Thursday, January 26, 2012

Modern Women in Modern Family

In the two readings we read for today, there is a discussion on how gender is learned and the changing forms of feminism. In the can Zoonen reading she gives a discussion on distortion in the media. There is a constant claim that there are only stereotypes of women in the media and that they are not realistic by having women as housewives or stay at home moms. The question that she brought up is that is this wrong, since there are women in America who have made that choice. I think the question should be what is the impact of all of these images and why aren't there images of more working women?
In the Gill reading the discussion was focused on the changing feminisms and those who were excluded by the movement. There was a particular discussion on masculinity and how boys grow up in a culture that teaches them to have a very narrow view of what it means to be masculine. The new kind of masculinity now seems to uphold a man who is in business, not emotionally tied down, and doesn't take responsibility for others (Gill 31). For me this discussion was a way of seeing things from the opposite perspective. Men have very little flexibility in what they can wear, how they act, and are reprimanded by their peers when they deviate from that.
The example that came to mind for me for both of these topics was Modern Family. I am a huge fan of this show and it was just until recently that I realized that the two female lead characters are stay at home moms. Claire has three children and stays home to do the house work and Gloria stays home for Manny. Not only this but in the gay couple, Mitchell and Cam, Cam stays home with Lily and Mitchell goes to work. When the two temporarily switch roles, both are frustrated in their positions and immediately revert back to their old roles of breadwinner and a stay at home parent. So is showing Gloria, Claire, and Cam as stay at home parents stereotypical and unrealistic? Since the name is Modern Family, I would love to see more women in the work place in this show. It is realistic to show characters choosing to be stay at home parents but it is unrealistic to show that all feminine characters make that choice. I then looked at it from the male characters. Phil, Jay and Mitchell are all expected to be the sole provider of their families. I think it is unrealistic in this economy to put that much pressure on men and it also does not give the show a chance to show these three as nurturers of their children.

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