Gender Stereotypes In Sitcoms

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For many years, gender stereotypes have been used as targets for comedic purposes, especially in the media. Television, in particular, displays a great amount of gender-focused humor, especially in sitcoms. Television comedy has kept current with the changing role of the sexes over time; this can be seen by the trend away from portraying male stereotypes as positive and female stereotypes as negative (as was typical in the 1950s and 1960s, for example), to commonly doing the opposite today. The Internet is another large media source that also displays a vast amount of gender-focused humor. Across the internet, gender-focused humor has progressed similarly to television by highlighting positive rather than negative female stereotypes. The method…show more content…
Claire Fallon, in her article in The Huffington Post, titled "Women In Sitcoms Are Getting A Lot More Three-Dimensional. And That 's a Good Thing," explains some of the differences in the portrayal of female characters in the past compared to female characters today. The greatest difference is the female characters’ newfound complexity. Female sitcom leads in the 21st century play a much more transgressive role than female sitcom leads of previous eras, who “weren’t just characters, they were caricatures of their gender.” Fallon conducted a study where she “surveyed 16 comedically significant female sitcom characters to see what their defining character traits revealed about the evolution of women’s roles.” The four categories that the characters were evaluated for were positive and negative stereotypical masculine qualities and positive and negative stereotypical feminine qualities. According to Fallon, an example of a positive masculine character may be someone who is “professionally successful” and an example of a negative masculine character would be someone who is “cynical,” while an example of a positive feminine character may be someone who is “sweet and kind” and an example of a negative feminine character may be someone who is “ditzy and incompetent.” Female characters on sitcoms in the mid-late 1900’s were simple and usually fell under the typical feminine stereotype, however, most female characters on current sitcoms have much more depth to their personalities than in the past, which pushes the boundaries of the typical female categories, causing the female characters to often have characteristics usually associated with male stereotypes, such as professional success. For
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