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The Role Of Women In American Society

1529 words - 7 pages

The Role of Women in American Society

Women and men are nestled into predetermined cultural molds when it comes to gender in American society. Women play the roles of mothers, housekeepers, and servants to their husbands and children, and men act as providers, protectors, and heads of the household. These gender roles stem from the many culture myths that exist pertaining to America, including those of the model family, education, liberty, and of gender. The majority of these myths are misconceptions, but linger because we, as Americans, do not analyze or question them. The misconception of gender suggests that biological truths no longer dictate our gender roles as men and women; they ...view middle of the document...

” Today’s American families have broken the Ward and June Cleaver mold, and continue to become stronger and more sufficient. Single parent families currently become increasingly popular in America, with single men and women taking on the roles of both mother and father. This bend in the gender rules would have, previously, been unheard of, but in the evolution of gender in the family, it’s now socially acceptable, and very common.

What is even more common is the change in gender in primetime television, and film. In earlier decades, shows featuring couples such as Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, Mike and Carol Brady, and Samantha and Darrin Stephens predominantly held primetime slots on television. The uprising of gay and lesbian entertainment in shows such as “Will & Grace,” Showtime series “Queer As Folk” and “The L Word,” has overthrown the former cookie cutter husband and wife TV series. Gay and lesbian affairs in the media emerged quickly after the coming out of Ellen Degeneres in her hit sitcom, “Ellen.” The comedian now has her own daytime talk show, achieving mainstream popularity for obvious reasons: she’s funny, down-to-earth, and openly gay. In earlier decades homosexuality was previously limited to a closet of taboos, where no one knew about it, and no one admitted to it. Primetime programming would never house a show in which gay men and lesbian women openly discussed their sex lives and sexual preferences, nor a show that based its entire plotline on gay and lesbian couples.

On the same cable networks that act as the home for gay and lesbian television series, America finds its new woman for the new millenium: she’s smart, independent, gainfully employed, sexually confident, and, usually, she’s single. Television finally has room for a woman to fly on her own, without her minivan, Cub Scout den-mother meetings, or workaholic husband to feed and clean up after. The prime example for TV’s new “wonder woman,” is found in the four women of HBO’s Emmy Award winning series, “Sex & The City.” These characters are successful, single Manhattan women who never hesitate to be outspoken, particularly about their sexual endeavors, opinionated, and possess no apprehension about living the single life. Some may call them promiscuous due to their numerous conquests, some of them one-night-stands and relationships with married men, which was completely unheard of in television of earlier years. These women are high paid, successful, fashionable women who have broken through the cultural myth of gender into a class of their own without an apron or husband to protect them.

However, in sports media women have yet to catch up. Sociologist Michael A. Messner, after researching through over 23 hours of sports media, identifies a set of recurring themes of masculinity in sports media, which he calls “the televised sports manhood formula.” In his formula, Messner asserts that men dominate televised sports media and the commercials that surround it, and...

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