December 23, 2004


CavX laments the values being portrayed on TV these days and notes that the last show to "reflect the values of the average American was probably The Cosby Show." I'll drink to that. TV is such crap these days. The only thing we watch in this household is Smallville, which represents Superman's values, so how can you go wrong there? I also never miss a rerun of Happy Days. Arthur Fonzarelli is one of the greatest role models of all times: he's the coolest guy in town, but secretly he wishes he were Richie. (Oddly enough, Lex Luthor fills the same shoes in Smallville.)

We also are big fans of animated shows (Futurama, South Park, Family Guy, The Simpsons). I remember when my brother got interested in The Simpsons early on, I thought it was a terrible show with terrible values. I mean, Homer was always choking Bart. But that was the extent of my knowledge about the show. As I've started to watch earlier episodes, I've seen some very heartening things. Homer may be a bumbling fool, but he loves his family and always puts them ahead of himself (see "Colonel Homer" or "I Married Marge"), and Fry may be a fool, but he loves Leela (see "Parasites Lost" or "Time Keeps On Slipping"). And the women on the shows don't treat the men nearly as badly as un-animated women do. I stopped watching Everybody Loves Raymond the day Debra drove Ray to rip up his Super Bowl tickets. I couldn't believe that she could be so selfish as to refuse him the happiness of going to the Super Bowl with a buddy. Modern women treat men like dirt on sitcoms, but Marge is always patient and loving. She loves Homer for who he is, not who she can make him into. Leela's not there yet -- she preferred the parasitic Fry -- but she doesn't try to make Fry something he's not; she just doesn't date him. (I'm hoping she comes around in Season 5; Nibbler needs to get to work on his promise!)

Several years ago, I had an argument with a feminist: she said that it was demeaning to take on gender-specific roles in the household, even if you don't mind. I said that I was perfectly happy with doing the dishes and laundry while my husband mowed and took out the trash, so why should we switch chores just to avoid being gender-bound? She was appalled; I was bewildered.

I'm a pretty old fashioned girl. One of my students brought in The Good Wife's Guide to show me as a joke. To be honest, I don't really think it's that funny. I think one of the best ways to success in marriage is to care about your spouse more than you care about yourself. Caring for my husband means recognizing that he works harder than I do every day, and that my stupid problems of arguing with my co-worker are nothing compared to what he faces in Baqubah. Caring for him means wanting him to come home to a clean house and yummy food. Caring for him means bringing him a beer or going to get him a cookie. The trick is that I do those things because I want to, not because he expects or forces me to. That's the key to success. My goal is to make his life better or easier, which makes him happier, which makes me happier. It has nothing to do with being trapped in gender stereotypes or forced to act like Susie Homemaker. There's nothing inherently wrong with traditional gender roles; the only problem is when someone is forced to fit a role she doesn't want. I willingly accept the role, and I'm happy to do it. TV women these days consistently seem to resent that role, and thus end up paired with unhappy husbands. They don't care about their spouse more than themselves; they care about "being equal." I'm just not interested in watching that.

So anyway, the phone just rang and I've lost track of where I was going with all of this. If I were one of my students, I'd lose points for having a weak thesis. In summary: TV sucks. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go see what's on.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:39 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 721 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Hi Sarah - the pendulum does swing. I'm trying to figure out how to say this. Before men pretty much did not 'help' around the house. Roles have leveled out though. That said, today there is an emmasculization by popular culture (advertising, msm, tv programs) which is unhealthy for young women and unrealistic. I agree with you but I can tell you that it took me a few years to get back to this belief. The feminist's out there just can't abide in allowing men to be men. There are diffences between men and women and they should just get over it. These women sound whiny and spoilt in my view. They are the first ones to call for a man if their car breaks know what I mean. Enough. :-)

Posted by: Toni at December 23, 2004 08:55 AM (c74Pi)

2 You're right about most of this, Sarah, but be careful about how you phrase your explanation and reasoning...don't fall into the trap of using the "selfless" justification.

Posted by: david at December 23, 2004 09:33 AM (ZVhuO)

3 Try the show Monk. It's a good one.

Posted by: John at December 23, 2004 09:56 AM (+Ysxp)

4 Very good post, Sarah. I have similar reservations about "Everybody Loves Raymond", and I love "The Simpsons". David, I think it's good for a wife to be "selfless" as long as the husband is too. A wife can care for her husband more than herself as long as it's a two-way street (assuming the wife is not abusing or neglecting herself).

Posted by: Matthew Goggins at December 23, 2004 12:44 PM (OSvpn)

5 Sigh. Doing nice things and being considerate of your spouse should not be considered or called "selfless." Sarah, if you're enjoying "Atlas Shrugged" as much as you indicated earlier, you should understand the point that I am trying to make. You're a good wife, a good person, and a very thoughtful, considerate spouse, but you are NOT "selfless."

Posted by: david at December 23, 2004 01:49 PM (ZVhuO)

6 david, I understood what you meant in using the word "selfless". There are two clarifications you should know: 1) my husband has earned my love based on his merit and 2) it is not selfless considering what I get in return -- the same dedication and respect from him. It's completely selfish

Posted by: Sarah at December 23, 2004 04:14 PM (8SXx0)

7 Sarah, I can't help but point you to a similar posting on my blog, albeit of a different vein.

Posted by: Sean Doherty at December 23, 2004 04:36 PM (KS6Yr)

8 Sarah, I agree with you completely. My husband is in Iraq and today is our Anniversery....I would give anything to have him on the couch while I am cooking dinner and getting him a beer.............

Posted by: Kelly at December 23, 2004 05:03 PM (WXHIS)

9 >Try the show Monk. It's a good one. It's great... but if "Monk" makes you think of family values, I am NOT coming to your house for Christmas!

Posted by: CavalierX at December 23, 2004 06:47 PM (sA6XT)

10 I stopped watching Raymond when his Mother had a selfishly interupts Ray's brother's wedding. I get mad just thinking about it now.

Posted by: Amy at December 24, 2004 04:10 AM (i3kAW)

11 (I should not be commenting at 2 am my time, typos abound!) I stopped watching Raymond when his Mother selfishly interupts his brother's wedding. I get mad just thinking about it now.

Posted by: Amy at December 24, 2004 04:11 AM (i3kAW)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
50kb generated in CPU 0.0096, elapsed 0.076 seconds.
49 queries taking 0.0688 seconds, 208 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.