Male Gender Stereotypes

By. Jessica M.

In the 1990’s The Man Show, which once rated the second most popular show on comedy central, tapped into the gender stereotype of “men behaving like men.” According to the article, “Men Behaving Badly: Mediocre Masculinity and The Man Show,” the show presents television with the stereotypical representation of a man’s perspective, toning in on their offensive behavior, “sexually charged bodies” and humorous actions. The opening line to the show, “grab a beer and drop your pants, send your wife and kids to France,” in itself represents the behavior of the men on the show, portraying that men only relax when there children and wives are away, when they have time to relax and just be “men.” The show also presents television with female stereotypes through the “Juggy Dance Squad.” This “squad” is a group of women who perform before every show. They dance in themed promiscuous outfits, dramatizing the image of women being there to entertain men, not necessarily to be productive.

Not only does The Man Show tap into the stereotype of male gender representation on television shows, but so does the show Jackass. In the article, “MTV’s Jackass: Transgression, Abjection and the Economy of White Masculinity,” written by Sean Brayton, it talks about Jackass, a show where a group of white men demonstrate their masculinity, bravery and stupidity by attempting dangerous stunts in humorous ways. The article comments on how “the Jackass gang both contests and confirms ‘normative assumptions of white heterosexual masculinity.” This can easily supported with the multiple examples of these men doing unthinkable acts in order to prove that they aren’t afraid of a challenge. In one episode Steve-O, one of the main characters, attempts to walk a tightrope above a pool filled with alligators, only wearing a helmet and a jock strap. These gender stereotypes of men portraying themselves as invincible, strong and sexually driven human beings became increasingly dramatic and apparent in the 1990’s with shows such as Jackass. This showed men doing dangerous stunts in order to prove their masculinity rather than in the past where men on comedy television were more passive and less aggressive.

Yet another example of male stereotypes on sitcoms from the 1990’s is the show, Home Improvement. In this show Tim Taylor, his wife Jill Taylor, and their three sons represent a typical, middle class, white family. Tim hosts a television show, Tool Time, with his friend Mark, in which they show how to make “improvements” on others homes as “handy-men”. In the article, “Comic Interventions: Passion and the men’s movement in the situational comedy, Home Improvement,” written by Charmaine McEachern, it points out that this show makes two very important impressions on masculinity in a home and in society. “The first convention is his identification of men with ‘power’, particularly symbolized by bigger and more powerful tools… The second… an assertion of masculinity,” (McEachern). Tim shows both of these conventions when he yells “More Power!” on his television show, suggesting that it is time to bring out more powerful tools in order to get the job done. This image of Tim going to work as a handy man is a great example of gender construction on comedy television in the 90’s. It simply reveals that men should work in the shop and do the dirty work while women are meant to stay at home, watch the children and take care of the house. And although in Home Improvement the stereotype of a man being in charge of the house and supporting his family may not be as obvious as in others, evidence of this can effortlessly be spotted through his show Tool Time and his role as a hard working father and husband.

Tool Time Clip from Home Improvement!

Works Cited

Brayton, Sean. "MTV’s Jackass: Transgression, Abjection and the Economy of White Masculinity." Journal of Gender Studies 16.1 (2007): 57-73. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <>.

McEachern, Charmaine. "Comic Interventions: Passion and the men’s movement in the situational comedy, "Home Improvement"." Journal of Gender Studies 8.1 (1999): 5-18. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <>.

Palmer-Meta, Valerie. "Men Behaving Badly: Mediocre Masculinity and The Man Show." Journal of Popular Culture 42.6 (2009): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <>.