Besides Ashton Kutcher
The show at the cusp of the traditional Friends vs How I Met Your Mother debate, ladies, That 70’s Show goes way beyond introducing the prospects of an Ashton-Mila love story. It addresses significant social changes that went on in the 1970s. The everyday trials faced by the regular 70’s gal in the series sounds way too familiar for Lankan girls to not know exactly what the characters are feeling!
Donna’s body-shaming issues
If there’s one thing we’ve all experienced, I would say it’s random aunties feeling the need to comment on our bodies every time they meet us. The all too frequent, “Putha you’ve gained/lost weight” is something we can all live without!
In the series, Donna (Laura Prepon) is subjected to constant body shaming by her best friend Jacky (played by Mila Kunis). At one point, Jacky even says, “I can’t wait until all of Donna’s giant clothes are out of the closet; I don’t even go in there now, I’m afraid I’ll fall into one of her shoes and never be heard of again”!
Take notes, Donna’s navigation through the constant body shaming will provide you with a handbook of what to do when someone feels the need to comment on your body!
The normalization of using contraceptives
When Jacky has a pregnancy scare, Donna immediately makes the decision to go on the pill despite being sexually inactive, which is met with a lot of disapproval and the male characters of the gang assume that Donna is “ready”.
The lack of sex education, the unavailability of birth control for women and the continuous push for abstinence are among the many issues that are dealt with on the show. All completely relatable to modern-day Lankan culture where the topic is ignored almost entirely.
Stereotypical gender roles
Speaking of stereotyping (another term we can’t get enough of here), the show portrays an accurate sense of what girls were thought to be in the ’70s. Jackie Burkhart, the snobby rich girl who gets everything she wants. Donna, the typical girl next door (she is also the actual girl next door). Kitty Forman (Debra Jo Rupp), the conventional mother who worries about meals and housework while also working as a nurse, and her daughter Laurie (Lisa Robin Kelly) a blonde blue-eyed beauty illustrated to be a rather promiscuous character.
Jacky’s iconic line, “ A woman needs to be a cook in the kitchen, a maid in the living room, and an acrobat in the bedroom”, gives us the general gist of the labelling which existed back then and still does here.
Donna even gives up the prospect of college in order to stay closer to her boyfriend Eric, who frets over Donna changing and living an unchaste lifestyle once in college. This is despite the fact he moves halfway across the world to Africa in the show’s last season.
The show also delineates feminists to be anti-male, aggressive and also masculine (uh this is totally untrue), which was. pretty much what they thought feminism was at the time. In all matters, the show gives the male perspective on things, considering we too are constantly scrutinized under the same eye, might as well watch and learn our favourite heroes overcome it, ay?
So, kick back, put your favourite pyjamas on, grab that popcorn and enjoy 8 seasons worth of comedy mixed with a little bit of subject matter that’ll teach you how to navigate our very own Lankan challenges. What’s more? It’s on Netflix too!
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