Writing Sample: Excerpt from an Undergrad Research Paper, COMM 251
NATURE OF MEDIA (Penn State University course, taken spring of 2015
under Dr. Inkuyu
Cartoon Portrayal of Women in the Media: Are sexual innuendos being snuck into cartoons?
(Pg. 2 of 6)
There is an excessive amount of low key sexist remarks showed in Cartoon Television.
Specifically, on the Cartoon Network Channel which quickly turns into the late night Adult
Swim features, ones that are far more offensive and linked to crude humor. This expands into the
demographics and audiences of different age groups. Individual characters show how their
questionable and mildly offensive jokes and mannerisms are acceptable in the current television
culture. Where is the line drawn between innocent humor and sexist remarks? Does this fall into
the “magic window” without being fully realized? Although most teenagers are past the “magic
window” theory based on their age, they are still developing emotionally and might not have a
clear sense of what is appropriately funny and what is taking it too far, subconsciously directing
the minds of young boys and girls to sexist behavior.
Who is responsible for these crude jokes and comments? Could it be the writers and
directors that are to blame? Taking a look at Seth MacFarlane and Seth Green it is well known
that they are both talented actors and screenwriters. But there is something to be said about the
way how women are portrayed in their shows. A powerful YouTube Clip of a monologue at the
Oscars featuring Seth MacFarlane caused controversy of whether or not MacFarlane was sexist
or anti-feminist altogether. It is then, however, especially difficult when dealing with comics
because it is always somewhat unclear of what is serious and what is “just kidding around.” One
theory is that the sexist motives are crafted by the editors themselves. So a question arises, is sex
being sold to young minds too early? The producers and writers of some “adult shows”, such as
Family Guy, American Dad and South Park, all fail to take into account that their audiences are
males ages 13-30. A good change these companies could make is to poke fun at another subject,
rather than constantly poke fun at distorted gender roles through their animated characters.
References used in this piece:
I. Basile, Nancy. “Family Guy Returns to Lifetime – The Return of Family Guy to Fox.” About
Animated TV – Classic Cartoons, The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park. Web. 12 May 2011.
II. “TrueChild.” TrueChild: Let Every Child Shine. Web. 12 May 2011.
III.Keefe, Ryan. "Cartoon." Portrayal of Women in the Media. Media Representation Group, 12
May 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.
IIII. Youtube.com “Family Guy- Men Joke Clip”, “Johnny Bravo-Women Voting.” “Seth
MacFarlane Speech Controversy”