Shameless: Mickey and Gender Expectations

These photos are from multiple scenes found in the TV series Shameless. The photos involve a character named Mickey Milkovich, a troubled, poor teenager who radiates the “tough guy” and delinquent persona but also happens to be gay. The quotes on the left demonstrate Mickey’s attempt in hiding his sexuality through harsh, derogatory language that is often associated with men. Girls are expected to show polite, clean language while boys can often get away with obscene language due to the ideologies involving expectations of how women and men should speak. These ideologies are socially constructed based on gender stereotypes and are reinforced through socialization. Boys are socialized to assert dominance and stray away from emotion that is typically associated with women, which is what is being displayed in these images. Mickey initially hides behind these language ideologies that are rooted in a largely heteronormative and male hegemonic society due to the fear of intolerance within society and of challenging these ideologies to ultimately lose the masculine, “tough guy” persona he is expected to portray. However, the photos on the right show, although at times still obscene in language use, a changed Mickey that eventually speaks out against these ideologies through publicly coming out as gay with his boyfriend, Ian.

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