In the chapter, Simpsonian Sexual Politics the author argues convincingly that in fact sexism is alive and well in Springfield. One fact is that the ratio of male to female characters is 4:1 and this included Lisa’s doll Malibu Stacy. It is fairly difficult to argue that Marge is not a sexist betrayal of a traditional wife. In many ways popular TV programs are built on stereotypes that reinforce certain strongly held conservative beliefs.
One reason sitcoms are popular is that they mimic what people want to believe. Marge is fashioned quite literally by the clothes she wears that are June Cleaver and Wilma Flintstone combined. “Marge is directly descended from long line of saintly and longsuffering TV wives and mothers.” (Irwin, THE SIMPSONS, p. 199) These TV wives tolerate and love men that most women would walk away from, such as, Edith Bunker, Alice Kramden and Marion Cunningham. The author calls it the “comic containment of women” where the main humor is about the woman trying to break free of her traditional role and home to comic effect or trying to enforce the rules of polite society and therefore becomes the “nagging wife” It is almost impossible to argue that Marge doesn’t reinforce sexism.
However, even given the statistics that the ratio to male characters to female character is 4:1 it still can be argued that Lisa doesn’t support sexism. “If TV’s greatest cast” is at least three quarters male, what does this say about the mirror of reality T.V. holds up to us, the viewer?” Irwin, THE SIMPSONS, p. 1997). That statistic says that the cast is more male, the story lines are dominated by more male characters, yet Lisa is subtlety subversive in her conversations, her dress, her goofy reactions to her various boyfriends and crushes. She is developed in a way that Marge is not. She is intelligent and gifted and artistic. She has little concern about what others think of her and gives a strange twist to most topics. Lisa has an interesting take on the world as when she is offended by the things her Malibu Stacy says. She then takes her fight to the company. Although her causes are often feminist they are also often losing causes. She is sort of the odd duck in the community.
For this reader the idea that she is so securely her own person and makes her opinion known even when she is not listened to makes her not a stereotypical girl, but her own unique person and that makes her not a sexist portrayal.