Thursday, March 16, 2017
Who's The Master? I Dream of Jeannie Feminist Critique.
Episode 1 of the 1965 NBC television show I Dream of Jeannie, shows a United States astronaut Tony Nelson’s spacecraft, Stardust One being forced to crash-land on a deserted island in the South Pacific. On the island he finds an odd bottle and when he opens it a beautiful genie comes out named Jeannie, after being released she follows Tony back to Florida and devotes her life to serving her new master. I Dream of Jeannie plays into the common ideology of the 1960 women of being submissive to the man, but also defies that ideology, because although Jeannie is supposed to serve Tony she constantly goes against his wishes and does what she wants.
In the 1960s the woman's role was to be a good housewife, and be totally submissive to the man. In I Dream of Jeannie when Tony arrives at his home his fiancee Melissa finds Jeannie taking a shower and wearing Tony’s shirt, she immediately gets upsets and tells him that she has always been “tolerant” of his behavior, but really gets hysterical and storms out of his house. In this scene when Melissa says she is “tolerant” is falls right back into the ideology of women being submissive, and having accept the behavior of their male spouse and not question it. After Melissa storms out Jeannie tries to seduce Tony, turning her into the other common ideology of the seductress or “homewrecker”.
Although Tony is Jeannie’s “master” she constantly defies him and goes against his wishes and ultimately does what she thinks is best or funny. When the General and Melissa stop by Tony’s home to make sure he is fine after being deserted on the island, Jeannie turns herself into a clone of Melissa and makes Tony look crazy. After they leave Jeannie busts out into laughter but Tony doesn’t find it amusing, when Jeannie goes against his wishes she also goes against the ideology of women being totally submissive, and shows that men don’t have the control and although she is there to serve Tony he isn’t taking all control of her.