The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

The three most sexist American TV shows, in my opinion, were Green Acres, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched. I’m often treated to their reruns at work. My coworkers seem to love them. They only seem to nauseate me. But hey, I’m getting paid to watch television, so who am I to complain?

The premise of Green Acres is that the husband wants to be a farmer while the wife loves the big city. So naturally the wife has to sublimate her wishes and desires to fulfill the dream of the man. I’d love to say that this show was a product of its time, but you still see this happening with couples today. It was much more justifiable when the husband brought in the bulk of the income. After all, you have to go where the money is to survive. But in this day and age women are also working more often than not. And I’m sorry, but no man is dragging me off to live in some shack so he can play around on a tractor while wearing a tie and a sweater vest.

green acres

I Dream of Jeannie, on the other hand, was all about power. Clearly she had much more power than he did, so naturally the show was all about keeping her in check. She called him “master”, for cripes sake. That makes me cringe. When Jeannie would get feisty, “Master” would simply stuff her in her bottle and cork it. No wonder she fell in love with him. Ick.

jeannie

Bewitched was another case of a powerful woman being held back by her man. I never understood why Darrin was so hell-bent on Samantha not using her witchcraft. I mean, come on! She had the ability to make their lives extraordinary, but he used guilt, anger, and intimidation to prevent her from doing so. Why would she stay in a marriage in which her husband was perpetually pissed off at her? It makes no sense. This is one time when the stereotypical obnoxious mother-in-law had a point. Why would you put up with that level of oppression?

bewitched

I hate the lessons these shows taught us. And yes, I watched them religiously when I was growing up. I’m sure my psyche will never be the same. It was even worse for my mother’s generation. She was a contemporary to these actresses, and in many ways she marched to the beat of the very same drummer. I got to watch her defer to my stepfather in spite of the fact that he was one of the most stupid men on the planet, who did nothing but make poor decisions for our family.

We are all products of our environment. We tend to assume the norm is also the appropriate. Question reality. That’s all I’ve got to say.

10 thoughts on ““You are my Wife.” “Good-bye City Life!”

  1. Carole Lewis says:

    My Husband, although a gentle compassionate soulmate, sits and laughs at these shows, I just leave the room. The years have distanced me from the humor of the show to it’s true message.

    1. It seems these shows will be with us for a long time, like PCBs. Sometimes just leaving the room is the most diplomatic thing one can do.

  2. I agree that these are sexist, but you have to take them in the context of the times they were made. Go back and look at some earlier shows and it is even worse. Just remember that the original Star Trek when it was made could only show a bi-racial kiss between Kirk and Ohura by having them forced into it by some crazy god/alien. Shows made before the women’s movement reflect a different time.

    1. True. But that doesn’t make me feel any less nauseous when I watch them.

      1. I got daughters… I feel you… I mean… you know what I mean…

      2. Sandy says:

        I enjoy your postings, and you are a good writer. Just an FYI….I get nauseated when people incorrectly use “nauseous” instead. Nauseous is what you make people feel…nauseated is how you feel.

        Sigh.

      3. Ah, the living, breathing English language. Merriam-Webster has updated its definition for nauseous to keep up with the times. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nauseous So my usage is correct. I am also allowed to end sentences with prepositions. Yay! But thank you for keeping me on point, Sandy!

  3. KerrickM says:

    I don’t watch ’em. I had enough of being dragged around to some nasty places by my parents, against my will, not knowing when I would ever return, to not ever want to marry now–not to let someone else screw up my dreams, or risk screwing up theirs.
    Some people think of their kids as just dogs in crates, to ship wherever.

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