Feminism, Sexism and Everything Inbetween

By Kimberly Bowen

While reading this weeks chapters as well as the episodes we watched, I found it interesting that many of the episodes were still tackling the notion of what the role of a woman was in society. Not only that but how a woman is portrayed in society by the way she may look or the angle of the camera. The issue of feminism and sexism became apparent in the shows The Doris Day Show, Julia, The Mister Ed Show, and even The Real McCoys. In the Doris Day Show, I was surprised to see that they blatantly made fun of those who were in support of feminism. It really angered me and to see how they dressed up Doris in a suit and made her spout things that made no sense to the feminism agenda. It just goes to show that feminism in the 1960s was not taken seriously and was only used as ammo for the sitcoms of that era. In the Julia Show, even though there was only a few clips there was a very clear there were traces of racism and sexism. The way that Julia was dressed made her hypersexualized as many people were appealed to the show for the way she looked, the way the single camera zoomed into her legs, and how the lights made her skin appear lighter than it should have so people would tune in. This was to appeal somewhat to the white middle class viewers even though they thought they could appeal to the black families. The Mister Ed Show doesn’t seem like there are any issues but I caught on to the fact the husband would rather cater to a horses needs to his own wife’s. Somehow this confused me , but then I remembered that magicoms were an escape from societal issues meaning the conventions of marriage were questioned. Lastly, The Real McCoys challenged both feminism and sexism as Kate was going to apart of the PTA and have her own voice, but her husband and father believe that a fishing tournament was more important than getting her a proper outfit. Eventually they agreed to getting the dress it just shows how men who prioritize their own needs before their wife’s. Even during the show she tried to show them a lesson by having the men cook their own food, but she couldn’t resist the urge to protect them and do her duty as a wife. Reviewing these chapters and episodes just make me realize just how much sitcoms can influence the beliefs of others especially when it comes to social, political , cultural issues such as feminism, sexism, racism,etc.

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2 Responses to Feminism, Sexism and Everything Inbetween

  1. I think that this is a really good point. I think that it reflects the confusion of what “feminism” means even today. These are issues that resonate with numerous generations. I think there are undertones of this even in modern shows like “That 70s Show” with the portrayal of Jackie, Laurie, Mrs. Pinciati and even Mrs. Forman.
    -Maddy Eldredge

  2. marymdalton says:

    There were some annoying stereotypes in Mister Ed, too, about the women packing so much for the fishing trip, etc. Some of that stuff gets really TIRED!

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