Gender Differences In The Sitcom 'Friends'

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‘Friends’ is a 1994 television sitcom that aired for 10 seasons up till May 2004 and has earned numerous accolades, leaving a prominent reputation in the film industry. ‘Friends’ is also well known for its comedic content which generically focuses on the gender roles and sexual differences of the characters in the sitcom. Sitcoms such as ‘Friends’ are powerful mediums in which the viewer’s perception of reality is altered as they redefine the average life of an American. Poniewozik stated that storyline of sitcoms redefine the idea of the average life, while still relating to society (Poniewozik, 2004). The sitcom was a popular example of these distinctions due to its characters from different backgrounds, yet fulfilling many stereotypes…show more content…
For example, the sitcom often fantasises the idea of lesbians but reprimands the idea of gay men despite both situations being of the same concept. Whitley, Wiederman and Wryobeck (2008) stated that heterosexual men often perceived lesbianism to have a high erotic value, causing less negative attitudes towards lesbianism. A study conducted by Herek and Capitanio (1999) also reaffirmed this as their investigation showed that the reaction of men towards gay men were more positive after questions on lesbianism was conducted. The fantasising of lesbianism by men can be shown in the episode titled The One With Rachel’s Big Kiss where Joey finds out that Rachel kissed a girl in college and becomes overly obsessed with the image and becomes desperate to find out intrinsic details. Despite the scenes obviously being deliberate jokes, these scenes whereby men are perceived to be obsessive over the idea of lesbianism continues to reinforce the fantasy of lesbian relationships in men, which at the same time objectifies women. However, despite lesbianism and gay men being of the same concept, the idea of homosexuality between men are often deemed unacceptable in sitcoms. ‘Friends’ often buffer the suspicion of homosexuality between men with homophobic comments and jokes (Iglebaek, 2000). Joyrich (1996) also stated that homosexuality between men is often feared within the frameworks of Northern Euro-American, heterosexual masculinities and buddy scenarios. This theory

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