The One About Gender and Sexuality: An examination of the television series Friends
Honors College Thesis
This study of the 1990s television show Friends analyzes the representations and portrayals of gender and sexuality presented throughout the series. Episodes containing the word “Wedding” in the title were examined for issues of gender and sexuality. This examination specifies particular attention to the lesbian and transgender community in regards to Friends’ representation of sexuality. While an examination of gender in Friends focuses more on ideas of hegemonic masculinity and adverse ideas of feminism and postfeminism. Through the application and acceptance of media influence being derived through a process of negotiated meaning, a motley of possible influences and effects can be extracted from Friends. The identification of Friends as a negotiated text prevents a solitary identification of Friends as either a positive or negative text in terms of sexual and gendered representations/expectations and allays the plausibility of identifying all possible influences Friends has on viewers’ perceptions. However, it is still vital to examine and identify a number of these representations and possible influences, so that a greater level of understanding, consciousness, and cultural significance can be derived about the influence Friends had and has on viewer’s beliefs, attitudes, and expectations particularly in regards to gender and sexuality.
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