An Argumentative Essay about Two and a Half Men Television Series primarily manifests sexism through gender stereotypes

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Stereotypes in Two and a Half Men Television Series

The 1950s saw the launch of the Second Wave Feminism, which further marked the beginning of the first studies regarding the media’s portrayal of genders. For the Second Wave feminists, the mass media was on top of their agenda as a result of its repressive representations of the female gender in various genres. Notwithstanding, this issue was treated with the seriousness it deserves in the 1970s, and this topic is still widely debated in modern media studies (Thompson 337). Jennifer Siebel Newson’s 2011 documentary entitled Miss Representation provides a clear illustration of how the media shapes the public’s perception of gender roles. Gender role stereotypes are “oversimplified and widely held beliefs about the basic characteristics of men and women” (Coon and Mitterer 365). Using the show Two and a Half Men (one of the controversial movies especially among the feminist movement), this paper will argue that the feminist movement right to categorize the movie as misogynistic and sexist.

Generally, liberal feminists note that the media often portray the female gender as a sex object, mother, maid, wife, or daughter. As this paper will demonstrate, this supposition is overly relevant when examining sexism in the Two and a Half Men show. In this series, the main character named Charlie Harper, along with his brother Alan, lead an affluent life in a mansion located near the ocean. Charlie is a philanderer who engages in intimate relationships with multiple exceptionally beautiful women only to dump them after a short while. Despite being old enough to get married, Charlie does not seem to be interested in any sort of long-term relationship with a woman. Eventually, he settles for an intelligent and beautiful woman but he still cannot resist the urge to get intimate with random women.

One of the key characters who depict female stereotypes is Megan Fox, a teenage girl with a little education. In one of the episodes, she is portrayed as a sex symbol that leaves men drooling over her beautiful and curvaceous body the moment she enters Charlie’s mansion. Even more interesting, Alan’s ten-year-old son joined the men in the “gaze.” She is scantily dressed and cleans windows in an extremely provocative fashion seemingly not bothered by the presence of the two men and the young boy. This episode forces the audience to view women from Charlie’s perspective. Instead of focusing on Megan’s face, the cameraman concentrates on giving the audience close-up shots of her voluptuous bikini dressed body. This episode adds more weight to the argument that the show displays woman as sexual objects.

In addition to the main characters, some minor characters also play the female stereotypical roles. Rose, for instance, is depicted as Charlie’s psychopathic stalker, despite the fact that Charlie had out rightly rejected her on multiple occasions.  In the earlier years, Rose had a one-night stand with Charlie. She is portrayed as an extraordinarily patient and mild-mannered character since she acts as a deranged individual in multiple occasions. In the first episode, for instance, she glues Charlie’s kitchen cabinets for no good reason. However, she is still hopeful that Charlie will consider having an intimate encounter with her once more; this is an illogical display of women’s loyalty to the men. In a nutshell, the movie portrays women as the inferior gender.

Evelyn is another hedonist character who, just like her son Charlie, leads a free and sexually dominated life. Although her successful, independent, and promiscuous lifestyle clearly works against the female stereotypes, her poor parenting skills and cruelty makes women appear inferior. Evelyn’s character further promotes the stereotype that women are only interested in a man’s wealth when seeking a marriage partner. This point is well illustrated when Evelyn seems exceedingly infatuated by Norman’s car. Charlie’s housekeeper, Berta, often makes misogynistic comments. For instance, she suggests to Allan that the only way he would have sex with his new rich and beautiful neighbour is by drugging her. Such a comment certainly fosters the rape culture and objectification of women.

Approaching this television series from a cultural perspective, however, one would argue that the main motive of the show is to illustrate how “real men” look like rather than objectifying women. Charlie and his brother Alan are the polar opposites of each other. Charlie is rich and thus considered attractive. He can date any woman he wishes since resources are not a problem to him. Conversely, Allan is divorced and has no much wealth, which means that he cannot court whomever he wishes. According to the series and from a cultural viewpoint as well, a “real man” is stronger than a woman and should comfortably support his family (Addis and James 5).

In conclusion, the television series displays women as sexual objects for the men. The show primarily manifests sexism through gender stereotypes, gender roles, and condemnation of those who take a feminist viewpoint. Although the minor characters do not perpetuate sexism to the level of either Alan or Charlie, they have been effectively used to foster sexism, though in an relatively indirect way. Additionally, some female characters in the show, such as Evelyn, are portrayed in a more negative manner compared to the men.  Overall, the show is sexist.

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