Intertextuality and Women

Focusing on Women in the Media

The Goldbergs vs. Father Knows Best: Women’s Worth February 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 9:25 pm

Where is the women’s real place? Is it really in the kitchen like so many TV shows, movies, books, and jokes tell us?

Why did the woman cross the road?

Wait, better question, why is she out of the kitchen?

After viewing episodes from Father Knows Best and The Goldbergs, it seems that the kitchen is the place for woman.

In The Goldbers episode titled, The Singer, a very stereotypical Jewish family is presented with a tough decision; pay for their daughters voice lessons, or have her educated in the essentials(domesticated science.)This means two things for Rosalee, escape a life of gender roles that society has already mapped out for her, or continue on the road of domestication. We see the same theme played out in Father Knows Best. In the episode titled, Betty the Engineer, Betty’s school is giving vocational guidance to the students. Betty is determined to try engineering, and in doing so needs to give up her identity all together and become B.J, a boy. Her family is flabbergasted when she shares the news. Betty’s mother keeps reminding her that she is a girl, a girl! While her father suggests a career in crocheting, rather than something like engineering.

In the conclusion of The Goldbergs, Rosalee admits to her parents that she really isn’t a good singer, she just didn’t want to disappoint her mother. The family is relieved. After an episode of chaotic family dysfunction, they resolve that Betty will go back to her domesticated science and home making classes, where women belong anyway.

After Betty has a taste of “the mans world” and after being degraded by the hunky Doyle Hobbs, Betty decides to return home. She is somewhat ashamed of her failure, and is nervous of what her father will say, until Doyle Hobbs shows up to the door. Betty runs up to her room and changes out of her flannel shirt and jeans into a brand new dress. When Doyle sees her in this new dress he proclaims, “Yea, this is more like it!” She quickly ditches her dreams of being an engineer as soon as a cute boy shows up to ask her out.

“If girls are in the dust and heat too, who do you come home to” Doyle Hobbs in Betty the Engineer

Women shouldn’t be out in the world doing a mans job, they should be in the kitchen ready for a  man to come home to. This is the message these episodes are relaying.

Although it isn’t actually what was happening in the real world. During the cold war both boys and girls were treated equally in school. America was falling behind technologically and we needed our children to be well versed in math and science. In order to do this millions of dollars were put into education, and both boys and girls were given the same attention when it came to math and sciences.


Gender: Biologically Based or Socially Constructed? February 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 1:29 am

Is Gender biologically based or is it socially constructed?

Some would argue that gender is biologically based. This would mean that women are more naturing and men are more competitive because it is written in their DNA.

Others would argue (and I agree) that gender is socially constructed. This means that attitudes and beliefs are shaped by the world around us. Social pressures influence children to believe that they are supposed to act a certain way. For instance, in pre-school if a boy were seen playing with a Barbie doll it can be assumed that many of the children around him would tease him for “acting like a girl.” Also, if a girl were seen playing with a truck she would be called a “tomboy” and thought of as different than other girls.  Nowadays it is becoming more and more common to see the line between genders slowly diminishing.

Sex and Gender are NOT synonymous.

Sex= physiological; male or female

We can’t define what it is to be a woman if we can’t define what it is to be a man.



The Ideal Wife vs. That Damn Donna Reed February 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 8:24 pm

After watching an episode of The Donna Reed Show and an episode of The Gilmore Girls, the dramatic shift in the portrayals of women from the 1950s to current day are easily recognized. The Donna Reed Show episode we watched was properly titled, The Ideal Wife, throughout which we see how troubled Donna Stone is because her family and friends keep referring to her as sweet, perfect, and ideal. We see Donna dressed to the nines to greet her children and husband at the door as they leave for the day, and have dinner all ready for her guests at her dinner party. In contrast we see the Gilmore girls eating pizza in front of the television as they mock Donna Reed for her sugary demeanor.

The Ideal Wife (The Donna Reed Show) originally aired on March 11, 1959, just a few decades after women were granted the right to vote. Even after women fought for equal rights they were still shown to be lesser than men on the television screen. Women were around to keep the house clean, and have dinner on the table by the time the husband got home from work.


The "Ideal" family

That Damn Donna Reed(The Gilmore Girls) was first aired on February 2, 2001, when it was becoming somewhat normal for women to be the breadwinners and maybe single working mothers. It wasn’t surprising to see Lorelai and Rory survive just fine without a father figure and lamb dinners.


The "Realistic" family

The best part of That Damn Donna Reed was when Rory dressed up in Donna Reed garb to cook her boyfriend a steak, mashed potato, and green bean dinner (with lime jello for dessert.) She declared it “Donna Reed Night”. Her boyfriend, Dean, kept arguing that the whole mom cooking dinner for her family was nice and didn’t see anything wrong with it. Rory decided to let him taste it for himself. Dean, after partaking in the dinner, agreed that he didn’t really enjoy Rory being Donna Reed and was quite happy with how she was. Rory added that although she liked playing dress up she learned a lot about Donna Reed in the process and told us although she did play the role she also had a large part behind the scenes and was the uncredited director and producer of the show.

I enjoyed how both the families were is such stark contrast. The Donna Reed Show made people like me believe that families were actually like this back in the 50s. Sometimes after watching shows like these I would wish that families still behaved like this. Our book does a good job in dispelling this argument. The Gilmore Girls shows a more realistic modern family, although many may not like the idea of a single mom raising her child, it is a more up front and honest depiction.



Class Today…1/31/11 January 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 2:34 pm
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In class today we discussed two articles, and what we should have taken out of them.

Jason Mittell’s Introduction to Television and American Culture

Jonathan Gray’s Intertextuality and the Study of Texts


In the first part of class we went over Jason Mittell’s Introduction to Television and American culture. Some important information we went over was how Television should be studied. Mittell states that there are six functions of television and they all work together and cannot be realized without the others. The six functions are a commercial industry, a democratic institution, a textual form, a site of cultural representation, a part of everyday life, and a technological medium. As a commercial industry, Mittell is referring to the $100 billion in profit this industry makes annually through advertising, cable fees, DVD sales, etc. Television also serves as America’s watchdog by covering news and current events; this is how television is part of our democracy. As a textual form, television has its own unique “narrative structure” and genres that separate it from other media. Television is without a doubt a mirror held up to our society, often revealing our identity or distorting it. As much as some of us wish it weren’t, television is a part of our daily lives, with many of us watching at least 5 hours a day. Lastly, television is a technology, constantly advancing and becoming the center of most homes.

Perhaps the most important thing we learned in class today was the definition of Intertextuality, which is a way text connects to other texts.

Also in Jason Mittells article was a short history of American’s television development and evolution.

The Classic Network Era-

  • 1940s until the mid-1980s
  • established norms that still persist today
  • network system (ABC, CBS, and NBC)
  • audiences watched en masses simultaneously

The Multi-Channel Era-

  • 1990s
  • cable and satellite programming
  • mass audiences supplanted by demographically defined market segments
  • narrowcasting
  • remote controls & VCRs
  • households with multiple sets
  • niche audiences

The Convergence Era-

  • Present
  • controlled by audience
  • Tivo & DVR

In Jonathan Gray’s, Intertextuality and the Study of Texts, he delves more into the way texts can talk to texts and be better interpreted by putting past texts into consideration.

An important quote taken from this text says that, “text and content bleed into each other, becoming intermingled: the text is (of) the world, while the world is (made of) texts.”

Continuing from that statement is another quote taken from one of the four models of intertextuality. In the fully interactive model, not only does it agree with the Bakhtin dialogic theory that text talk to text, but it says that, “Every utterance begins as a response to something else, and ends prepared or otherwise, as something to be responded to. All communication, in other words, is but one link in a continuous chain of speech performance.”

Other models of intertextuality are…

The Hierarchal model states that intertextuality is restricted to influence. It says that reading one text influences the other. Also, meaning travels unidirectly, or past towards present. This model is very textcentric.

The Working Together model says that texts means teams. Each text performs a specific function. It supports the mean world theorem, which agrees with the idea that, because Americans are inundated with violent imagery, America is seen as more violent than it actually is. This is also called cultivation analysis.

The Divided Responsibility Model says that different genres fulfill different tasks. Also, to understand a text the researcher must place it within the context of the users or readers overall patterns of consumption.