Gender Roles in The Cosby Show Essay

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Gender Roles in The Cosby Show On September 20, 1984 a show aired that changed the way we view gender roles on television. Television still perpetuates traditional gender stereotypes and in reflecting them TV reinforces them by presenting them as the norm (Chandler, 1). The Cosby Show, challenged the typical gender stereotyping of television, daring to go against the dominant social values of its time period. In its challenge of the dominant social view, the show redefined the portrayal of male and female roles in television. It redefined the gender role in the work place, in social expectations, and in household responsibilities. The Cosby Show supported Freidan in her view of “castigating the phony happy housewife heroine of the…show more content…
She was very outgoing, comical, and always concerned herself with family problems and situations. The characters of The Cosby Show had many gender-typed mannerisms that went against the typical stereotypes shown on television. Shows like Married with Children and The Wonder Years grossly portrayed the male role of a working man, who wasn’t involved in household tasks. These shows also emphasized the female role of a housewife. The Cosby show defied these stereotypes. Cliff cared about what went on in the household and Clair cared about her career and advancing it tremendously. Sondra was very goal-oriented and had a future planned with a wonderful career like her mother. All these mannerisms went against the gender stereotype of the time. The women of this show were typically the powerful characters. Cliff and Clair’s opinion were of equal value in all decision-making situations and more often than not Clair’s opinion was of greater authority. Clair’s power also showed when Cliff’s habit of eating unhealthy foods was getting out of control and needed to end. She always made sure he ate right, and whenever Cliff had the chance of eating something unhealthy, he was always afraid of the wrath of Clair if he was caught. The women of the show also showed their sheer power just in numbers, outnumbering the men 5:2. The Cosby Show did a good job of not getting the characters into a double bind. Gregory
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