The Complex Role of Gender Within
The Wire
Allison Kleinman
hroughout each season of The Wire, femininity
and masculinity are both crucial aspects of
David Simon’s character depiction within the
Baltimore Police Department and “The Game.” As the
storyline unfolds, the audience is exposed to a deadly
struggle for power and the desire for many to appear
exceedingly tough; the characters perform gender in
this way regardless of the violent and corrupt means
needed to achieve the sought after reputation. The
show also addresses many difficulties that arise due to
sexual orientation, and many episodes are constructed
around the intimate relationships of the characters.
Often, The Wire describes, both openly and subtly, the
lack of femininity that exists within the police
department and the streets. By displaying the
struggles of men and women, gays and straights,
Blacks and Whites, and government officials and
criminals, The Wire is able to develop an overarching
storyline that gives both focus and context toward its
representation of feminine and masculine roles in
Femininity throughout the series is highly
underrepresented, and when it is displayed, it is usually
connected to women’s obedience to men. While there
are some White characters, the Black women are the
majority of the cast, and their roles fall into a range of
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