Gender Roles in Television Essays

Gender Roles in Television Essays

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It is often said that the media and the arts are an accurate reflection of any given community. This is especially true in American pop-culture, where television shows depict the various stereotypes attributed to men and women and the roles they play in society. House, a highly popular medical drama that revolves around Dr. Gregory House and his diagnostic team, is a particularly good example as it represents the true state of the traditional gender roles in American culture today by, both, redefining and reinforcing them over the course of the show.

In "Big Baby," the thirteenth episode of the current season, the show highlights these gender roles by centering on the effects the recent adoption of Rachel has had on Dr. Lisa Cuddy — the hospital administrator and House's boss — and her relationships with those around her.

Cuddy and Maternity
At the outset, it is evident that the show profoundly redefines the traditional female gender role through Dr. Cuddy's character. As a highly educated, independent, and accomplished professional in a field predominated by men, she is a genuine embodiment of the great strides women have made in the last few decades. This episode takes this redefinition to a higher level by highlighting her difficulties with maternity.

During the first few scenes, Chief Oncologist and close confidant, Dr. James Wilson visits Dr. Cuddy at home to see how she is coping with motherhood. Upon entering her house, he notices that she is visibly distressed as she holds Rachel in her arms. He asks her what was bothering her and she replies saying that she did not feel attached to her daughter, even though she had been fulfilling all her maternal obligations. She reveals to him that she was con...

... middle of paper ...

...ularity to protect oneself from becoming vulnerable to manipulation by others.

Dr. House's undisguised insensitivity towards Dr. Cuddy's emotional distress and the fact that he is the lead character in the show is a clear reinforcement of the traditional male stereotype by the producers of the show.

Even as the media redefines the roles both genders play at home and in the workforce, a number of traditional stereotypes continue to dominate television screens. Despite the enormous progress society has made to empower women, traditional gender stereotypes continue to thrive in our culture today. This phenomenon is apparent in”Big Baby,” where all parties are represented equally by the dynamic characters of Dr. Cuddy, Dr. Wilson, and Dr. House . To choose to do otherwise would mean that the television show does not portray American pop-culture honestly.

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