I have always been a huge fan of the television show, That 70’s Show.  It’s incredibly funny, the actors are great and it gives a look into a small Wisconsin town in the 1970’s, what’s not to love? There are several episodes throughout the eight seasons dealing with gender roles and expectations, gender stereotyping and second wave feminism. 

For example, Donna’s mom, Midege joins a feminist group called, “Feminist Warriors” and also takes a few women’s study classes. As we know, during the 1970’s second wave feminism was in full swing and allowed women like Midge to take classes, join feminist groups and teach their daughters, like Donna, the fundamentals of feminism.  

There are also a couple of episodes I find very interesting as far as gender roles, expectations and stereotyping are concerned.

The first one is episode four from season one.  The episode is titled, “The Battle of the Sexists”.  Throughout the episode we see many accounts of gender roles and stereotypes.  For example, at the beginning of the episode, Hyde, Eric and Kelso are sitting in the basement discussing and comparing the size of a few girls’ breasts.  This is pretty stereotypical for a highschool boy or a group of guys to be talking about. Also, in the episode, Red, Eric’s dad is out of a job and has been attempting to fix various things around the house despite the fact they are not in need of fixing.  This, also can be seen as stereotypical for a man to want to work and without a job, a man goes crazy and has to be doing or fixing something.  Along that same note, since Red has been trying to fix things that aren’t broken, Kitty, Eric’s mom is upset about Red trying to fix things because he ends up making them worse.  In the episode Kitty refers to the things Red is “fixing” like the dryer, as things she needs, uses and loves.  This also struck me as extremely stereotypical.  Because Kitty is a mother and wife in the 1970’s she must love her appliances that she uses to do daily chores?

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Another episode that is very amusing and relevent to our class is titled “Baby Fever”.  In this episode, Eric is impressed at Donna’s motherly skills and they each imagine their future together with children.  First Eric imagines Donna at home with two babies and he comes home from work. Then Donna imagines Eric at home with the babies while she comes home from work (wearing professional clothing).  This is so interesting because of the stereotypes in both scenarios. Eric just assumes Donna would be staying at home with their children and Donna assumes opposite. Watch the clips and see what you think.


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By: Brittany Polacek 11/7/11