“Of Frasier’s Women” (A 50-second read about my conspiracy theory.)

With this blog entry, and through the lens of the hilarious and iconic TV show Frasier, I begin an exploration of the question below:

Do we believe that there is a conspiracy to manipulate the great power of popular culture to desensitize the public and to teach us to glorify some over others?

The way in which women are featured on the Emmy-winning television show raises questions about a lack of respect for women in the public discourse.  On the show, there is a long-line of girlfriends who are portrayed as never being quite good enough for the main character.  The regular female characters hardly fare better.  Specifically:

  • A woman portrayed as an irresponsible sex-aholic who unintentionally ends up a single mom.  (Roz.)
  • A domestic aide who is not-so-secretly objectified and lusted-after by one of the male leads.  Her intellectual incapacity is regularly mocked; even her very name, Daphne, reminds one of the word daft.
  • The wealthy, powerful wife (then ex-wife) of a male lead.  Her lack of beauty is made known only through the malicious comments of the other characters’ dialogue.  She is never seen and is never given voice.  (Maris.)
  • And, of course, Lilith.  The lead’s ex-wife, a mean, heartless, Satan-of-a-woman.  Indeed the name “Lilith” comes from Jewish folklore, a female demon who tries to kill newborn children.

In all honesty, I write this partially in jest, but it does AGAIN beg the question: do we believe that there is a conspiracy to manipulate the great power of popular culture to desensitize the public and to teach us to glorify some over others?  

Or is it all just good fun?

While these aren’t really new questions (i.e. Paulo Freire’s “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” and countless others), I do think that it’s useful to engage the question through the vernacular of modern-ish television, and of an evolution (or a devolution) in thinking.  Please comment below with your insights and thoughts.

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