Throughout the course this semester, iCarly has been an interesting piece to analyze on numerous levels. We have studied this television show from numerous angles, which included the actual content itself, the comedic strategies that it uses, stereotypes that are presented, the role of adults in the show, themes it suggests to it's viewers and the list can go on. But one concept of the show that caught my attention in particular happened to be rather simple, but also crucial at the same time; gender. iCarly brings up some interesting themes and concepts on the use of gender, which is specifically why I decided to pursue this topic in a much deeper manner.
Even as far back as we can remember, we grew up learning about gender and the knowing the differences between being a man and being a woman. We knew what qualified an individual to be considered a “man”, a “woman” and also what came along with these genders as well. So taking a look at iCarly, there is no question that this show follows up on these same proposed ideas on gender, too. Now since iCarly is considered a kids show and airs on Nickelodeon, people feel as if that we should not read too much into it, since after all, it is only a “kids show”. So whenever one may bring up the word or something associated with Nickelodeon, we tend to hear things such as “its for kids, its supposed to be silly”, “its just light-hearted fun”, “there is no need to be worried if its on Nickelodeon” and the list can go because everything seems to get the green light from adults if Nickelodeon is mentioned somewhere in the discussion. But with these shows for kids, like iCarly, what exactly do these shows tell or suggest to kids, especially in regards to gender? What sexual-related themes are children acquiring from watching this show? What is the producer of iCarly saying about the roles of gender through use of this show? So for a show such as iCarly aka a “kids show”, there seems to be a much deeper meaning behind the gender-related themes that kids are spending numerous hours in front of the the television screen observing.

So with this proposal, the ways I tried to get a better understanding behind this was with the use of viewing episodes and taking notes, while taking notice of any gender-related themes that came up throughout various episodes of iCarly. Starting off with my own analysis, what I did was view various episodes of iCarly and paid close attention to any and everything that dealt with gender in some shape or form.

Taking a look at the very first episode we watched in class as a whole, titled iRocked the Vote, some interesting points came up throughout the episode that caught my attention in regards to gender. Within the first five minutes of the episode, we see an episode of iCarly being filmed and while Carly is answering questions from fans, Freddie creates a fake question that he uses to flirt with Carly, saying something in regards to “One fan asks 'Carly, wouldn't you like to date Freddie at some point'”, where the crowd laughs and Carly tells him to be serious and ask the real question. With this example alone, this is saying something about gender themes/stereotypes that probably would go unnoticed by a typical viewer of the show who is of a younger age. To the viewer, it comes across as comedy because of the laugh track and the way the scene is laid out. But to me, I felt that this was saying something about gender stereotypes in regards to men. With men, a common stereotype that generally is associated with us is that we tend to always fall for the pretty girl that we cannot have (usually in a lustful manner) and we tend to not get the picture that we will never have a chance of being with them, regardless of the numerous attempts we take. Also staying with this concept, another episode I viewed that was titled iSpy a Mean Teacher, Freddie and Carly got stuck inside of their teacher's closet and once again, Freddie tried his luck with Carly, saying something like “ Well here we are Carly....just me and you...nobody else” and Carly quickly responded “Freddie, this is no time to try to make a move on me”. This also brings up the concept of not only do men continue to flirt with women who are not interested, but are persistent in their attempts, regardless of whatever circumstance they are in.

Also within the iRocked the Vote episode, the iCarly crew felt bad about influencing the votes to go in the direction of one particular contestant on an American Idol-like television show and said they would help the loser make a music video to help even things out. So when they began to get the area ready for the shooting of the video, about 5-6 girls, who were the back-up dancers, came into the room wearing skimpy gold outfits for the video. Then when Freddie watched the back-up dancers come into the room, he was overwhelmed by the beautiful girls that were coming in one-by-one and nearly forgot about the video overall. Now with this example, this brought up a concept regarding females that particularly caught my attention. Just looking at this scene, this is giving the impression that in order to look sexy or catch a boy's attention, less clothing is the best kind of clothing. The outfits the back-up dancers had on consisted of tight gold shirts and matching shorts that were skimpy as well, which is what made Freddie almost “lose his mind” because of the way the dancers both looked and what they had on. Also within the same episode, Carly came into the room with a dress that was a decent length above her knees, which also happened to catch Freddie's attention. So after soaking Carly in visually, Freddie went on to say to Carly, “Wow, Carly. You should dress like that more often”, which reinforces the idea that men like women who show a little skin in their wardrobe and that the less clothes or more skin that is exposed from a female's particular wardrobe will attract more men in result.

Also in another episode that was viewed, titled iHave a Love Sick Teacher, the iCarly crew's teacher comes to visit Spencer and has on a dress that, once again, catches Freddie's eye. Freddie goes on to say, “Ms. Ackerman, you look amazing” and repeatedly says “whoa” over and over as he asks the two other girls if they had seen the way their teacher looked. So this “less is best” theme in regards to women and skimpy clothing comes up numerous times throughout the season in numerous episodes. It says in Kids Rule: Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship by Sarah Banet-Weiser that “Precisely because of the presumed innocence of the child viewer, media images and narratives of sexuality-especially female sexuality-have been intensely contested issues for media creators as well as media advocates and parents” (Weiser, 2007, 108), which displays just how much sexuality and females have been a hot issue in children's media. Also taking a look at female stereotypes, the episode iWant to Date Freddie brings up an interesting concept of how woman operate. In this particular episode, a girl who goes to school with the iCarly crew video calls the show and asks to speak to Freddie. Then when Freddie comes to the screen, the girl goes on to tell him she thinks he is very cute and would love to go on a date with him. Then after they get together and eventually start dating, the girl tells him that she wants to create her own web series and wants him to help her produce it. Then as the episode goes on, Freddie finally realizes that she just wanted to be with him to simply use him for her own benefits and not because she really liked him, which brings up another interesting concept. This particular incident reinforces the stereotype that women will go through any measurement to get what they want, regardless of the fact that it may destroy relationships that have already been established or if they even do not like the person, at all. This shows the viewers that females are sneaky, conniving, not easy to trust, and will do anything to achieve their goals. Now being at a more mature level mentally, someone like myself may be able to pick up on a concept such as this. But when shows that advocate issues like these are being aired to children in the 6th and 7th grade and are still learning about the world, what message are they exactly receiving from content such as this?

In the year 2011, there is no question that iCarly is an extremely popular show among youth, today. It offers comedy, interesting story plots, opportunities for youth to have leadership roles for a change, but these are not the only things that the show offers. After doing my own research, I have come to discovered that the show consists of gender-related stereotypes, which includes sexuality, deceiving tactics, sexual appeal, male stereotypes and female stereotypes, which all may not be appropriate issues for 11 and 12-year-olds to be dealing with at the moment. I am not necessarily saying that the show is not good for children overall, but there are some “grown up” themes that are addressed in a kid-friendly manner. So iCarly may provide laughs and fun to it's viewers, but we also have to be careful with what else it is providing to it's viewers, especially in regards to gender stereotypes.