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Like any other literature work, movies and plays are meant to convey some message to the audience. The way through with this message catches the attention of the audience depends mainly on how the various elements of literature such as; characters, themes and plot have been developed. This essay will examine how various characters in the movie ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ learn and exercise gender as well as determine the ways in which race intersects with gender in these performances.
The movie ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ describes the story of a jobless voice actor, Daniel Hilliard, who gets separated from his children after his wife files a divorce following a claim that they are incompatible when he organizes a bombshell birthday party for their twelve year old son, Chris (Robin, 1993). The court decides that Daniel’s wife, Miranda, takes custody of the three children and Daniel to see them only once in a week. Following this, Miranda decides to higher a housekeeper and makes an announcement through the media (Robin, 1993).
Daniel, who is passionately attached to his children, changes the details on the announcement and he becomes the only one who can communicate to Miranda. He fakes his identity and calls himself Mrs. Doubtfire, a nanny. Frank, his brother helps him on makeup and he successful passes the interview. He treats the children so well and cooks for them nice meals to an extent that they can not do without him. Neither them nor their mother realize his fake identity until when he is called for a dinner meeting by Jonathan Lundy, the CEO of a famous TV station in a restaurant where Miranda and her new boyfriend were taking the children out for her birthday (Robin, 1993).
Although the movie is presented like a comedy, it reinforces the aspects of gender and how race intersects with it. Most of the characters, both adults and children, show clear delineation regarding acceptable and apposite gender roles for female and male. For instance, Daniel upholds key tenant of the male gender custom as illustrated when he acts recklessly, disregards his wife and expect her to clean up the mess after the party without yelling. Miranda has denied Chris a birthday party as a punishment for his poor performance in school, but Daniel goes ahead into throwing one. This shows how men, particularly the White, can defy their wives’ desires because they are the law makers in the family (Robin, 1993).
Miranda also plays the typical female roles even though she is the main provider in the family. She strives to look attractive and professional just as expected by the society. The female role is reinforced further when she takes responsibility and deals with the irritated neighbor and the police-officer and also when she stops the party (Robin, 1993). This is furthered when she cleans the house after the party although she is shrieking thus upholding the female role as a homemaker and caretaker. Her profession as an interior designer is also appropriate for female.
The children also strengthen gender customs even though they add little to the story. The girls are very emotional, dress in attractive clothes and show slight genuine effect which also supports the idea that girls are attractive, emotional and unsuccessful. The society expects that girls be slow in acting and always dress in pretty cloths so as to maintain their attractiveness. Chris, the only boy child, on the other hand acts more like a man in that he places more weight on sports than on learning. He does very poor in class but he is good in soccer. His father initiated this attitude thus he believes that boys should put more effort on sports and ignore schooling (Robin, 1993).
In conclusion, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ maintains and enforces gender norms and race by reinforcing gender customs and parental responsibilities that naturally distinguish male from female particularly in the Western community. The society also observes apposite and acceptable interests and activities for girls and boys.