TV and Family
In Module 8 we have been learning about the family, marriage, the culturally defined roles of men and women in the family, and how the family has changed over the years in both the United States and the global community. But, does the mass media impact our views of a family? Let’s have some fun and explore mass media and the family in this critical thinking assignment by looking at cultivation theory.
Cultivation theory, which was developed by media researchers, suggests that there are consistent images, themes, and stereotypes that cut across programming genres. As a whole, these different media images cultivate a view of the family and gender roles that is consistent. Thus, viewers who watch comedies, soap operas, reality shows, news stories, and weekly news programs, sporting events, dramas, and late-night television programs will develop similar and consistent views.
Unfortunately, these media views of the family and gender roles are oftentimes partially or completely incorrect and widespread. Males are generally viewed as more ambitious and successful than women, and women are more nurturing and emotional than men. Similarly, the view of the family presented in Leave it to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Roseanne, The Crosby Show, The Simpsons, and Modern Family has influenced generations of viewers’ thoughts about the typical family system in the United States. The family has never been as perfect as we were led to believe by the Cleaver family of Leave it to Beaver, and it is generally not as dysfunctional as is presented in The Simpsons.
Your task in this assignment is to look at one of your favorite network or cable shows and discuss the view of the family and gender roles that may be created from the show. After you have completed the reading and learn about the family, complete this assignment:
Describe and discuss your favorite show and how it depicts the family, marriage, and gender roles. Be sure to give specific examples from the show and the characters so that anyone who has never seen the show can fully understand your views and comments.
Is the family depicted as what is considered “traditional”, why or why not? Single parent household? Nuclear or extended? Stepfamilies or blended families? Is it a patriarchal, matriarchal, or egalitarian family?
What roles do men and women play in the family? What roles do children play? What roles do men and women play in the household chores and income earning? Who takes the responsibility for child rearing? Who does inside chores and who does outside chores?
What about Marriage? Is marriage or divorce depicted? What about cohabitation? Are there heterosexual or homosexual relationships? Are the relationships depicted as monogamy, serial monogamy, polygamy or polyandry?
Write your answer as one 3-5 paragraph essay. Your essay should be at least 500 words and appropriately have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Save the world
In these past few modules, we have been learning about diversity and stereotypes we sometimes have of diverse peoples. This assignment is intended to make you think a bit about your own stereotypes. Stereotypes affect all of us and this assignment is your opportunity to do some self-exploration while having some fun with this story.
It has finally happened: the end of the earth as we know it. A nuclear attack has started and it is expected that within the next two hours the entire earth will be destroyed. In preparation for such an event, an underground bunker was developed that will hold ten people and sustain them for five years until they can then leave the bunker and begin life back on earth. By that time the radiation will be within a range that humans can live. You have been chosen to lead the next group that will begin the world anew. You may be saved. You must decide who will survive and live in the bunker with you. Which of the following will you choose? Why would you choose those people? Remember that you may only choose 9 people other than yourself. If you choose more, then all of you will die as there are only supplies for 10 people in the bunker.
22-year-old black female athlete that has been using and is addicted to steroids
30-year-old Hispanic male professional athlete that is a homosexual
24-year-old pregnant female that is addicted to cocaine
Rabbi that is 63 years old
Black protestant minister that is 27
Female Chinese microbiologist that is 32 and a lesbian
26-year-old English teacher that has AIDS
23-year-old male farmer and his 21-year-old wife that has smallpox. The farmer refuses to come without his wife.
43-year-old musician who is an excellent hunter
68-year-old civil engineer
42-year-old female linguistics professor
37-year-old male homosexual chemist
75-year-old medical doctor
34-year-old Navy S.E.A.L. with P.T.S.D. that refuses to come without his weapon and ammunition
38-year-old Mexican drug lord
26-year-old housewife that refuses to come without her 8-year-old child that is mentally challenged
48-year-old male biologist that is agoraphobic
Write your answer of who you will save and why as one 3-5 paragraph essay. Your essay should be at least 500 words and appropriately have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
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