Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yes, Dear

Season 6: Episode 116: Martial Aid

I chose to do an episode of “yes, dear”. In this episode Greg and Kim have a couple over for dinner. This couple has a very dysfunctional relationship, the husband controls everything that the wife does, tells her what she will eat, drink, and when she should talk. Kim finds this to be very wrong and offensive and when the couple leaves she is extremely nice to Greg, cooks him his favorite breakfast, does all the housework and lets him do whatever he wants because she is so thankful that he doesn’t treat her the way that their friends husband treated his wife. Greg loves the attention that he is getting from this and continues to invite the couple over so he can wreak the benefits after they leave. He then tells Jimmy about the couple because Jimmy and Christine are in a fight, so Jimmy and Christine go out with this couple and the same thing happens, Christine is so appalled by how this husband treats his wife so she is extremely attentive to Jimmy.
The reason why I chose to do this episode is because it shows male privilege and it also shows how Jimmy and Greg take advantage of the fact that Christine and Kim feel like they owe Jimmy and Greg something just because Jimmy and Greg don’t treat them badly. Jimmy and Greg should treat them fairly because they are their wives and they love them, Kim and Christine don’t owe them anything for treating them fairly.
One connection that I made with our readings from class is that in Johnson’s chapter 2, Privilege, Oppression, and Difference, it states “privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do” (21). This relates to the “yes, dear” episode because the men don’t feel the need to be nice to their wives because they are being nice to them, but the wives feel the need to be nice to the men because they treat them better than their friends husband treats his wife. In a society in which privilege does not exist, the men would feel as though their wives do not owe them anything and that they should treat their wives nicely all the time and then they could be expected to be treated the same in return.
Another connection that I made with this episode and Johnson’s chapter 2 is in chapter 2 it states, “The second form of privilege- what McIntosh calls ‘conferred dominance’- goes a step further by giving one group power over another” (23). The Johnson goes on to talk about how this usually comes in the form of men controlling conversations held with women. In the episode, the friends of Jimmy and Christine, the husband controlled when his wife would talk. He always degraded whatever she said, and he also would order what she wanted to drink and eat without consulting her first to see what she would like. He basically acted as though he had power over her and she was supposed to do, say, and think whatever he told her to.
Overall, this is not a good message to send to kids or teenagers through television. If they see it on television they may get the same attitudes and beliefs in their heads. However, I believe that younger viewers may be able to recognize what is wrong in the episode and see the male privilege that is being portrayed.

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