“It’s Thanksgiving:” Gender Roles at Their Finest

This Thanksgiving break, I came home with a new outlook on gender roles and responsibilities as a result of my experiences in this class.  I suddenly became aware of how certain major aspects of the holiday that I never noticed before were strongly determined by gender division in the home.  In my house, for instance, I realized that my dad is always in charge of choosing the liquor while my mom sets the table and decides where everyone would sit.  Even Black Friday ads were targeted towards different genders as women were shown with new clothes from Macy’s while men were depicted with brand new Black and Decker electric screwdrivers.  The music video that many of us have seen, “It’s Thanksgiving,” is a glaring example of how these gender norms in the home around the holidays are inherited by the younger generation.  In the video, a young girl wearing an inappropriately large amount of makeup for her age, dances around in her 1950s-style flowery dress and sings about the holiday and all the things she will prepare for her friends.  Of course she is not helped by any sort of male or parental figure. Even more disturbing is the sudden appearance of a black adult male rapper in the scenes with the children, which is completely out of place in the storyline.  Due to the recent trends in music videos, the portrayal of the black male usually implies the sexualization of the female who is singing.  While it seems that the video is trying to de-stigmatize this notion, the viewer, based on previous experience, sees the young girl sexualizing herself along with the Thanksgiving food that the characters in the video are craving.  It is sad that the cultures of music videos and family holidays are blending in such a way that enforces negative gender and racial stereotypes.

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