Media plays a vital role in modern day society, although its influence sometimes goes unrecognized, “Media”, can stretch to include such things as movies, celebrities, social media, and much more, but the influence of television is a topic that has in the recent years been increasingly relevant “Game of Thrones”, for instance, is a highly influential show and has won 37 awards, 35 of these Emmy awards and has had a loyal fan following for years (IMDb). lt’s influence is undeniable, but if examined, the show may prove to have a negative effect on it’s audience.
Gender in the media usually portrays girls and women as subservient, nonsensical, and controlling, while men are portrayed as unfeeling, sex-crazed, and aggressive “Game of Thrones” uses this same model, and even builds on these by introducing rape, incest, and emotional manipulation as themes all in just the premiere episode What personally shocks me about this phenomenon is it’s fan base, and the passive attitude and general blindness that the fans express whenever negative gender stereotypes are brought to light.
Scholars West and Zimmerman state that “doing gender involves a complex of socially guided perceptual, interactional, and micropolitical activities that cast particular pursuits as expressions of m masculine and feminine ‘natures (Engstrom).
Zimmerman‘s focus on the micro actions surrounding the “performance” of gender are echoed in television and how this both affects men and women, but also how these actions are internalized and play out in daily life, However negative stereotypes about men and women are in top~rated TV shows, there has been a positive movement especially within the comedy community towards television shows that display more realistic and unconventional characters that defy their gender stereotypes Shows such as “Broad City” and “Workaholics” on Comedy Central aim to defy the gender roles typically associated with a sit-com type show, “Broad City” especially pushes the envelope for women; the main characters, two female best friends who live in modern day Manhattan, frequently vocalize their opinions, smoke marijuana, and express their sexuality, all without the typical shameful tone that television usually casts on these acts.
Their actions are not the punchlines to the show, but become normal and seem much more natural to a modern audience than those actions of most females on television While the show has received much criticism, it has been wildly successful among a young audience because of its relatability. Much like Zimmerman’s model, the actions of the characters have sparked many women to post online about how the show allowed them to break social norms. Ilana Glazer, co-creator and star of the show, said, “Our whole lives, we‘re consuming, consuming, consuming, and now we’re putting stuff out to be consumed; it’s bizarre. It feels really important to us—we do take what we represent very seriously. Our goal in general is inclusion” (Bust). That goal of inclusion is the ethical goal all television should strive for, Although television is plagued with negative gender stereotypes, this awareness of consumption and internalization of media supports that it has a large impact on both genders, I would love to see more television shows like “Broad City” and it’s male counterpart, “Workaholics”, because of their acute awareness of the power of medial Although historically sexist stereotypes still prevail, the existence of television that acknowledges this issue is one step in the right direction.