Gender Differences in Television: Malcolm in the Middle Case Study

Topics: Television, Homemaker, Housekeeping Pages: 4 (1261 words) Published: January 11, 2014
Malcolm in the Middle
Television holds an important part in most of our lives. From a young age, we spend countless hours sitting in front of a television set. Every year there are new shows created, and our favorite shows are renewed for another season. There are numerous programs to choose from. Television broadcasts are free, and there are also paid options for more diverse programming. We are fortunate enough to be able to spend on average a third of our leisure time watching television all from the comfort of our homes. Given the incredible reach that television has on our lives, we can say that television has a significant impact on our lives.

Authors, Renzetti and Curran, claim that television is a profound socializing tool that teaches us behaviors and norms in our society. More importantly, they argue that the messages society receives are biased in favor of men, rather white men. For instance, they assert that women account for only 39% of all major characters and are more likely to play minor roles. They also claim that the roles that women play are for younger and physically attractive characters, and male television characters receive more slack regarding their appearance. According to their text, gender and minority stereotypes are extremely prevalent on television. Women and minorities are underrepresented on television.

I chose to explore four episodes from the program “Malcolm in the Middle.” It was a family sitcom that aired from 2000 to 2006 on the FOX television network. The sitcom continued for 6 seasons and 151 episodes. For nostalgia’s sake, I chose to analyze episodes from the first season. The four episodes that were analyzed were selected at random (ep. 2, 6, 9 and 12). The sitcom basically followed the life a dysfunctional family, which included a mother, father, and four uncontrollable children and later a fifth child. The boys are constantly causing trouble and stressing the lives of their parents. Most of...
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