As a Woman in the 1950s, how would you feel about the Stereotype of the Wife and Mother on Popular Television Shows?- Free Essay
In the 1950`s the housewife was portrayed as pretty, well groomed at all times, a maid and cook, and a loyal wife and mother. These numerous stereotypes originated from the conformist and conservative decade of the 1950s that produced this kind of a housewife. I feel that the reason why such stereotypes continue to linger is because numerous women accepted to conform to the image of such a housewife (Ayers, et al., 2008, p.829). During the early days when television was introduced, actresses commonly portrayed the traditional roles of a woman in the society. Magazines, television and radio bombarded women with the notion that their realm was in the kitchen. As women, our role was communicating, with children, cleaning, serving dinner, and keeping the home clean.
Adverts in the U.S. portrayed gender bias and rampant stereotyping during the 1950s. As a woman, the image that became dominant is that they were supposed to live their lives for their families. The media portrayed women as elegantly-dressed housewives, with jewelry, high heels, and all smiles. Basically, women were portrayed as queens of domesticity (Schweinitz, 2011). An example is Marjorie Husted who created the TV program called Betty Crocker who said that good food prepared in the kitchen kept romance for a long time compared to bright lipstick. This carried an eminent problem of developing a mindless conformity. During 1950s and prior to this period, being a housewife was the only role that was socially acceptable in the society.
Some classic examples that portrayed women as housewives include The Donna Reed Show and Leave it to the Beavers. t TV commercials shows were the best medium of popularizing the housewife stereotype in the entire country (Stanley-Stevens, 2010).Instead of simply describing the attributes of a housewife, commercials and advertisements were presented to the general public where housewives could be seen in action. I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best are some of the popular episodes where people could passively absorb the role of a woman by watching the television.
The public was exposed to conservative programs that portrayed the values of a classic family. From the TV shows, I feel that women had to subdue to their husbands, and a team of wives and husbands taught their children moral lessons (Adare, 2009). TV was not a mere form of entertainment, but a real instructor who gave important lessons on what was acceptable in the society. Since women were portrayed as a subordinate group, the value of women was not given any significant focus. The male figure was portrayed as a sign of strength and power. Therefore, young boys grew up with the intention of not valuing but devaluing women so that they could be considered as more masculine. Basically, repetitive exposure of women as subordinates was a clear evidence of a patriarchal society where women had to subdue to their husbands.
Women Stereotype Essays References:
Adare, S. S. (2009). Indian Stereotypes in TV Science Fiction: First Nations’ Voices Speak Out. Texas: University of Texas Press,
Ayers, E. L., Gould, A. L., Oshinsky, D. M., Soderlund, J. R. (2008). American Passages: A History of the United States. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
Johnson, M. F. (2001). The American Past; Selected Historical Documents. London: Cengage Learning
Schweinitz, J. (2011). Film and Stereotype: A Challenge for Cinema and Theory. Columbia: Columbia University Press