Modern Family, Modern Values
Although gay marriage is generally accepted in today’s society, many people’s perceptions of gay families has been dictated entirely by the media. I have not heard of a real life family with two gay parents, so based on what I have seen on television, I was led to believe that gay people were outcasts and generally always ended up alone. I had never even considered that two gay people could end up family married with children of their own until I saw the episode, “Rash Decisions” of Modern Family. Not only is this family full of love, they take on each challenge like any other person would, proving they are just like you and me. In Modern Family’s episode “Rash Decisions,” the cultural transmission is sent that although families with two gay parents might not be the typical American family, they can still function and care for each other like one.
To begin, Mitchell and Cameron are happily together. Many shows have led viewers to believe that gay people are in search of something they can never have. In the first season of Glee, the gay character Kurt is lusting after the straight male and captain of the football team, Finn. Kurt tries to express his love for Finn but is rejected and ends up lonely and misunderstood. However, Modern Family presents a different side of this issue. Mitchell and Cameron have normals jobs, a normal house, and even an adopted daughter. Mitchell and Cameron almost serve as role models. They have everything young people want for their future: financial stability and kids. Since the Tucker-Pritchett Family, is virtually identical to mine, minus the fact that my parents are straight, it teaches viewers that having gay parents doesn’t mean the family is odd or outcasted. They want to fit in in life just like everybody else and can be successful at it.
In addition, most of the media we consume shows women as the main caretakers for children. For example, in the show Shameless, even when the dad is around most of the time, the eldest daughter Fiona makes dinner for their younger siblings, does laundry, and even pays the bills. Since this is so prevalent in media today, it’s hard to consider that males could do half the job that a typical “mom” does. However Mitchell and Cameron have an adopted little girl who they do anything to make sure she’s comfortable and well taken care of. In the episode “Rash Deicisons” their dad’s dog has to come stay with the Tucker-Pritchett family until they can figure out a solution to the son’s allergies. Mitchell and Cameron’s daughter, Lily, is not too comfortable with the dog at first, however her dads help to gradually get her adjusted to the dog. In a family with a mom and dad, it’s usually the mom who cares for the children. However, since modern family shows two gay dads successfully nurturing their daughter it shows that gay men too can play the role of caretaker.
Lastly, Mitchell takes part in normal manly hobbies, contrary to what we see in media today. There is. Stereotype in today’s world that gay men typically are interested in things that women are, like fashion or cooking. However halfway through the episode, Mitchell reinvents himself to show how manly he really is. After work he grabs a beer and some wings — some of men’s favorite things. By including this, he producers are sending the cultural transmission that gay men like the same hobbies and things that stairght men do.
Overall, the media likes to portray gay men and gay families as flamboyant and outcasted. However, Modern Family acts as a forum for new ideas as they are including themes that have been neglected elsewhere. It’s important for people to be critical of the media because many families/men do not fit into gay stereotypes, and it’s unfair to group them all the same. In the end, the Tucker-Pritchett family hopes to fit in, be successful, and love each other just like all other American families.