ABC’s Modern Family reinforces societal gender roles and cements dominant beliefs about homosexual relationships. The show, which is consistently ranked as an extremely popular and highly critically acclaimed show, has the unique and powerful ability to both create and reinforce gender beliefs because of its large audience.

Modern Family strengthens societal needs to label homosexual relationships with the inclusion of hetero-normativity through their portrayal of the show’s couple, Mitchell and Cameron. The popular show felt the need to include gender specific characteristics with the couple, portraying Mitchell as the male role, while having Cameron exhibit feminine qualities. Cameron takes on the role of a female through child care and work life. He is a man who is seen as overly emotional and self-conscious about his weight. Likewise, he is referred to as the “woman” of the relationship by his father-in-law, Jay Pritchett. Furthermore, we are constantly reminded that the couple is not necessarily “traditional” in terms of a “modern” family. In one of the early episodes, Mitchell and Cameron, while discussing how they would like to raise their adopted child, make note that she cannot have a normal life: “that gay cruise ship has sailed.” More so, as the show has progressed, it has become increasingly evident that gender roles in relation to homosexuality are based stereotypically, and do not challenge these often irrelevant beliefs. As well, the female characters, as well as the “female” role that Cameron assumes, are the caretakers of the family. Cameron, Gloria and Claire are all stay-at-home parents. All three characters are responsible for the kids, and while the men are heavily involved in their children’s lives, the women are shown as the more involved parent.

The show has developed a massive following, and attempts to reach out to several key demographic areas, all of which can be attributed to the unprecedented success achieved by the Dunphy clan. However, through the show’s compliance to society’s gender roles and the way homosexual relationships can be manipulated to fit societal expectations, in these ways at least, Modern Family ultimately supports the status quo and does not effectively challenge it.

By: Matt Morehouse

V for Vendetta: Freedom Forever!

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” This quote resonates with powerful meaning in the graphic novel adaptation, V for Vendetta, a movie ripe with underlying connotation. The movie encourages everyone to wake up from their oppressed slumber and take back the power.

Set in the near future, 2038, the United Kingdom falls under control of a totalitarian government, the Norsefire party. The party cements their authority through fear and the promise to ensure safety for British citizens through complete control and surveillance. Norsefire maintains power and knowledge, only divulging information they wish to disclose. A masked man named V, dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, enters the picture with the intent to “free” the people and take back their individual identity by blowing up Parliament.

After blowing up the Old Bailey, V hijacks a news building and airs a prerecorded video of himself, admitting to the crime. He then encourages everyone to join him at the parliament building the following year, and stand up to the government.

The film sends a strong message to the audience: unless people stand up for themselves in regards to civil liberties, powerlessness will follow.

At the movie’s climax, with an array of armory pointed at V, Mr. Creedy demands that he take off his mask. Rather than opening fire on the man who has created a political uproar in London, the henchmen seem more concerned with identity and power.

As V walks towards Mr. Creedy, he informs Creedy about what he is up against, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, beneath this mask, there is an idea . . . and ideas are bulletproof.”

V fights for Britain to take control of their country and make their voices heard early and often. He insists that he is not a terrorist, and that it’s all for the greater good. The movie does a fantastic job providing justifications for V’s actions, while allowing the audience to ultimately decide whether or not he is truly justified.

Very few movies contain the power to actually empower and motivate someone to engage in social change. V for Vendetta ultimately reminds us to stand up for our beliefs, hold the government accountable for their actions, and stay active in political debate.

- Matt Morehouse

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