My last entry discussed the characters of “That 70’s Show” and the gender roles that they portray throughout the series.  Though they can be seen as harmful if children watch the show, or even as offensive, they can also be seen as a form of satire and therefore can be humorous. However, when watching episodes of the show, things may get a bit more offensive than anything else to a strong feminist or to someone who is strongly opposed to any kind of stereotype for any gender.

The 10th episode in season 8, called “Sweet Lady,” was full of gender roles and stereotypes.  Jackie wants to get a job working for an anchor on the show “What’s Up Wisconsin” and needs Fez to pretend to be her “boyfriend” to get the job; this is because she needs someone to be on the interview with for Valentine’s Day.  At the interview, Fez tries to trick Jackie into kissing him (since she has the pressure of being live on the air and getting a job under the anchor).  Eventually, against her will, Jackie kisses Fez so she won’t be heckled anymore.  This portrays men as pushy, and women as being easy to give into physicality if it means being unbothered in the future.  Also, in the show, it is perceived as funny; if people are watching, they may perceive this type of situation to be humorous and therefore acceptable in reality.

Later in the show, Red (one of the main character’s father) is getting a present for Kitty (the mother).  When he shows up without a present because another character stole it, Kitty has an emotional outburst.  She gets so angry that she yells at Red and then storms out of the room with a threat.  I thought this was an awful portrayal of women, seeing as it made Kitty look extremely materialistic and overdramatic when she stomped out of the room. 

The final example of stereotypical gender roles was in a scene where one of the characters, Donna, was being asked on a date by another character, Randy.  Being the feminist of the show, she had asked him out earlier in the episode, but he said that he was actually going on a date with another girl.  He later surprises her with a candlelit dinner.  When she asks why he lied, he goes on to explain that he is “kind of a traditional guy” and likes to do things in the traditional manner, which means he would have had be the one to ask her out.  She seems completely fine with this, and enjoys the rest of her date with Randy. This is exactly why I think the show missed the target on defining a character as feminist; if she truly were, she would not have just let that go.

There were many other examples of stereotypical gender roles in the episode, such as Jackie fighting very immaturely with two other women (suggesting that women cannot logically handle a situation and must be catty in order to solve it), and also when the anchor says that she’s “missing the only thing every woman needs to feel good about herself” – a man.  All of these examples point out the stereotypes America has given to women and men, thus influencing our thoughts about our human counterparts and the way we may treat them or let ourselves be treated.

I don’t have a lot of pictures or clips or anything for this post, so here’s a clip of Kitty’s obnoxiously hilarious laugh:


Written by: Molly Farley