Every year, I bring out my DVD of Roseanne Halloween episodes. I watched the show when it was on the air, but I don't really watch it anymore expect the Halloween episodes. I decided to watch a few of the first episodes the other night.
In the episode Trick or Treat, there are two different story lines. In one, Dan is very concerned that his son DJ wants to be a witch for Halloween because witches are girls. He struggles a lot with letting DJ dress how he wants.
In the other story line, Roseanne and Jackie's car breaks down on the way to the Haunted House put on by Dan's lodge. Roseanne is dressed up as a burly mountain man and the costume is good enough that even her friend thinks she's a man. She buddies up to the other men in the bar to see what men talk about when they are alone - it ends up being sex, sex and more sex.
Now Trick or Treat aired in 1990 and the world was not as enlightened as it is now. Roseanne being a sitcom usually doesn't get very heavy but it's nice to see them tackling gender stereotypes a bit.
The sex-crazed man bit got old quickly especially since they implied all men care about it getting laid. But the part about DJ wanting to wear a 'girl's' costume was much more interesting and has become more so since I became a parent.
Eventually Dan gets the advise that it's just a phase that DJ is going through. It's a bit of a cop out, but not surprising for the time period.
This year, Emily wants to be a Ninja for Halloween. She also wants a Ninja birthday party for her 6th birthday. A lot of her interests are 'boy' stuff - it makes me crazy with gender descriptions on toys because she likes what she likes. I don't think her interests are just a phase, though they may change as she grows.
Not having do to with gender roles, I do find it odd to see Jackie and Roseanne having to use a payphone to call Dan after their car breaks down. Even though it's only been 24 years, it's hard to imagine a world without cell phones. At least if my daughter ever wants to watch these episodes with me, I can teach her something about the past!