Monday, May 13, 2013

The Stepford Wives

The film, The Stepford Wives, is a parody that stems out from the idea that housewives were machines rather than humans. These Stepford wives were expected by their husbands to be beautiful and obedient. This parodies the misconception that many men in the 1950s had of women and how society sought to make sure that women remained in the house, while men were the ones with jobs.

The film takes place in a fictional town of Stepford, Connecticut, where white upper middle class men owned beautiful homes and their “perfect” wives. Things change when Joanna Eberhart, a successful photographer from New York City arrives with her husband and children, to start a new life. Joanna begins to notice the robot-like, submissive Stepford wives, especially when she sees her independent friends turn into submissive housewives overnight. Her husband, who seems to be spending more and more time at meetings of the local men's association, mocks her fears because like the rest of the men living in Stepford he attended these meetings in order to turn his wife into a robotic- housewife like the rest of the women living in Stepford. Therefore, this film parodies how men in the 1950s wanted to women to remain submissive and not have minds of their own. 

Party planning!

A parody is a defined as the mimicry of someone's individual manner in a humorous or satirical way. There exist many parodies of 1950s housewives that intend to remind us of the many misconceptions people had about housewives in the 1950s. People perceived housewives as the modest or shy observers when hosting an event or attending an event, basically housewives were not allowed to participate in any conversations that the men would have at these events. Housewives were expected to be shy, have good manners, and look flawless. Below I have attached a parody from an episode of Saturday night live, which pokes fun at how society in the 1950s viewed housewives. 

The above video caused me great laughter because I am aware that women do not act like this in todays society. It mimics some of the exchanges between men and women from the 1950s sitcoms where woman had to depend on the permission of their husbands to plan out a party and it mimics in a very exaggerated way how housewives were expected to behave when hosting a party. The housewife in this parody is also depicted without having any brains as she finds hosting a party to be very challenging and  the fact that she is not allowed to read the newspaper because it may "give her ideas." Also, this parody shows us how men were highly regarded and their social status were above their wives. Besides, pointing out how sexist society was during the 1950s it also shows us how middle class families rejected and were prejudice of single working women and African Americans. The scene where the housewife waits till her guest are gone to go to the bathroom is hilarious because in a very exaggerated way it shows us how insane the expectations of society were of these housewives who had to constantly appear flawless and behave proper at all times.

Friday, May 10, 2013

June Cleaver the archetype of the 1950s housewife

The media during the 1950s helped shape gender roles for both men and women. For example, many Americans during this time were tuned into their television sets watching the family sitcom, Leave it to Beaver, where June Cleaver was portrayed as the archetype of what the 1950's housewife is supposed to look like and act like, setting up the standards for the many housewives watching at home. These standards were set high as June was dress ed up everyday and appeared flawless while doing her house chores. June was also an active socialite in her community who hosted parties for her friends. June was also a college graduate, but instead of pursuing a career she was a housewife. Despite having a college  education, June rarely had an opinion of her own and was obedient to the demands of her

Leave it to Beaver stressed the fact that women belonged in the kitchen and inside the home doing the cleaning and cooking. For example, in the video that I have attached below June’s husband, Ward, lectures his son on what the roles of men and women were suppose to be like as he emphasized that  “a woman’s place is in the home.” Not only was Ward implying that a woman’s role in the home was to do all the cooking and housework but he also implied that women were incapable of cooking without the facilitation of cooking devices.  Therefore, women were portrayed as being inferior to men and unable to do any work outside the home.