 503 | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Am I the only one here who doesn't watch Community?

It won't make you feel better, but I haven't seen it either.
Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tarrsk
Member
Member # 332

 - posted      Profile for Tarrsk           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Yeah we started at the beginning. This is good news! Have to give it another chance.

Definitely give it another shot. Parks and Rec is a completely different (and MUCH better) show starting in season 2. Having listened to some interviews with Michael Schur, it sounds like he and Greg Daniels tend to use the short first season of their shows as a sort of trial run, to get used to working with their actors and get a handle on their characters. Between the first and second seasons, pretty much all of the characters get some minor tweaking to make them more effective and interesting, with the biggest and best changes going to Leslie.
Posts: 1321 | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
millernumber1
Member
Member # 9894

 - posted      Profile for millernumber1   Email millernumber1         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't like Community. But I freely admit to having no sense of humor. Unless it's Matt Nix, apparently, since I found The Good Guys hilarious. And cancelled, naturally.
Posts: 423 | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I fear it's too much like The Office, and The Office makes me cringe it's so awkward. It's 50% hilarious and 50% so cringe-inducing that I'm physically uncomfortable watching it.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
She makes good points. That how to be a gentleman show is terrible. There's no middle ground between a nebbish wussy sort of guy and a lunky bone headed guy.
But I never understand what is meant by "man up". I do love what she says about balanced men who like sports and aren't thoughtless and inconsiderate. Real people just seem more complex than television wants to make them.

Posts: 9938 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shanna
Member
Member # 7900

 - posted      Profile for Shanna   Email Shanna         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love Community. I don't find it awkward at all, especially compared to the Office.

Now...Modern Family was a show that took me a few episodes to adjust to. It uses alot of awkward-humor but its not as bad as The Office. Or maybe I find it easier because it has more "heart."

Posts: 1733 | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shawshank
Member
Member # 8453

 - posted      Profile for Shawshank   Email Shawshank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I love all these sitcoms. For me, there was only one episode of the Office that was painfully awkward it made me want to stop (and to date, I've only seen it twice). And that episode was "The Dinner Party."

Modern Family, Community are both fantastic- but for very different reasons. And everyone is right when they say that Parks and Rec season 2 gets significantly better than the first season.

Posts: 980 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by millernumber1:
I don't like Community. But I freely admit to having no sense of humor. Unless it's Matt Nix, apparently, since I found The Good Guys hilarious. And cancelled, naturally.

While I fear I must shun you for your poor taste outside of Matt Nix, I do have to give you props re: The Good Guys. That was a fantastic and underrated show. I miss it.

Lyrhawn, I've never really felt that any of Community's humor is awkward/cringe-inducing. How many episodes/which episodes have you seen?

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
About fifteen minutes of one episode.
Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Raymond Arnold
Member
Member # 11712

 - posted      Profile for Raymond Arnold   Email Raymond Arnold         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My experience with Community was also similar to Parks and Rec: I watched a few season 1 episodes that I didn't care much for, then skipped to season 2 and enjoyed it much more. I don't know if that was just a fluke on the part of the episodes I watched.
Posts: 4136 | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I haven't seen Community either. I think it came on at the same time as a show I like betther. Probably bones.
Posts: 9938 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
We started with Season 2 (the trampoline episode was the very first one we watched), watched maybe two or three random episodes on Hulu, then bought season 1 and started from the beginning.

The pilot is by far the worst episode of the series, for sure. But, I still find the pilot to be on par with most good shows I find worth watching.

Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vasslia Cora:
I'm a big fan of White Collar, and they make a point to have Agent Burke and his wife have a good marriage.

I actually think their marriage is one of the best on television. They might go a little heavy on the "peter is whipped thing," but I wouldn't say so. They're adorable, there's give and take, they work at it, they're both absolutely excellent to each other. It might be a little too PERFECT, but neither of them suffers from bad gender depictions.

Tiffani Thiessen is totally back on my list of future celebrity wives too.

Posts: 21897 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I fear it's too much like The Office, and The Office makes me cringe it's so awkward. It's 50% hilarious and 50% so cringe-inducing that I'm physically uncomfortable watching it.

I absolutely LOATHE The Office, and I love Community.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
aww, you loathe it? Why?
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CT
Member
Member # 8342

 - posted      Profile for CT           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
I'm conflicted.
I don't know whether to be annoyed that there are too many negative portrayals of men or to be annoyed that there are too few negative portrayals of Asian men, let alone positive ones [Wink]

I know one does not make a balance, but there is a fabulous Korean character on The Mentalist. On the one hand, he's rather sterotypically "inscrutable." On the other hand, he's so awesome and my very favorite character on a current show:

Kimball Cho. The world needs more Cho, dammit.

---

PS: Hot and brainy. Dry wit, knows how to hold his tongue. Ahem. What's not to love? [Wink]

Posts: 831 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
'The world' or something(one) else, hmm? Hmmmm! *wink wink, nudge nudge* Kno whut I mean, guv, kno whut I mean?
Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
aww, you loathe it? Why?

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
so cringe-inducing that I'm physically uncomfortable watching it.


Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
CT
Member
Member # 8342

 - posted      Profile for CT           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
'The world' or something(one) else, hmm? Hmmmm! *wink wink, nudge nudge* Kno whut I mean, guv, kno whut I mean?

Cho has replaced Hugh Jackman on my list. Well, the actor, I guess, if he is willing to playact. I'd make it worth his while.
Posts: 831 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2