New Girl does a great job of representing gender equally. In the episode, “Single and Sufficient” the concept of gender can be explored in many ways. This episode is about the “couple’s retreat” that many characters attend, regardless of their relationship status. I believe this would have been a great episode to introduce characters that were homosexual or of genders other than male or female, but the writers of New Girl still did a great job of breaking the stereotypes between the two.
Equality in Agency: This episode of New Girl gives equal amounts of power to both genders. Robbie, a male, is the leader of his own social group. Jess supports his leadership and is more of a “supporting woman” in terms of the group dynamics. She sends Robbie to do the hard work in separating members who are flirting. However, this male dominant relationship is contrasted by Cece and Schmidt’s decisions throughout the show. Schmidt is often dramatic and angry and Cece is the one thinking logically, making decisions, and calming him down. This is the opposite of the “dramatic female” stereotype. Though the gender spread of this episode is 6 males and 4 females, 3 of the females are strong and important in this episode, as well as 3 males. So the true spread is about even.
Breaking Gender Stereotypes: New Girl’s characterization often defies normal gender stereotypes, especially in the character Schmidt. He is very dramatic and feminine. In this episode, Schmidt obsesses over Nick’s romance novel, talks about the advantages of glamping and how he will never use a sleeping bag, and goes to the spa. These are all stereotypical female activities, and it is good of New Girl to show that straight males can enjoy these activities as well. In this episode, Winston also breaks a gender norm by telling he wants to “be the mermaid” in their activities, even though mermaids are often women.
Race and Gender: There is many interracial couples within the show and not the slightest bit of stigma associated with it. Their race also does not determine their level or femininity.
Gender and Love: There is a lot of talk about relationships in this episode because of the involvement of the group “single and sufficient.” Jess is a part of this group, but the she clearly does not enjoy being single as she struggles to do many couples activities, such as playing badminton, alone. However, there is not a strong correlation between gender and desperation within the group, as all members seem desperate. The stereotype is that women are always looking for love, but Jess tries to defy this stereotype by being “single and sufficient.” In the end, however, the group begins to find love interests, with equal representation in gender, and including Jess and Robbie.
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