Category: Movie/Film

Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro star in the comedy Meet the Parents (Roach, 2000).  The clip above (at 36 seconds) represents the trailer from the film.  It illustrates that Gaylord, known as Greg in the film (Stiller), is in fact a male nurse and is criticized for it.  In one of the first scenes of the movie, a hospital patient mistakenly refers to Greg as one of the doctors on duty for the day, but Greg corrects him and tells the patient that he is just a nurse.  During the movie, Greg is forced to visit his girlfriend Pam’s parents.  Pam’s father (De Niro) creates a conflict between Greg and Pam.  Throughout the majority of the movie, De Niro and other family members tease Greg because of his occupation.  It is not until the very last scene of the movie that De Niro accepts the fact that Greg wants to be a nurse.

Gender norms have been violated in this example.  Gender stereotypes portray the majority of women as being nurses, teachers, etc; they display qualities of being supportive and helpful.  In hospitals, nurses tend to aid the patients in ways such as providing medication, providing food and comfort, etc.  These duties aren’t normally satisfactory for men.  This media example describes one of the five structural aspects of work.  Invention and Reproduction of Cultural Images of Work represents Greg Focker as a male nurse because culturally and stereotypically, women are the roles of nurses.  In the sequel Meet the Fockers (Roach, 2005) there is a representation of a “nurse reading card” that is used to teach children how to view and read a nurse.  On the photo card shows a female.  The card was only made for one gender because the profession of a nurse resides in the gender of a female.  Finally, Greg portrayed as a male nurse represents an unmarked term.

Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds star in the romantic comedy, The Proposal (Fletcher, 2009).  In the film, Bullock is the chief editor of a publishing company.  Her personal assistant, Reynolds, has been with her for three years and is desperately awaiting a promotion.  Bullock’s coworkers are more than intimidated by her.  In the clip (at 21 seconds) below, her coworkers are shown mingling and talking amongst one another.  When Bullock walks in the door and arrives at work, everyone stops mingling and talking and quickly sits at their desks and pretend like they’re working.  This shows that Bullock has the majority authority over everyone in the work place.

The beating that Reynolds’s takes from Bullock is reversed when she faces deportation for an expired visa.  She plans a case in which she marries Reynolds, however, Reynolds finally gets his promotion in return.  They go to visit Reynolds’s parents in Alaska, and the film turns into a love theme.

This is another example of Invention and Reproduction of Cultural Images of Work.  Bullock violates the gender role women partake in the work place.  “The stereotype is that women are more emotional than men” (DeFrancisco & Palczewski, 2007).  The only emotions that Bullock displayed were love emotions with Reynolds near the end of the movie.  Within the work place, Bullock showed no signs of emotion, even when she was attacked by one of her workers because of a firing.  She later stated in the movie that she went to the bathroom to cry because she didn’t want her coworkers to see that side of her.  She portrayed too much of a masculine role in the work place to cry in front of her coworkers.  Additionally, women are seen as unequal to men’s wages for the same job.  In this film, Bullock was paid substantially well, as shown in her apartment in Central Park West.

It’s tough keeping a hold on twelve children, especially if you’re the only parent there and even more especially if you’re the father.  In the film Cheaper by the Dozen (Levy, 2003), Steve Martin plays a father in which he must balance his coaching job and twelve children at the same time while his wife is on a book tour.  Things get hectic as Martin soon realizes that he can’t do this job on his own and things are getting too out of control.  In this clip (at 40 seconds) Martin shows his struggles around the household and how his kids don’t listen to him as they do their mother.  Mothers are the parents who generally look after the house and the children.  They take care of everything in and around the house, and the men stereotypically are the individuals who bring home the labor.  Since Martin doesn’t do anything around the house and hardly spends time at home, he sees what his wife has to deal with, and eventually he can’t overcome it.

In this film, Martin observes the difference between paid vs. unpaid labor.  His paid labor resides in his college football coaching, and his unpaid labor resides in his around the housework while his wife is away.  Stereotypically, children must be close with their mother, and the mother can’t do without her children.  This example is shown in the film when Martin’s wife calls room service for twelve pillows to be delivered to her room to make her feel like she’s back at home.  Another structural aspect on display is the Invention and Reproduction of Cultural Images of Work.  This aspect is demonstrated through Martin’s portrayal of a “house dad”.  In conclusion, this film displays both family and work as a social institution of gender.