The One with All the Gender Ideologies

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Aguilar, Y. M. (2015). The One With All The Gender Ideologies: A Discourse Analysis on how the TV sitcom Friends represents gender through its humor. Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

The study examines how the TV sitcom Friends represents gender and what the role of humor is in this representation. It uses feminist theory, queer theory, and humor theory to analyze how the sitcom represents gender through its humor. The thesis works under two notions: (1) gender as a discourse and (2) humor as a discursive strategy.

This research uses discourse analysis to examine the sitcom Friends using Dr. Estrada-Claudio’s guide questions to make the qualitative interpretation. It found that humor in Friends functioned in three different ways. First, it became an indicator of what is acceptable and what is not. Second, it was used to reinforce, maintain, and perpetuate dominant gender ideology. Lastly, given its dual nature of giving power to the dominant as well as the subordinated, humor in the series was also used to challenge the repressive and oppressive power of patriarchy, hegemonic masculinity, and heteronormativity.

By undertaking this study that analyzes gender representations, this thesis aims to provide a critical voice for the underrepresented genders and, thus, a source of people empowerment where everyone becomes increasingly media literate and fights for gender equality in their media representations.

Keywords: sitcom, Friends, humor, gender, Feminism, queer, discourse

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