Posted by: caitlindavis12 | January 15, 2015

“Desperate Housewives”

When thinking of how women are perceived by society, whether from men or other women, I wondered what type of woman would appear if I searched for the image of a housewife. Through the gendering that is seen in movies or read about in stories, I imagined that the women in the images would be depicted as wearing an apron, cooking in the kitchen, watching the kids, or doing laundry, but that is not what I found. Not thinking about the show the Desperate Housewives, I was surprised that all of the images were of the characters from the show. Granted I have not seen this show much, I have seen enough to know that the women gossip and stir up drama along with being focused on what they are wearing or if they are outdoing all the other neighborhood women. The show seems to play into the stereotypes placed on women, but it is as though they are greatly exaggerated.

The women in the show seem to have nothing better to do than to meddle in others’ business. This can show one of the symptoms associated with Friedan’s (1997) “The problem that has no name.” This “problem” shows women who feel bored with the lifestyle of being a housewife and wonder if there is a bigger purpose in life. I feel that there is evidence in the lives of the Desperate Housewives to find that sense of fulfillment, although they may pursue that in ways far from the norm. What does this say about the view that the world has about women? Are we expected to look drop-dead gorgeous while being able to take care of the household? Are we expected to want to out-do the success of the next woman or gossip about what may be happening in others lives? Whether these come from “doing gender” or from just a way to make a interesting television show, it brings up questions of what it is to “be” and “act” like a woman.

Friedan, B. (1997). The problem that has no name. The Feminine Mystique. New York: New York. Norton.

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Responses

  1. I think that this is an interesting idea to think about because I don’t believe that we know exactly what it means to “be” or “act” like a woman. As we have grown up, we have been told that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to. While reading articles for this class, I am learning that this idea was previously a male-centered mentality and that the idea of feminism has started to confuse the “roles” of women in society. I can not personally say that I understand the definition of feminism because it has never been presented in a clear manner, however, I have the general feeling that if a woman were to come out and say that she looks forward to being a mother and a wife, that she would be looked down upon in a certain way. I have found that women are “supposed” to want more than just that life, but in making these declarations for all women, we take out the women that want families as well. This creates a chasm between women wanting a family and wanting a career. I hope that in the future, we find a way to support women in the workforce without ridiculing the women that desire the opposite.


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