The Cosby Show, Challenging Gender Ideals

1546 WordsMar 3, 20057 Pages
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 women's magazines" (Douglas 136).…show more content…
Cliff did not have the expectation of being a sensitive man in the house dealing with the family problems and a "masculine man" outside the house with his friends. He was a genuine sensitive person through out the show, who cared about everyone's feelings. Clair was a caring, enterprising person in all aspects of her life no matter what the situation and it was not looked down upon by anybody on the show. It was also shown well when the children were given the idea that they needed to learn to make it on their own. They were not encouraged to always depend on their parents and at the same time pushed to make it on their own, which is often a dilemma in today's society. In doing this, The Cosby Show continued to challenge typical television views. When looking at The Cosby Show, it challenged the stereotypical representation of gender roles in television. As Daniel Chandler put it, "The majority of women are restricted to a few roles. Male roles are far more extensive and more exciting. Women are often shown on TV in ‘traditional' roles such as housewives, mothers, secretaries, and nurses; men are shown as husbands and fathers, but also as athletes, celebrities and tycoons" (Chandler 3). Clair challenged the stereotypical role of a woman by being a mother and a successful attorney. Her authority and power in

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