In the 1980s a monumental movement took place within the realm of feminist studies when the idea of post-structuralist feminism was created. Post-structuralist feminism is based upon the principal that we as a society must look closer at the language order that teaches us to be what culture labels as “women.” It is only through viewing the cultural constructions that constitute women as different from men that beneficial change can be brought about to women. Unlike previous feminist theories, post-structuralism doesn’t believe that the difference between genders is biological, but rather that it is cultural. Society has created definitions for what is man and what is women, not our metaphysical bodies as the other feminist theories believe. This classifies post-structuralism as a form of non-essentialist feminism. They believe that everything that defines a women as a women is purely cultural. There is no essential femininity behind this social construction. Post-structuralists aim to look carefully at the relationship between a given gender identity and the patriarchal order that rules society. They want to analyze the ways through which sexuality and subjectivity are created concurrently.
The following is a paper I wrote for my Gender Studies course in December. It’s a subject that is perhaps dated at this point as the flood of masculinity based comedies have all been canceled (with the exception of Last Man Standing which has moved away from said premise). Nonetheless I figured I’d post this essay regardless of the timing. Work It had not yet aired at the time of this paper so I focused primarily on just fall 2011 series, that being said I could’t resist using a photo from it.
Women rule the world, or at least that’s what television what’s you to think right now. Often times each year without trying the various major networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) seem to create pilots, the first episode of a TV series, with similar themes and messages. Last year there was an abundant amount of shows based around the idea of couples in various states in their relationship and life (ABC’s Happy Endings, FOX’s Traffic Light, and NBC’s bluntly titled Perfect Couples). Sometimes the theme sticks more than others, but this year the theme ended up being more overtly political than usual. Just about every show this year revolves around the idea of modern gender relationships and exploring what is the core dynamic between the different sexes. While the idea of publicly addressing how gender is handled in today’s society is one that may be appealing, there is a subdivision within the theme that is perhaps a little disturbing and troubling to look at.