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Essay on Analysis of Televsion Show I Dream of Jeannie

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The 1960’s was a decade filled with revolution across America, in the forms of both counterculture and pop culture. The second wave of feminism ran rampant, powered by Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. The role of the housewife began to be placed under the microscope and women started to wonder aloud whether they were truly happen being second-rate to their husbands. The television sitcoms of the 1960’s displayed this change in thinking, one sitcom specifically being I Dream of Jeannie. The plot of I Dream of Jeannie centered on an astronaut named Major Tony Nelson and his incidental discovery of a genie in a bottle. This genie, named Jeannie, saves Nelson from the island he is stranded on and she stows away in his luggage to follow…show more content…
Women serving men out of love seems a step better than women serving men because of cultural norms, but that still didn’t jibe with feminists. Larry Hagman, the actor who played Tony Nelson, maintains the show’s innocence in promoting any feminist ideas. In a quote on the show’s website, Larry Hagman believes that "back in those days we didn't have underlying messages. We weren't trying to suggest anything. All we were trying to do was be funny" (Concept, 2009). Regardless, I Dream of Jeannie’s portrayal of the subservient housewife, no matter how funny or abnormal Jeannie’s role was, showed the capability of women to be of equal strength and intelligence as men. Not only was Jeannie’s servitude an issue with feminists, but Jeannie’s attire also raised some eyebrows. Dressed in the pink, seductive outfit of a harem, Jeannie bent censorship barriers when the concept originally had her navel exposed outside of her outfit. It was ultimately decided that her navel wouldn’t be shown, but the argument brought much publicity to the cause for more exposure on television. Because of her attire and the content of the show, I Dream of Jeannie can be seen as one of the first sitcoms to break away from the wholesome family mold made famous by television series like Leave It to Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show and Lassie. The housewives of those shows wouldn’t dare wear the costume made famous by Jeannie.
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