The following journal entry is a textual analysis of episode 50 of Big Brother (http://www.bigbrother.com.au/video/full-episodes/) and will discuss how Australian ways of masculine and feminine are performed using scholarly references.
“Get the inside scoop! A more intimate look at your favourite Housemates, unseen action, and talking points from Big Brother’s Twisted House,” reads the caption for episode 50 of Big Brother. While this caption is rather general, it is a teaser that invites the audience to view unseen footage. The producers of Big Brother use the characters or Housemates’ gender and relationships to draw the audience in.
The use of characters in Big Brother allows the producers of the show to project any image or sound they like and it is in that representation of characters that lends to the ongoing debate about misrepresentation.
Although reality TV offers more representations of women, class and religious identities than most other mainstream television, scholars have been quick to criticize the ways in which reality TV has reinforced existing gender, sexualized, and radicalized stereotypes. (Volcic & Erjavec 2)
The phatic relationship between the Big Brother producers and I, the audience, invokes a stylized sexualized format of genders. For example, episode 50 opens with a montage of Tahan, they are extremely sexualized, the next shot is of Tahan in the diary room revealing that she is “The best person she can be in the house.” Tahan believes she is misjudged by her looks and that she can be a tom boy just as much as she can be a girly girl. The formal function of reality television has reinforced Tahan’s gender and stereotypes.
The performance of the Australian feminine is projected by Jade’s beauty (and Tim’s new pet project), Mikayla’s relationship with Mr. Clooney (the dog), and Jade’s motioning Ed to join her in bed. It is the relationship of power between the dominant force of Big Brother and the dominated housemates (Coleman 134) that reveals all of the dimensions of gender structures (see Figure 1).
The performances of the Australian masculine is strongly projected by Matt and Ed’s impromptu ‘Big Brother’s Best Athlete’, an afternoon of fun activities created by Matt and Ed to relive their boredom. Although their winner was a female, the overall segment reveals those Australian masculine stereotypes of strength, activity, fitness, and a sense of fun in the sun. The context of the Australian masculine figure can be related to Figure 1.
Each character on Big Brother uses a high level of Individual analysis, a high level of Interactional analysis and a somewhat smaller level of Institutional analysis, while they are performing. It is each characters portrayal of their own feminine or masculine that create interesting subjects for Big Brother to project.
Figure 1. Gender as Structure (Risman & Davis 745)
“Episode 50: Big Brother Confidential.” Big Brother, Channel Nine, Gold Coast, 2013. Web. 18 Sept. 2013.
Coleman, Stephen. “Acting powerfully: Performances of power in Big Brother.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 13 (2010): 127-146. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.
Risman, Barbara, and Georgiann Davis. “From sex roles to gender structure.” Current Sociology 61 (2013): 733-755. Web.
Volcic, Zala, and Karmen Erjavec. “Commercial and sexualized nationalism on Serbian reality tv.” International Journal of Cultural Studies (2013): 1-18. Web. 4 Sept. 2013.