The roles of both men and women have changed drastically over the years, both in real life and in television.
I am woman
Xena: Warrior Princess pushes the envelope of gender roles even more. Unlike most women on television, Xena is rather stoic; she seems unaffected by fear and rarely smiles or laughs, except to chuckle scornfully at a defeated enemy. Her prowess as a fighter is undisputed. A warrior both physically and mentally, she can defeat a crowd of challengers with almost no effort at all. She also has a loving, albeit ambiguous relationship with her sidekick Gabrielle, another element not often found in television today.
The show has developed a huge following among all sorts of folks and ratings continue to climb steadily. But "Xena: Warrior Princess" would not be so successful had it not been for groundbreaking shows like Mary Tyler Moore, Maude, Roseanne and Murphy Brown.
Do you think this portrayal of an independent, aggressive woman who doesn't cook, clean or have a family accurately reflects women today? Tell us!
Which television character most accurately portrays women?
who's the man?
Hercules: the Legendary Journeys represents a more traditional view of men. Hercules is independent, courageous and often relies on physical strength to win battles. This reflects the view of many men that masculinity means being "self-assured, unafraid and in control" (Fiske. 200). Hercules' masculinity is also reflected in his physique (6'3", strong and tanned) and his half-man half-god status.
Since his wife and children were killed, he has few committments and can roam the land fighting evil with his good friend Iolaus.
The relative absence of women in "Hercules: the Legendary Journeys" emphasizes the masculine qualities of Hercules and Iolaus. The few women who do appear often have negative roles like she-demon, vengeful goddess, or servant, validating the theory that women threaten masculinity because they represent everything that men try to repress (vulnerability, emotion, etc.).
So...what do you think? Are most men today strong quiet warriors like Hercules? Let us know!
Which television character most accurately portrays men?
What do you think about the way television portrays men and women? Was your "most accurate portrayal" candidate not on our list of characters? Or is television completely out of whack in its representations of each gender? Speak your mind in the Xena vs. Hercules BBS
- Rhonda Nelson. "The Female Hero, Duality of Gender and Postmodern Feminism in Xena: Warrior Princess."
- Whoosh! (www.whoosh.org).
- Xena: Warrior Princess -- Official Site.
- Hercules: the Legendary Journeys -- Official Site.
- Fiske, John. Television Culture.
- Montgomery, Kathryn C. Target: Prime Time. Advocacy Groups and the Struggle Over Entertainment Television.
- Douglas, Susan J. Where the Girls Are: Growing up Female with the Mass Media.