In the show, “I Love Lucy,” Lucy and Ethel were disempowered by their husbands. Ricky and Fred were the authority figures and the empowered ones in the show. Ricky gives Lucy allowance and scolds her when he finds out she over drafted her account. Her response is, “Yes sir,” Lucy is giving authority to Ricky and belittles herself. In the show, “Seinfeld,” straight men were empowered and homosexuals were the disempowered. It was more the comments made about the gays rather than the people themselves in this episode. There were a lot if stereotypical comments made like when Jerry said people mistake him for gay because he is single, neat, and thin claiming that’s how all gay men are.
In “I Love Lucy,” Lucy resembles a housewife because of her dresses and apron, which is iconic. The indexical sign is the apron, when Ricky was put in Lucy’s shoes for a day doing housework and he wore an apron to put him in the mindset. The apron represents doing housekeeping. Lucy resembled the perfect housewife that cooked and cleaned which is symbolic. In “Seinfeld,” the comment “not that there is anything wrong with that” was iconic in which they were trying to address an uncomfortable subject with humor. When Jerry mentions that people think he is gay because he is single, thin and neat was indexical. He is being referred to as gay because of those traits rather than just a normal person. Two men that spend a lot of time together, Jerry and George, are symbolic to gay men. After the story got out about Jerry being gay he did not want to go to the Broadway show with George because he feared of looking homophobic Also, the episode ends with Kramer with an attractive young man which cause George and Jerry to wonder and Kramer explains that he is just the phone guy and ends with “not that there is anything wrong with that.”
The artifacts in “I Love Lucy” are that women are spenders and men are earners. In the show Lucy and Ethel go to work and they are very unsuccessful. They gave the perception that women during this time were only good at housekeeping and spending their husband’s money. Ricky and Fred stay home and do housework only to fail at cooking, cleaning, ironing and show that they are only good for working and earning the money. In “Seinfeld,” they referred to homosexuals as two men spending a lot of time together and going to Broadways together. If two men spend a lot of time together they automatically assumed they were gay.
Reality is that women are good at doing the housekeeping but they can go to work too. Even if the husband is the only one that brings home a check it is shared equally among spouses. Culture if men went to work they were in control of the money and wives did not get an equal share but only an allowance. It is perceived that housekeeping and working is not equal but in reality it is. In reality homosexuals are human beings with their own wants and desires and they don’t all have same interest. If there were two men or women hanging out no one automatically comes to conclusion that they are gay. Culture shows that gays go to broadways and spend lots of time together.
Since the time both shows aired a lot of things have changed on the topics of homosexuals and the disempowerment of women. Today homosexuals are more accepted and many shows have gay characters like Brothers and Sisters. The issue of the disempowerment of women has changed dramatically. Shows today feature women as doctors, detectives and have more power in the household than Lucy and Ethel. They are viewed now as women that can work and make decisions rather than seen as just good housekeepers.