The Gender Roles of the Simpsons
The Simpsons TV Show Analysis In The Simpsons, all of the characters display how they resemble the typical gender roles as well as roles in the family, but also contradict in them as well through their actions and personalities.
Homer is the husband in the family, he is bald, has a beard, and overweight therefore showing that men are considered to be lazy and do not care about their looks yet they are supposed to be the more dominant/powerful sex. Marge, the wife, stays home and does chores. She takes on feminine characteristics because she is always shown as the typical housewife and mother.Bart is the destructive son that is taking after his father’s laziness and Lisa is the intelligent daughter that has her own opinion and thoughts. In The Simpson, since it is a cartoon I am not quite positive if Marge is portrayed as beautiful or not. However, I do not feel like Marge is unattractive. Her hair is big and tall, she wears normal clothes as opposed to other “beautiful” female characters in this show, other than her blue hair, Marge seems rather normal although she does not have spectacular looks.
In “Gender and Television, the author quotes another author of The Feminine Mystique Betty Friedan “claimed that television has represented the American woman as a “stupid, unattractive, insecure little household drudge who spends her martyred, mindless, boring days dreaming of love–and plotting nasty revenge against her husband. ” I would have to disagree with this statement since Marge appears to be a strong character that does not seem to day dream about love and in contrast loves her husband and family despite their faults.In the episode “Dangerous Curves”, the flashbacks in this episode revealed that Homer and Marge were not happy in the beginning of their marriage. In the flashback after getting lost, they walk to a house to use their phone. Upon meeting the homeowner, he invites them to attend the party. Homer embarrasses Marge by flirting with a girl at the party Sylvia. However, after spending an evening with Sylvia he does not spend the night and goes back to Marge.
Marge had a romantic evening with Alberto (the house owner) and when Homer comes back she hides Alberto in a box and has Homer take him out so that she would not get caught in her affair.In the present, the couple is very mad each other upon finding about one another’s affairs when the truth was revealed. Homer takes a walk and stumbles upon an old carving that said “Marge + Homer 4ever” and tries very hard to salvage the bark where the carving laid. Homer was willing to do anything to save their marriage and his actions in the end showed how much he loved Marge. The fact that Homer was willing to commit to Marge and stay married to her contradicts the Messner’s statements about men not being willing to meet the women’s demands for high levels of commitment (481).Homer also showed his paternal side in “Trouble” when he was worried about Bart hurting himself from jumping shelf-cases in the Kwik-E-Mart. Marge in the episode contradicts the gender role of the good innocent woman that does not experience temptation and does not stray from their husband.
This episode shows that men are not the only gender that cheats. Bart would be considered masculine because he is the daredevil of the family and there is nothing feminine about him. Bart appears to be addicted to violence and chaotic situations, a trait considered masculine according to Messner when he says “Boys will be (violent) boys” (483).In “Trouble,” Bart was at a family friend’s party and set some robot vacuum cleaners to a violent mode so he could send them out to terrorize the guests. Later in that episode he showed his more tender side by allowing Marge to use baby talk as she was tucking him in for bed time. Bart is a character that shows his masculine traits as well as his soft side. In most of the episode, Bart is the typical male child that causes disturbance everywhere he goes and is loud and obnoxious.
Lisa, the middle child, is the one with the intuition in the family; she is also the only one in the family that portrays intelligence and she is caring, which are all traits stereotypical of a female are. In “Trouble,” Lisa was the first one to figure out that Bart’s odd behavior had nothing to do with puberty as the parents suspected. Despite her feminine intuition, Lisa seems to have a somewhat violent streak, a trait that is considered more masculine as shown in the same episode where she settles an argument with Barb through a fist fight.She also showed her sympathetic side in “Curves” when she got onto Bart for “waking the baby” with their fighting. Her actions indicate that she is “sensitive to the needs of others”, a trait in which Devor considered feminine (429). Lisa is also the typical female child and rarely exposes a role that is expected from a male gender role. The Simpsons makes fun is a parody that pokes fun of the common American family.
Although the show is made for comedy, I believe that is influential to the audience when it conveys the ideology that even a cartoon fights against the common gender roles that are expected of us.