Realistic scenarios within television shows cause strong emotional connections from the audience with the characters. Viewers will often identify themselves in characters through the similar situations and struggles they share with them. Double standards and stereotypes surrounding gender is among these issues that one can truly relate to when represented on television. The character of Roz Doyle in the television show Frasier is an excellent example of a woman trying to combat sexist views through her actions. The creators of Frasier used her role as a way to show sexism within our society and retaliated against double standards through Roz’s characteristics of being strong and shameless in a “man’s world.”
Throughout Frasier’s run, Roz’s role represents women and their constant judgement from society based on their sexuality. Other characters tend to make comments towards Roz about the openess she has about her sexlife deeming her as a “slut.” Roz once told the character of Frasier that he was the reason men were avoiding her at one point. To which Frasier replied, “Oh, we can’t afford to lose a demographic as large as that” (Season 2, Ep. 2). This line is a dig at the amount of men Roz has had in her life. However, while the audience may view her character as a “tramp”, they fail to forget that throughout the course of the series, Frasier himself is romantically involved with over 57 women. While it is unclear how many sexual partners Roz has throughout the series, she is still framed as whorish while Frasier is viewed a man searching for love.
Many snarky remarks are made about Roz’s lovelife. She is especially judged for showing interest in men, based on their physical appearances. Roz is ecstatic when an attractive weatherman agrees to be her date for an award show. She begins to celebrate with Frasier’s houseworker, Daphne. Daphne asks jokingly, “Do you think he wears any pants under that desk?” (Season 1, Ep. 18). Roz replies with a laugh, “Not on my TV!” (Season 1, Ep. 18). Rolling his eyes at this conversation, Fraiser responds in an annoyed tone, “Girls, can we just cut out the pajama party, please?” (Season 1, Ep. 18). This comment can be viewed as very sexist towards women. Not only does it stereotype that when women get together all they talk about is men, it is also shaming them for having sexual urges. Meanwhile, Fraiser has boasted multiple times about a few models that he has dated. The show reveals a double standard: men take pride in their sexual successes while women are shamed for them.
The writers of Fraiser eventually throw a plot twist for its viewers in when Roz realizes she is pregnant. She, along with the rest of the characters, are shocked by the news. After some contemplation she decides she wants to keep the baby and raise it herself. While explaining her plan and what she needs to get for the baby’s arrival, she is quickly interrupted by Fraiser’s father,Martin, exclaiming, “A husband!” (Season 5, Ep. 4). He is concerned about Roz raising the baby alone and believes she will need a husband to help. Roz is slightly offended by this remark, but keeps in mind that Fraiser’s father is of a different generation and therefore a different mindset about pregnancy out of wedlock. While the characters as well as the audience are curious to see how Roz is going to raise a child alone, they fail to forget that Fraiser himself is a divorced man with a child. His ex-wife Lilith has been raising their son on the other side of the country all by herself without a man by her side for many years. When their son visits Frasier, no one questions whether he can take care of him without Lilith by his side. He is not criticized that his home lacks a motherly presence. Yet, many are quick to cringe at the thought of Roz being alone raising a baby.
Roz herself sees the double standards she constantly puts up with and often challenges them. When she shows interest in a man who is younger than her, Fraiser looks at her in disgust. She questions him, “Why is it alright for older men to date younger women, but it’s not okay for older women to date younger men?” (Season 2, Ep. 10). Fraiser quickly responds while grinning, “I don’t make the rules Roz, I just enjoy them” (Season 2, Ep. 10). This is Frasier’s way of subtly showing how society accepts men to behave a certain way while women are frowned upon if they are to act in the same manner. Roz continues to challenge this social norm throughout the series, but deals with the constant judgement from others.
The show’s creators and writers, who to one’s surprise are primarily men, use Roz as a model to teach women to be confident in who they are. People’s views on the differences between men and women are shattered by the show’s words and actions. Fraiser blatantly states early on in the series that “On the most basic level men and women are the same. We both need to be loved and to love someone” (Season 1, Ep. 7).
We are all human therefore we should not judge or limit one based on their gender. One is able to relate to the character of Roz even in today’s world. Comments and criticism about one’s gender are still present. While double standards may never die out, Roz continues to embrace her lifestyle with pride. Upon looking at her brightly colored business card, Fraiser claims it must glow in the dark, to which Roz proudly states, “So do I” (Season 2, Ep. 16). She owns her sexuality and does not let the cruel perceptions of her control her actions. Roz is the symbol of women’s independence and power.