Modern Family Analysis
It is very easy to spot the various gender themes all across media nowadays. One of the TV shows that clearly brings out the theme of gender roles is a modern family. Modern family is a TV show that was premiered in 2009. The TV show is a family comedy which instantly became a hit and caught the hearts of many. The show displays three separate families with diverse structures which all together form a part of one large family. There is the Jay Pritchett, Gloria and Manny Delgado family, Phil, Claire, Hailey, Alex, and Luke Dunphy family and finally the Mitchell Pritchett, Cameron Tucker, and Lily (Cardoza, 1). This is a perfect TV show to analyze for two major reasons.
First, the show very intentionally brings out gender roles within the family setting which are easy to identify. The second reason is the fact that the show claims to have been written with the aim of breaking stereotypes regarding gender roles and therefore analyzing it will help see how it has managed to achieve that. From, a comprehensive analysis of the TV shows over the years I have watched it, it is safe to say that the TV show reinforces some traditional aspects of gender roles while at the same time defying the stereotypes of women being the weaker role in a family as is going to be discussed below.
The Prichett family
This is the family made up of Jay Pritchett as the husband, Gloria as the wife and Manny Delgado their son. The family embodies the traditional gender roles by having Jay as the breadwinner of the family while Gloria is the caregiver. From the show, Jay is the one that goes to work and brings in some income for the family while Gloria is the stay at home mom that cooks, cleans and takes care of the family (Cardoza, 1). However, the stereotype of women being weak is broken by Gloria since he is an outspoken person who is able to strongly give her opinions when decisions are being made.
The Dunphy family
This is a family made up of Phil being the husband, Claire being the wife and Hailey, Alex, and Luke Dunphy being the children. The same as the Prichett family, this family also enforces the traditional family roles. The wife of the house that is Claire is a stay at home mom while Phil is the breadwinner of the family. This embodies the traditional roles where the woman is the caregiver and the husband is the breadwinner. However, the stereotype of the woman taking up the weaker roles is defined by Claire where we see her being involved in the making of important decisions in the family. She is the one in the family who makes the important decisions since Phil is poor at doing that. This is unlike the stereotype held against women that the role of decision making only ought to be left to the man.
This is a gay couple who come together although not officially married to start a family and adopt their daughter Lily. From this family, we are able to clearly see the importance and need for the traditional gender roles that is one individual being the caregiver and the other the breadwinner. We are able to see this when they adopt their daughter and there is a need for one of the two play the mom role a role that Cameron takes up. He also becomes a stay at home ‘mom’ to be able to take care of the daughter while the partner works to bring in some income. This greatly reinforces the need for the feminine caregiving role and the masculine provider role in the family even further. Mitchel aims at being the masculine figure in the life of her daughter while Cameron is more feminine and this shows the importance of a feminine and masculine role in the life of a family if a family is to be functional (Walters, 23).
Of the three families that have been described above, there is one major thing they have in common. This is the fact that the male figures take up the role of the providers while the female figures take up the role of the caregivers in the family. This reinforces the traditional gender role. However, women in the society have been stereotyped as being weak and only playing the secondary roles as a result but in this TV show this stereotype is broken since we see women being more outspoken and engaging more in the role of decision making which is seen mostly as the role of the males as the heads in the society (Allen & Lilian, 20).
Allen, Tammy D., and Lillian T. Eby. The Oxford handbook of work and family. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2016. Print.
Cardoza, E. “Modern Family” Gender Roles and Stereotypes. TV Criticism, 2013. From: http://tvcriticism2013.blogspot.com/2013/09/modern-family-gender-roles-and.html
Walters, Suzanna D. The tolerance trap : how God, genes, and good intentions are sabotaging gay equality. New York: New York University Press, 2014. Print.