Semiotic Analysis of Tv Shows

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When I was a child, growing up in West Africa Liberia, the traditional roles for men and women were totally different. Women were known to be: child bearers stay at home moms and the caregivers of the family. Also, women were responsible for taking care of everything in the household such as: cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping etc. Men on the other hand, were regarded as the sole provider for the family. This gave me the perception that women and men are expected to do certain things in accordance with the gender roles their society dictates. In Africa, I was able to see a lot of gender inequality that affected the majority of the women living in that country. However, because of my departure from Liberia to the United States, I was able to see the social difference of both countries. Since I arrived in the United States, my perception has shifted about the gender roles I was accustom to when I was in Liberia. I was surprised to find that America had two types of gender roles, traditional and non-traditional; and even more surprising was that America’s traditional gender roles closely mirrored Liberia’s gender roles. In traditional gender roles women were often subjected to various forms of gender inequality such as sexism and prejudice. A couple of decades ago, gender equality were more visible in society, and the media propitiated this idea on television, radio. This paper will analyze the gender roles by using two video clips from two of America’s popular television drama sitcoms. A semiotic analysis can be applied to these shows because of the symbols they carry. A careful semiotic analysis of the popular television drama Bewitched and Jersey Shore, will show that women of this day and age are encouraged to be independent, career minded and are not submissive to their men like they used to be. The television drama Bewitched, which aired from 1965 to 1972, implied the ideal women is a women who: support her husband’s career, stayed at home, took care of her husband and kids and didn’t bother to find a career of her own. However, in recent years, the popular television drama “Jersey Shore”, which aired from 2009 to 2012, suggest that in modern era, the ideal women has a career and does not depend on her husband or anyone else to provide for her and her kids. These TV shows reveal how the gender roles of women are changing in today’s society. The results of the changing roles are that the women in America are better educated. The first video clip I’m going to analyze is from the popular 60’s television sitcom “Bewitched”. Bewitched is an American television sitcom that was originally aired on the ABC television station. The show follows the story of a witch who is married to a normal man and how she tries to live the life of a typical housewife. The two main characters are Dick Your, the husband, and Elizabeth Montgomery, the witch and housewife. Elizabeth Montgomery (aka the witch), was a powerful witch who gave-up her witchcraft to become a submissive housewife. According to Mary Pipher’s article “Saplings in the Storm”, the author proclaims that “Simone de Beauvoir believed adolescence is when girls realize that men have the power and that their only power comes from consenting to becoming submissive adored objects” (Pipher 350). The author is saying that young girls reach certain age, and realizing that men are dominant and possess power over them. And as a result these girls become submissive to men. I watched a two minute scene from “Bewitched” episode “Just one Happy Family”. The portion of the scene I’m going to analyze opens up with an animated character of the witch flying close to the moon horizontally. Viewing this part of the show, one would think it’s a cartoon for kids, but shortly after, the title of the show appears on the screen. The witch’s eyes twinkle several times and then, all of a sudden the picture changes and she’s in a kitchen with a frying pan in her hand and a tall...
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