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The Issue of Gender and Sexuality

Gender and Sexuality on TV

Movies have always been a highly significant part of teens’ life; later, teenagers’ attention was taken by TV series. It is essential to understand that teenagers, as well as children, have an unstable state of mind that is why it is substantially easy to manipulate them with the help of a movie and TV series, as well as the cast. Producers and directors understand that teenagers tend to copy characters in movies. Youth copies not only clothes or gestures but also the way their favorite characters live, sometimes it is even bad habits a movie character has.

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In movies and TV series of the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, girls were slim and used to keep on the diet, men were strong and dated only beautiful girls. Being overweight or wearing glasses meant that a person is ugly, and nobody wanted to make friends with him or her. The same situation was in reality when young teenagers used to bully those, whom they did not like. This film critique paper aims at showing that the situation in the movie industry has changed for the better; new movies and series about people, who are not perfect, appear, and they become role models for modern youth; the example is an American TV series Drop Dead Diva.

Gender and Sexuality in an American Series

This TV series appeared on TV in 2009 and immediately became rather popular. The plot is based on the story of a lawyer Jane with the soul of a fashion model, Deborah Dobkins. Deborah was on her way to the audition when she was killed in a car accident; when her soul entered Heaven, it appeared that she has done nothing either good or bad in her life; in several minutes, she accidentally pushes a “return” button, and her soul is brought back to the Earth, although not in her body, but the body of an overweight lawyer Jane. For Deborah, it was a catastrophe, because her life was over, although she was alive. Jane worried a lot about her weight, besides, Deborah’s boyfriend started to work in her company.

The point is that Jane could not lose weight, not only because she liked to eat, but also because she was too depressed to appear in such a body. On the one hand, the woman was not Deborah anymore, and her boyfriend could not recognize her; on the other hand, she loved him; besides, it was difficult for Jane to see how her former boyfriend began to date her colleague. In the end, Jane decided to escape this situation and leave for Paris; that very moment Deborah’s former boyfriend found out Jane’s secret and hurried to the airport; simultaneously, a judge, who liked Jane, bought a ticket for the same flight as Jane. Jane forgot about her former life, about Deborah’s life, and began to live a new life: Jane’s body, Deborah’s soul. This story shows that it does not matter how beautiful a woman is, one moment she may lose everything and chase her past till the end of the days; on the other hand, she may let her past go and live her present.

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The issues of gender and sexuality are exceptionally sharp in this TV series. First of all, the issue of gender is sharp in this movie. People used to think that women are meant to sit home and cook or raise a baby; the situation with Jane is opposite to such point of view: she does not have a family, she lives alone and works, she feels free; on the other hand, Jane wants to come home and cook for somebody. The point is that the creators of this TV series have shown that the predestination of a woman is not to do household, she may build her career and stay alone.

However, everything is not as perfect as feminists want it to be: the creators of the series tried to prove that stereotypes about women having better careers than men are wrong. There were two women lawyers, Jane and Kim; they were different to a considerable degree, but both were alone. Consequently, the series proves that a woman should always choose between a career and her family because if she does not have a successful career, it is not so cruel as not to have a family or a person to trust and to talk to.

The Issue of Gender and Sexuality in a Drop Dead Diva

Another issue that is highlighted in the TV series Drop Dead Diva is the issue of sexuality. The audience is used to see that blonde slim girls or women get all they want, while overweight girls almost always lose. The characters of this TV series prove the opposite: an overweight woman can be happy if she wants, as well as she can be sexy for her man. Since childhood, the audience is taught that being beautiful is the most significant thing in the whole life: for example, in Disney cartoon, where witches or other evil characters were shown ugly, but all main characters were tiny beautiful kind girls; these girls were praised for their appearance, how they looked like.

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The series shows that a woman does not need to lose weight and look anorexic to attract men, she needs to be beautiful inside and smart. At the end of the third season, this point of view is proved: Stacy, a blond model, Deborah’s friend and now a friend of Jane, was single, while Jane, who was attractive and smart, had almost two boyfriends: Deborah’s former boyfriend and a judge. Therefore, all women are sexy, although it depends on a man, whether he considers a woman to be sexy or not.

Gender and Sexuality on TV in the Modern Movie and Series Industry

The issues of gender and sexuality are excessively sharp in the modern movie and series industry: slim women are considered to be the most beautiful, and women are almost always shown at home doing household, while men work. Gender inequality is shown in all kinds of movies, beginning with Disney cartoons; thus, children are taught to behave like that, they copy everything they see on the screen. According to statistics, boys, who watch movies where men show their force and harm a woman, became more aggressive and showed this behavior towards their mothers or sisters.

The TV series Drop Dead Diva has shown that women are not weak, and sometimes they are even stronger than men are; on the other hand, this series is not the propaganda of feminism, it was meant to show that although women can live without men, it is senseless. Another issue that is highlighted in the series is the issue of sexuality. People used to think that men like slim girls much more than overweight ones; this TV series has shown the opposite. Thus, the main idea of the series Drops Dead Diva was not to show another story about changing souls but to destroy social stereotypes that exist in modern society. In this series, a smart overweight woman became one of the best lawyers (which is also proven by the series: her boss wanted her to be the partner), but she was also desired by two men.

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Modern society has many stereotypes that were created by the movies of the last epochs; that is why they should be destroyed by the modern film industry because young girls should understand that they are beautiful, even if they are not tiny or blond. Moreover, people, especially young girls, should love themselves the way they are, and the TV series Drop Dead Diva has shown that it does not matter how a person looks, he or she is beautiful because his or her soul is beautiful. Although the issues of gender policy and inequality, as well as issues of sexuality, are considerably sharper and urgent nowadays, they cannot be solved in one day, but the film industry may support their solving by shooting such movies or TV series as the one studied above.

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