Assignment #7 - Women’s Role in Society Over Time

The roles of the everyday woman has changed dramatically throughout history, especially in the last 40 years or so. In the 50’s and 60’s a woman was expected to live for the role of housewife. She was to tend to her children and husband, cooking and cleaning constantly. In the current century a family is still labeled ‘normal’ when the roles are reversed, a man stays home and the woman earns the income. This is due to the ever changing views of society. Due to the strife of women to prove equal to men in the workplace, the changing depictions of women in different forms of media, and through increased interest in sexuality in our society, the definition of a ‘housewife’ has gained multiple meanings.

The 1950’s and 60’s idea of a housewife can be seen in this video of ‘cooking terms.’ In this video we see a woman who has just been married, the narrator introduces that the honeymoon is now over and its time for her to ‘enter her new kitchen.’ This line shows how at that time, the kitchen was truly thought to be a woman’s place. The video goes on to say that the woman is worrying over the thought of her ability to surprise her husband and produce as great quality of food as his mother. This shows that even women supported the view and their complying actions constricted them to the role. The narrator makes a point of saying that you have to know the ‘following’ terms to be successful in the kitchen, at which time the woman is shown how to ‘cream’ things and ‘mix.’ I feel that this video makes new housewives seem incompetent and inferior to those with years of marriage. However I feel this is an appropriate video that probably aired during its time, and was watched by many. The last important element of this video is the way in which the woman is dressed, extremely conservative, the viewer’s mind isn’t forced to thoughts of sex by mass cleavage being revealed.

The ABC sitcom, Desperate Housewives does a fairly decent job of portraying the change in the expected roles of women today. In this preview we see many different women, engaging in very intimate situations. The preview says “its time to come clean,” then shows two people making out. Also in the preview the women are having lunch together and one of them states that herself and her boyfriend had not had sex yet, they were waiting for marriage. At that point her friend breaks into laughter of disbelief and says, “Oh my God, you‘re serious?” In this previews one minute entirety eight make out scenes are shown, half of which the women are seen in their bra’s and underwear. Just as the preview is about to show the scenes the narrator says “its time for love.” Lastly, the women in this video are dressed more casual and revealing, many of them reveal cleavage when fully dressed, and in the end they are all dressed to fit our society’s view of ‘sexy.’

These two videos differ dramatically, yet both accepted of their time periods. Women have strived to become equal to men in the workplace, therefore changing society’s perceptions and norms from that of the first video, a strict role as housewife, to a more dynamic role acceptance. Also the perceived role a woman should fit has been altered over the years dramatically by media, as we see, the first video is an example of a show aired in the 50’s and 60’s then we shift to the shows common of our time of sex and drama filled relationships, such as Desperate Housewives. I feel the most important and most dramatic factor that has changed the role of women over time is the increased interest and acceptance of sex in our society. Through years of increased nudity and women’s coming into the role as a sexual partner, society has gradually become more desensitized and come to appreciate sex. The phrase “sex sells,” is a common marketing term throughout our society today. This term differs greatly from the target market of the 50’s and 60’s, the housewife of cooking and cleaning. My reaction to the first video was that it was stupid, why would someone watch something so boring and pointless? I viewed the clip as a joke, so I began to analyze why I felt this way. At which point one must imagine how viewers of the 50’s and 60’s would react to an episode of Desperate Housewives, where sex, adultery, and drama are the focus. I’m sure that the viewers of that time period would feel the same way I did towards the video of their time. Most would probably be disgusted, and it would probably be categorized as extremely immoral, pointless. Throughout time the role of women has changed, women are no longer restricted to the role of conservative, cooking and cleaning housewives. The role a woman plays in society has evolved to such a dynamic mold, those who stay true to the ‘old fashioned’ ways, and those who have come to chose who they want to be, and what roles they would like to play in society.

24 Responses to “Assignment #7 - Women’s Role in Society Over Time”

  1. Colin K. Says:

    I liked that you targeted the definition of housewife as opposed to women themselves, but I think you have a misconception on the “Cooking Terms” video. Many of these educational videos are shown in school, (the kids are already in one place) as with educational videos today, I’m sure that the students found these very boring and almost pointless. But I won’t disagree that people of the fifties would view “Desperate Housewives” in the way you characterized, but that is for different reasons oh why people today would find old films like “Cooking Terms” silly.

  2. jalmeida Says:

    I agree with your statement that the “Cooking Terms” video was just silly. And you are also correct when you state that the role of housewives today is completely different from the housewives of the 1950’s. But what you are basing your argument on is a television show that is fiction and has super hot women who look attractive in their underwear and go around cheating on their husbands and doing whatever they want to do. Although this might possibly happen, it is very unlikely. If my neighbor’s wife looked like Eva Longoria, then I would not be able to wait to get married. However, your thesis statement was very well written.

  3. drooney Says:

    I think this is a very good post. I like the use of visuals because I think it really accentuates the differences between society then and now. After watching “cooking terms” it is hard to beleive that society has evolved so much over such a relatively short period of time. This evolution shows just how correct your thesis is.

  4. shwanga Says:

    I agree with your statement about how “sex sells”. It is unfortunate that society believes women should dress more provocatively to appear “sexy” or beautiful. However, men are fully dressed in most of the ads or magazine spreads and the media. I like that you brought the subject about how women must “reveal cleavage” because you’re bringing it to our attention. I feel if women still do abide by what society thinks of a sexy woman, they are showing vulnerability to listen to sexist perceptions.

    I enjoyed reading your post. However, your thesis statement was a bit confusing to read. I don’t know if wording it differently or putting your sentence into two separate ones would be easier to read. I had to read it several times to understand what you were trying to say. Overall, I enjoyed reading your post. You were very descriptive and clear with your statements, especially with the quotes you provided!

  5. bwease Says:

    Your post was a little confusing. The thesis statement was long and could have been a lot less wordy. The first clip you used was a perfect portrayal of a standard, typical, “perfect” housewife from the ’50’s. And I really liked that you pointed out her attire. Not only was she in her place, her kitchen, but she was dressed properly, attractively, and very conservatively, complete with an apron. It was good to compare her outfit to that of todays housewives in the very sexual preview for “Desperate Housewives.” Today it is highly accepted and expected for a wife to dress nicely for her husband and be gorgeous. However, the desperate housewives preview did not depict an actual housewife or a woman being able to work and do other things besides keep up the house.
    I completely agree with you that if the people from the ’50’s were to see the “Desperate Housewives” clip they would be appalled and find it hard to believe someone would want to watch it. Just like we find it hard to want to watch the boring clip from past times. It is hard to believe how sexual and how much sex does sell these days.
    Your closing was good in which it summed it all up and added a new though. You proved your point that things have definately changed over time, but you did not compare today’s housewife, with that of a “perfect” one from the past.

  6. Nisreen Daoud Says:

    Your post I think was dead on. Reading it really made sense to me. I have been trying to find a way to explain how women are still seen as housewives, and you did a good job of explaining it. I liked how you focused your thesis on the fact that “the meaning of housewife has changed dramitcally.” I think that it so true, housewifes are still present, they have just been redefined.

    I liked your post. You did a good job of making your points clear and understandable. You really proved your thesis to me, which was good. I enjoyed reading your piece. If I could comment on one thing, I would say that you may need to limit your thesis, because it is hard to follow. Awesome!

  7. tadao Says:

    I think you did a really good job analyzing as many of the aspects in the video clips as possible. By doing so, you were able to give us a good idea of how women are depicted in these particular videos. Overall, your writing is good, but I only agree with your argument to some extent. One definition of a housewife is a married woman who cares for her family, manages household affairs, and does housework as her main occupation. What are the others? I don’t think the definition of a housewife has changed, I just think that people misuse the word. If you changed your thesis to something like, “Due to ____, ____, and ____, the perception of women’s roles around the household has changed” it would have probably been better.

    Also, I am not sure if I agree with you that media has changed the perceived role of women. I think that the perceived role of women has changed the media. If showing cleavage and make-out scenes were not already accepted, major networks like ABC would never put shows like Desperate Housewives on the air. Also, there is a reason why the show is called Desperate Housewives rather than just Housewives. I really don’t think that this show is trying to portray the common housewife.

  8. maiko2387 Says:

    I liked the way you used the two media sources in your blog post. I agree with everything you said about how the two videos are portraying women of the time. The old video cooking terms is a good example of what women were expected to do in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In todays society women are definitely expected to dress in a much more casual manner and in a much more revealing fashion.

  9. ralsult1 Says:

    Your post was a very interesting one. You did have the same video the person before you had but the way you compared “cooking terms” and desperate housewives. Although i don’t think people and time changes because what is viewed on tv but what we see on tv changes because how the society has changed. People have become very more open minded about women which brings the changes upon us. It is very normal now a days to see a women working while her husband is sitting at home. As long as the first step was taken and women started going against being stuck at home and wanted to work…everything else followed in those foot steps and we have become what we are today.

  10. nkelly4 Says:

    Good post! Your right that roles of women have dramatically changed in the last 40 years. I’m not sure if it’s come to the point where it is considered “normal” for the roles to be reversed, with a man staying home while the wife works. The “cooking terms” video was excellent way of showing the contrast of women now and then. Desperate Housewives does depict a modern image of women, however it is a sitcom, and most women don’t act like that. Just like not all housewives in the 50’s and 60’s lived a typical life. Overall I thought your post was excellent.

  11. mkimq Says:

    Your post was written well, and I enjoyed reading it. I think that your post is clearly organized. I liked the way you use two video clips to prove your idea. I agree with almost everything about your interpretation about those two videos. Your interpretation analyzed many aspect in video. Your closing paragraph was good in summarizing all you idea together. One thing that I criticized about your post is your thesis statement. Your thesis was a little bit confusing, and somewhat difficult to understand.

  12. katie Says:

    This post in general was easy to follow and was too well written. I like the way how the post author clearly elaborates how women in the 1950’s and women in today society are so much different in many ways including apparel and jobs. There was nothing bad about this post at all. I do agree that the post author does somewhat support their thesis adequately. They did use their own thoughts to support their thesis. Also, the show “desperate housewives” does show a different side of women in today’s society then it did back in the 1950’s.

  13. cpatel Says:

    This was a good post and it also flowed really well with the way you set up the clips and the clip that you picked out from tv show. You did a great job explaning the clips in your view so this way the reader does have a guideline to follow and it is easier for them.

  14. spierce5 Says:

    Well done! You did a great job of showing the dichotomy of attitudes, putting the 50’s woman side by side with today’s image of women. Personally, I’d say both are degrading, but from opposite extremes: on one hand, the picture of servitude and morality; on the other, overly aggressive or immoral. It would be interesting to see interviews of true to life 50s women and find out just how much of the stereotype was real.

    From an objective standpoint, the purpose of the ‘Cooking Time!’ video is probably just to teach cooking skills, and the ‘perfect housewife’ image is just the vehicle used to deliver them, and the ignorance or incompetence of the woman in the video was most likely an intentional way of showing the pitfalls of incorrect cooking. I agree though, that the stereotype is degrading.

  15. Yahya Al-Hussein Says:

    You did a good job in analyzing how today’s society has changed completely then that of the 50’s and 60’s. However, I disagree with you in the sense that women today are accepted to be more sexual. They have become more independent and educated. Although sex does sell and it seems that they are accepting of it, there are many people who do not allow that kind of ideology into their household. Conservatism is still an important factor in many households.

  16. lsang1 Says:

    I think this is very good post, I really like how you used examples to support your thesis. I agree with you when you said this society think women more like housewife only taking care kids, and also women dress more provocatively to appear sexy. I think women doing that they really want to attention from man. They don’t want to just be housewife, they want to do things what they really want to do. After read you post, I think your thesis little long, and also little confusing. However, your video clips were outstanding. Over all this is very good post and I enjoyed read your post.

  17. Greg Yeh Says:

    I’m a total advocate of your statement sex sells. I enjoyed how you used a current 180 comparison of the original video. Women in the 50s were viewed in a different aspect that they are today. It really just does depend on what is accepted at the time and how society views it. I’m sure that in the 50’s if a woman was to hold a job, others would view her husband as possibly one that is not a man. Now women are viewed as sex symbols and chased after by men at an alarming rate. It seems that the topic of sex has completely changed from the original way that we had viewed it. While the post was a little short, it was good. Try putting a little more meat on the topics of why it made you feel the way you felt. Also try to avoid reiterating the same statement in differnt forms. Good Job

  18. gthomps7 Says:

    I have some different opinions on why society has changed since the 50’s, but I think you did an excellent job at portraying what you believe. I think that your thesis was very well backed up with the contrast between the two different clips. Desperate Housewives is a good example of how “sex sells” and how society has changed dramatically from a strictly house wife role, to a more equal opportunity society. Good job.

  19. jcourtn4 Says:

    Desperate Housewives is a good example only for showing that women have changed over the years. It isn’t a good example for showing how they have changed. I know that out of all the neighborhoods I have lived in, I don’t think any of my neighbors have killed a person or openly had affairs. But nonetheless, your point was proved.

  20. llundgre Says:

    I like how you contrasted the Desperate Housewives and the cooking terms. You had a great post, everything was worded well. Women have changed a lot in the last half century and although most women are not like the desperate housewives, we all have seen the scandalous clothes and actions by the the music and acting industry. I can not say that woman have come a long way. Women are still put down in modern day society.

  21. kceltic Says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I liked your choice of topic giving the the definition of a housewife multiple meanings. I thought it to be extremely interesting and the information that was given was excellent. It was also well organized and easy to read. I liked the way you used two solid examples to strenghten your thesis. These examples really helped me understand what it was your were trying to prove. Good Job!

    The only critique I have is with your thesis statement. It seemed a little confusing to me and maybe it was because it was long and hard to trap all the information at once in one sentence. It kind of seemed like it was just a rambling sentence. Other than that, I really enjoyed reading your post.

  22. hjathoul Says:

    I enjoyed reading your post it was very well written. Your thesis was made a strong statment. You used good examples and good supporting arguments. The fact that women are changing and becoming more independent part of the change in our society. Your blog was well written and i enjoyed reading it. Well done.

  23. AJ Says:

    You did a good job comparing the cooking clip and Desparate Housewives. I personally have never seen that show but just the description you gave of it helped figure it out. You realy did explain the difference between your two examples well. The part where you said that people in the fifties would see tv today as immoral was definately correct. Whenever i visit my grandparents, if there is a sex scene on tv my grandparents still try to make me turn away and they seem quite bothered by it. We live in an entirely different time than the fifties. Then with the exact reverse, I found it humorous that you thought the cooking clip to be a joke. It really shows how different the world is now.

  24. mafendy Says:

    I think that your post was very well written; you made some very clear points in the post. I agree that the role of the housewife has changed from the 1950’s. But I don’t look at the “Desperate Housewives” as the way housewives are today. That is just TV and like you said sex sells so they want to make every man dream come true and have housewives act like that. Other than that I think your post was very interesting to read.

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