Gender Stereotypes In Television Sitcoms

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Situation comedies, or “sitcoms”, as they are more generally known, have become staples throughout America. Especially in the United States, beginning in the second half of the 20th century and evolving into the 21st century. The purpose of a television sitcom is mimicking real life characters in comical misunderstandings, showing day-to-day circumstances in a way that is entertaining to the viewer. Gender, gender roles, and gender stereotypes have been portrayed variously throughout television sitcoms. Some portraying women, mothers, housewives as “like a child to the man, husband, father” (Simmons and Rich 2013).

Referring back to Gender Role Portrayal and the Disney Princess, and the masculine and feminine characteristics categorized, I could easily see some of the characteristics in the male and female characters in the shows I was watching. However, if a male showed any sign of feminine characteristics such as; sensitivity, nurturing, or physically weak – it was viewed as negative. In the show Friends, Ross who shows feminine characteristics, he is often ridiculed by other characters for showing emotion. Two
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In I Love Lucy, we have the “1950s housewife and mother who envies her husband’s public life in the limelight, tries to transgress traditional gender boundaries in nearly every episode. (Of course, Lucy does not do this within the narrative as a conscious feminist protest, but rather, like a child, to be the center of attention and admired as talented and desirable)” (Simmons and Rich 2013). Another prime example of this stereotype falls into the Big Bang Theory, while the women are accomplished – they lack professionally and academically in likeness to the males on the show. Bernadette, a microbiologist, is shown to have worked a low-status job to put herself through school. Whereas, her husband is an aerospace