Eggbert - Camille Neal Introduction to Gender Studies Lourdes Hurtado April 9 2012 Whether through popular television songs magazine covers or movies

Eggbert - Camille Neal Introduction to Gender Studies...

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Camille Neal Introduction to Gender Studies Lourdes Hurtado April 9, 2012 Whether through popular television, songs, magazine covers, or movies, the media constantly displays and promotes gender stereotypes. Sometimes media portrayals of gender roles are fair and true to nature; other times they are simply unrealistic and unhealthy. It is important to carefully analyze popular media through a gender lens, so that a greater understanding of conventional “gendered” behavior can be achieved. For this essay, I chose to analyze an episode entitled “Eggbert” from the iconic 1980’s television show Degrassi Junior High School. This episode particularly interested me because of it’s exposure and dissection of a situation often overlooked by popular broadcast: the male role in a teen pregnancy. This paper intends to explore the possible reasons why Degrassi is more realistic and identifiable than other television shows of it’s time, and then use the readings we discussed in class, namely Pasco, Kimmel, West & Zimmerman, Bordo, and, to analyze the ways in which gender is portrayed in “Eggbert”. I will then discuss the effects these portrayals could have had on the predominately teenage audience of the show at the time. Degrassi was an innovative program that attempted to break barriers and realistically represent kids of all sizes, races, abilities and sexualities, as they struggle with difficult situations. The 52 actors on the show was composed of actual students from the Toronto area. The students had little or no acting experience, and many of the episode story lines were drawn from real events that the students had experienced. The actors were responsible for choosing their own wardrobes and makeup, so that a high level of authenticity could be portrayed. So what caused this show, which, according to New York Times journalist John Burns, had been “remolding the pat-a-cake image of what the industry, with at least some sense of paradox, likes to call ''children's television.'”, to come about? The prime reason was due to the intentions of it’s creators to make a realistic show which could even be used by instructors in classrooms to engage students in discussion. Co-creator and director Linda Schuyler stated “I don’t have any ambition that we are on that kind of mission that we are going to stop all kids from taking drugs and no kid is going to have any kind of sex unless its safe sex after having watched Degrassi. I think our biggest mandate is to present kids with alternatives for behavior, and then it is still up to them what way they are going to choose. But let them make life choices from an informed base rather than just out of naivety.” The show, unlike most other popular 1980s shows, was able to combine humor and “tough tender issues of growing up” in a way that highly appealed to audiences. The show became so popular that it was broadcasted in 30 different languages. “Degrassi” writer Yan Moore believed

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