Posted on February 23, by Scott Alexander [Content warning:
Desperate Housewives is desperately confusing but desperately pleasurable. Desperate Housewives presents a post-feminist critique of both feminist and post-feminist values. The binary of appearance versus reality is a powerful post-feminist construction used by the series to criticise feminine oppression from several perspectives: This binary will be explored through a discussion of three prominent concepts in the first season, with a focus on the four main housewives.
Firstly, the lack of post-feminist solutions offered for the housewives, secondly, the confusion of gender identity roles, and thirdly, the performance of reality as assumed by patriarchal society.
The pleasant exterior of Wisteria Lane serves to contradict and, therefore, emphasize the internal struggles of the four female lead characters, Susan Mayer, Lynette Scavo, Gabrielle Solis and Bree Van de Kamp. The show is a prime-time soap opera whose conventions allow it to explore contemporary political ideology.
The female characters function as representatives of the zeitgeist,  although there are still incidences where the fictional nature of some of the characters is reinforced. Judith Lancioni argues the show critiques feminist practises from a post-feminist perspective. It deals with the realisation that not all women can have it all and do it all.
The show is not only a representation of modern feminism but rather open to interpretation from certain groups which identify with the characters and life choices. Third-wave feminisms are broad with diverse and sometimes with conflicting values. For all its idealised glossy appearances the series delves to deeper levels, not to confront, but to explore the repercussions of living a life of contradicting self identities.
This is exemplified in the decision made to be a housewife resulting in dissatisfaction with the narrowed choices of that identity and its traditional constructs.
However, even the apparently jokey title gives us a clue about the dichotomy that lurks beneath the surface. The real challenge to patriarchal hierarchy comes from this lack of solutions. The performance of the housewife draws attention to the role as being nothing more than a construct.
Niall Richardson argues this is especially prevalent in the stylisation of Bree as camp.
Justifying generalisations about the series as a whole embracing a particular understanding of feminism are routinely contradicted in the show and by theorists. However, a post-feminist reading of the text allows for the inclusion of both second-wave feminist and post-modernist feminisms.
Sayeau argues that instead issues are glossed over as nice ideas but unable to be practically applied.
However, it is through the emphasis on the lack of post-feminist solutions presented to the housewives that feminist practises are critiqued. The housewives disillusionment with the societal ideals while they continue to conform to them emphasizes the ambiguity and ambivalence of the dilemmas faced by contemporary women without oversimplification of their struggles.
The satirical nature of the show uses feminine stereotypes to highlight their ridiculous nature as well as the ambivalence and ambiguity contemporary women feel towards the contradictory ideals of post-feminisms. McCabe, Janet and Kim Akass eds.
Self, DavidTelevision Drama: An Introduction, Hong Kong, Macmillan. Zalewski, MarysiaFeminism After Postmodernism: Bibliography Bonner, FrancesOrdinary Television: Brunsdon, Charlotte and Lynn Spigel eds.
Lyon, DavidPostmodernity, 2nd Ed. New Femininities in Chick Lit? An Introduction, Hong Kong, Macmillan, p.Desperate Housewives goes behind the scenes into the secret lives of housewives in a perfect suburb.
From the outside, everything looks perfect: perfect family houses with the white picket fence, well-kept yards, and happy families. Strange financial market and geopolitical maneuvers last week make it clear the end days of the cabal are fast approaching. The clearest sign was the wholesale looting of Japan’s national pension fund by the Japanese slave government on behalf of the cabal.
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