we have been learning about the family, marriage, the culturally defined roles of men and women in the family, and how the family has changed over the years in both the United States and the global community. But, does the mass media impact our views of family? Let’s have some fun and explore mass media and the family in this critical thinking assignment by looking at cultivation theory.
Cultivation theory, which was developed by media researchers, suggests that there are consistent images, themes, and stereotypes that cut across programming genres. As a whole, these different media images cultivate a view of the family and gender roles that is consistent. Thus, viewers who watch comedies, soap operas, reality shows, news stories and weekly news programs, sporting events, dramas, and late-night television programs will develop similar and consistent views.
Unfortunately, these media views of the family and gender roles are oftentimes partially or completely incorrect and widespread. Males are generally viewed as more ambitious and successful than women, and women are more nurturing and emotional than men. Similarly, the view of the family presented in Leave it to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, Roseanne, The Crosby Show, The Simpsons, and Modern Family has influenced generations of viewers’ thoughts about the typical family system in the United States. The family has never been as perfect as we were led to believe by the Cleaver family of Leave it to Beaver, and it is generally not as dysfunctional as is presented in The Simpsons.
Your task in this assignment is to look at one of your favorite network or cable shows and discuss the view of the family and gender roles that may be created from the show.