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I am going to look into the presentation of men, focusing mainly on the representations that are portrayed in chat shows. My sources of research are going to be Television shows in particular, but also the Internet and Books. I have chosen two Television shows that I am going to look at closely, these are ”The Jeremy Kyle Show” and “Maury”. I have decided that this is the best possible way of being able to look at the actions, thoughts and representations of men because of the wide range of information that I will be able to collect.
I am expecting to find that men are presented in a negative light compared to women and that they are rude, arrogant and do not care about what is going on within the world around them this is mainly due to the stereotypical view presented within other media.
The two chat shows both present men in away that suggests to the audience that men are unreliable, untrustworthy and uncaring.
First impressions of men are that they are untidy wearing messy clothing, appearing not to have made an effort, they walk onto the stage as if they have done no wrong doing and hold their heads up high. The presenters of the shows soon allow the audience to know that this is not the ‘right’ image and attitude to have. ‘Jeremy Kyle’ and ‘Maury’ both show this, Jeremy states ‘this is all very sad and wrong’ directing this at the Nathan the main male in the problem, the audience are shown to already have been feeling such emotions.
The host is always seen to support the women within the situation, who also always seem to come out on top. Jeremy Kyle and Maury both use different tactics when presenting their shows, while Jeremy takes a hands on approach with his contestants, speaking to them, asking questions and making resolutions, Maury does the opposite and stands back and lets the guests make the drama and introducing the topic and problems, keeping adding detail. The ‘Maury’ show links very well to ‘The Jerry Springer’ Show in the way the show is laid out. They have sets of guests, one person coming out first to reveal their side of the story- this is usually the stories that the audience believe and stick too. This is also usually normally the guest who is actually telling the truth and has requested to appear on the show, this guest tends to be female.
Dyer (1982) said that ‘women are shown as very feminine … and men in situations of authority and dominance over women’ within the media, this is much apparent within the Jeremy Kyle Show with one particular couple, in which the man (Nathan) goes out to work and leaves his girlfriend (Zel’s) at home with their child with a weekly allowance for herself, she is expected to be the ‘perfect housewife’ cooking, cleaning and providing a loving relationship. Through this authority and dominance, the men presented within the shows are presented as liars and cheaters, Brendan tells different stories to different women and he also contradicts himself in the show.
He explains one point to the host and later on then changes his story. In the “Maury” show there is not usually shown to be a ‘family’ setting, however when one does appear, the women/mother/wife is left at home to look after the home, child and husband whilst the male figure goes out to work and earns the money this is shown within Brians story. Both shows link together very well with each other on the matter of men and women and their roles that they present within the home. The roles presented by the guests are very traditional where the man is shown to be the breadwinner and the women is the house wife.
Relationships in the family are very important, and one that is brought up a lot within the two chat shows. Jeremy Kyle believes that the family is a very important factor of life, ‘proper’ relationships which men and women should have with their children” is what Jeremy is trying to promote. When he is faced with a guest who doesn’t shares his opinions in a very round about way. Brendan lies to all of his family members, keeping secrets from his first family and his second. Brendan stays back stage the majority of the show; he doesn’t wish to sit with his children and would rather stay out of the lime light. Within the ‘Maury’ show a nuclear family is not recognized and Maury doesn’t present the ideal family life, he doesn’t particularly present his own views and feelings, this allows him to take a back seat within his show and let the guests discuss and present their own opinions, this creates more drama for the audience because they are able to present their own feelings without knowing if they are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
This is shown with Thomas’s story (on the ‘Maury’ show), he is the father of Mel’s baby but he refuses this responsibility, he cheats on his girlfriend with her best friends and leaves his girlfriend with their new born child. He doesn’t wish to take care of his baby as it is not convenient within his new life style. Brendan on the Jeremy kyle show, is faced with a dilemma when it is stated his child was in hospital and he didn’t even visit her. Jeremy is angry about this and also the audience doesn’t take kindly to this act, he is received with ‘booing’. This sets the way that men are suppose to act and the way that we like to receive men. Other family situations are shown within this episode of “The Jeremy Kyle Show” such as the relationships between brothers.
Brendan’s brother Antony is within the audience and supports his brother with whatever he says. Jeremy and the audience try and control Antony due to his choice of language made. ”The Jeremy Kyle Show” and The ”Maury” show both present different representations of family life. Jeremy Kyle tries to present that family life should be a mother and father taking care of their children whilst Maury doesn’t directly present any ideas. However Maury does submit the idea of disproval in men who do not take care of their children. These idea’s and differences are due to they way the hosts of the shows present the men on the shows. Jeremy Kyle is more involved and likes to voice his opinion of what he thinks is right and wrong, where as Maury lets the guests do the talking.
Men are shown as not knowing how to behave within their family situations. They are shown to need extra help with these situations.
”Masculinity has long been and often been represented as the human norm and conventionally masculine qualities”. Masculinity has many representational conventions; these conventions give an audience the ability to recognize the ‘manly’ character. Within the ‘Jeremy Kyle show’ the masculine man is always represented as wrong and in the wrong doing the acts that are presented by the masculine characteristics, this in facts give men a tremendous negative representation, such as, as soon as Brendan comes out onto the shown he is greeted with ‘booing’, the audience this way allow the guest to know that what he is doing is wrong and that the ‘masculine’ acts that they portray are not ones that are received well. Within the ‘Maury’ show, men are shown as doing the wrong however in a different kind of way than the ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’ the men are always proven wrong and in the end try and fix their wrong doings with right doings however sometimes it is too late.
They don’t take responsibility when it is truly needed and the men act young and foolish. The two shows allow the audience to link the male roles to Robert Hanks, models of masculinity, the hegemonic male is always presented usually within the guests, and this male is powerful, ruthless and often subjugates others. The conservative male can be recognized within the host, he is more sensitive and open to feelings; however he is domestic and can still be presented as powerful. The last male we see within Hanks roles is the conservative male, this character type does not make a regular appearance within the show and could be seen to be someone within the audience this person is seen as weak and is often applied to homosexuality.
There is a big relation between men and sex within the chat shows, and most of the topics are created due to sexual desires and actions. Fiske said that ‘male behavior towards females is influenced by highly sexualized images of women’, this is shown by the way men treat women when they have been sexual involved with them. Jeremy Kyle presents on his show a big front about using protection and within his autobiography wonders ‘How i’m not the poster boy for Durex, I’ll never know’, so when Nathan is accused of having a ‘Secret second family’, his girlfriend realizes the relationship was based on sex and now that it is more than that Nathan no longer wants to be within the relationship after having a child with his girlfriend and being pushed with responsibility Jeremy Kyle produces the question ‘Why didn’t you slip something on the end of it’.
With all of his guests Kyle pushes the subject of contraception and pushes forward for all to use it to stop all of the unwanted pregnancies and children. Whilst on the show Nathan also admits that he has had three affairs, one being in a brothel with a prostitute. This greeted with a highly negative representation from the audience and the host. This pushes the view onto the audience and allows the audience to know that these actions are very wrong and those men behaving wrongly in their sexual relations, having sex outside of a loving relationship and sometimes cheating.
This gives the audience the view that men are always in the wrong doing compared to the actions women’s present. Men and Sex on the ‘Maury’ show is always and issue, the man usually believes he isn’t getting enough or that it is not good enough. This is shown within Desmond’s story he is married with three children in this relationship, however he also has two girlfriends with a child each, he doesn’t see this as a problem as he believes he is being ‘sexually full-filled by the three’. Thinking about sexual relationships first pushes his children down the line and he doesn’t look after them as well as he could be due to wanting to be with different girls on different occasions.
Comparing men and women within the ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’ is very easy to do. The women who appear on the show are mostly shown as right and having been presented with a wrong doing from a man. However there is some variation within the show. Kel’s admits to being violent towards Nathan on a regular and basis and he admits that he is the same towards her, this still shows Nathan in a very bad light but also brings a women down to his level also, from these variations it does slightly improve the representations that are painted of men. On the ‘Maury’ show it is slightly harder to do so. The women sometime act with violent behavior towards the men when they do not want to hear something that they say or that is revealed to them, however the men always react and tend to portray these violent acts also.
Men are however always seen in the wrong and need to apologize to the women.
Altogether through out both shows men are represented within a negative light they act with masculine representations and continue to show men in a bad way. The way the hosts act on the show however boosts the representations of men, however these issues can link to the class status of the men showing that lower class men who tend to be guests are always within the wrong and middle/upper class men who are the hosts always tend to be in the right knowing what they are talking about and knowing that they have to answers to the guests.
This is shown within an article by Barbara Ehrenreich, she states that ‘Members of the white working classes are portrayed as dumb and inarticulate. Such stereotypes serve to silence the voice of the working class in the media.’ and she also points out that ‘It is also possible that the privileged class and corporations who own the media outlets are pursing their own social and political agenda.’ The audience is in-between as they are shown to carry on the thoughts that are presented to them by the hosts of the shows, which allow them to take away who is right and wrong and how you should behave in the real world.
Men within the two shows are not always presented in a good light, with my in depth research I found what I expected to find from my research that men are ‘presented in a negative light compared to women and that they are rude, arrogant and do not care about what is going on within the world around them this is mainly due to the stereotypical view presented within other media.’ I think this is to do with many of items, such as how the audience is positioned and what the producers of the show want us to understand from the show. However there are some differences in what I thought I would find, I don’t think men are always in the wrong and sometimes women are presented within the negative light that men are. This allows the audience to understand that there is some good in men and that it is more about the person you are instead of if you are male or female. `
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