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Masculinities in the Television Series, Friends - Essay Example

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This paper discusses friendships between men in the Northern American television series Friends and focuses upon two of the male characters, Joey Tribbiani and Chandler Bing. The comedy is about six twenty something friends that live in New York. From the 10 years run, the show had won 7'Emmys, including one for'Outstanding Comedy Series…
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Masculinities in the Television Series, Friends
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Download file to see previous pages I have looked into how Joey and Chandler mutually engage with each other, in what context this takes place, and what structures it. How does this relate to the 'real' world' Karen Walker discusses how men and women relate their behavior and conceptualize personal relations within cultural ideologies of relations (Walker: 126). Walker's argument is that most writers on friendships fail to grasp that there are differences between the (gendered) cultural ideologies and social reality. Cultural ideologies signify models and ideals that society and culture enforce upon the sexes. The depiction of Joey and Chandler may serve to counter work dominant ideologies of buddy relations representing homosociality. The concept of homosociality refers 'specifically to the non-sexual attractions held by men (or women) for members of their own sex.' (Bird: 120) Within this framework of interpretation, writers have acknowledged certain elements as vital to social interaction among men. Incapability of displaying emotions is one element, homophobia is another. Cultural norms are powerful in this sense, because they work as blueprints for how men and women perceive friendships are supposed to be (Walker: 126). She claims that few writers have noticed that we must theorize friendships (like all other gendered activity) within a cyclical framework where cultural ideologies inform gendered social interaction, as well as pay attention to how people merge and make sense of structuring elements and behavior.
Far too often writers isolate the ideology of gender, and leave out the context and specific practice that people carry out. Men in their late 20s or early 30s usually defined masculinity as performance, which is, continuously reflecting upon their own personality, identity and behavior. Thus, they reflect what is referred to as by Anthony Giddens' that in 'modern society individuals are involved in an ongoing reflexive project of the self.' Giddens claims that people in the West are increasingly aware of a 'pure relation', one that enables one to know someone else fully and in to the most profound depth.
Let's discuss how Joey and Chandler are clearly positioning themselves within the gendered ideologies of men's relations. They find it problematic to express emotional care and interest in each other since this opposes to what they know is socially acceptable for heterosexual men to do as partly due to heterosexual constraints on men's emotional presence (Joyrich 1996). There are significant differences between what we say and what we do, as Walker (Walker: 126) points out. She questions whether men's and women's same-sex friendships differ distinctively, disagreeing that men's friendships are motivated by activity, while women emphasise the importance of sharing feelings in friendships with other women. She reflects similar attitudes, finding a gap between the collective 'tough' masculinity, and the individual men's experiences and attitudes. Cultural ideologies were not powerful enough to disable the people she interviewed from making their own friendships in practice differ significantly from the norm. Walker contrasts these ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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