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Data Analysis. In This Chapter, I Compare And Contrast

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Data Analysis

In this chapter, I compare and contrast representations of gender and motherhood in two pop culture sites—the film The Kids Are All Right, the television series The Fosters. My intention is to examine representations of gender and motherhood and uncover these discourses affect lesbian parents and lesbians more broadly. The following sections divide into individual discussions of each cultural text to reveal the cogs within each site. I then compare and contrast both texts to investigate the tensions between both productions and how the discourses thematically collude. Finally, this comparative analysis considers who is harmed and who benefits from the disciplinary discourses of gender and motherhood these productions
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Reinforcing The Gender Binary
Jules and Nic are slightly ambiguous representations of butch and femme, yet the film overtly reinforces binary gender roles in its homonormative depiction of the family. Nic presents a more masculine identity: she has messy, cropped hair, wears little makeup, and wears relaxed fitting jeans and button-down dress shirts. Quick to anger and aggressive, she is a workaholic doctor who operates on conservatism and logic. Nic is both the disciplinarian and breadwinner in the family. In contrast, Jules is more visually feminized with long, smooth red hair, wears sexy lacy lingerie, and flowy or fitted T-shirts. Free spirit Jules is more liberal and acts the role of the nurturing parent. Elements of feminine characterize Jules— she is emotionally sensitive, compassionate and craves intimacy (Martin 1996). These characteristics that construct Jules are antithetical to masculinity (Crewe 2015). These roles suggest that Nic is the ‘man’ and Jules is the ‘woman.’ Continuing throughout the film, homonormative discourse creates dissonance between Nic and the role of mother.
As the ‘man’ in the relationship, Nic performatively embodies a dominant, masculine ‘fatherly’ figure (Fox 4). Postulating a masculinized identity,
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