The Typical Housewife: From Seamless to Psychotic

“Beep! You-‘beep’ ing piece of trash!’ You are nothing but a lying ‘beep’ ing whore!” Embarrassingly enough, this type of “lingo” represents the social norm of what we see in relationships between housewives in the modern times. AMC TV certainly didn’t have to “beep” technique for housewife profanity the way Bravo T.V. does. This represents only a small example of how the development of women over the last five decades has shown a drastic cultural transformation of women not only in personality emergence but also in workforce dominance and social independence.

The female position in the working society has taken a reverse turn in the emergence of the 21st century. As seen in Mad Men, the “female inside the home” image has been completely broken over the last fifty years. The role of Betty Draper in Mad Men is certainly not the same as that of Bethenny Frankel in “The Real Housewives of New York City.” While Betty is folding clothes and waiting on her husband, Bethenny Frankel is launching her “Skinny Girl Margarita” business, which might as well be the Sterling Cooper of the 21st century. Let’s not forget that Bethenny is not the only housewife successfully running a business. There are T.V. show hosts, singers, actresses and more businesswomen who have identified themselves on public television as “housewives” as well. The only character in Mad Men who provides a small preview towards the transformation of the roles of women is Rachel Menken. In the 1950’s, she being the head of her own business represented the progressiveness in the culture. Today, she would be one of many making millions. 
The level of character and temperament of women throughout the last five decades has been nearly revolutionary. In Mad Men, the husband is always the dominant force in the family: they make all the decisions, set all the rules and always expect to be obeyed. Women such as Betty are lifeless, and almost brainless. They have no temper and do as told with no questions asked. However, in today’s society, personalities of housewives are much more vibrant to say the very least. Would anyone expect to see Betty Draper flipping over a restaurant dinner table out of pure anger the way Theresa Giudice from “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” can? One could argue that what we see on Bravo T.V. these days are not housewives, but animals! No wonder the editors have to use the profanity beeper so much. 

As referenced in the blog “Suburban Housewives,” there has shown to be a new social dominance in housewives due to the decrease in a husband’s authority. As shown in Mad Men, it in unheard of for a woman to let another man who is not her husband, into the house while she’s alone. In Episode 11, “Indian Summer” of the first season, Don immediately becomes livid when Betty has confessed to her allowing the air-conditioning salesman into their house. Today, women have no restrictions on what types of relationships they have with the opposite sex. They are so detached from their husbands that instead of constantly basing their lives on waiting for their husbands to come home at night, they adopt new ones! Take Jill Zarin, from “The Real Housewives of New York City:” if her husband doesn’t want to accompany her to whatever fashion show is going on in town, she doesn’t mope, but rather calls up her “gay husband” Brad, to be her escort to the event! It is a completely backwards situation.

Between becoming millionaires, flipping tables and obtaining gay husbands, there has certainly proved to be a cultural transformation and fresh new debut of housewives in society. The perfect image of Betty Draper ceases to exist these days and no matter what the city, “The Real Housewives” series have shown that in many aspects, the American housewife is nearly the polar opposite of what she used to be. 

Image credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_uLYnvvmNiVk/TSgZTSDynSI/AAAAAAAAAJI/YRMxxJ8p7og/s1600/househus1.jpg

1 comment:

  1. I thought this blog post was very interesting, yet at the same time very alarming due to how much has changed over the past fifty years. In Mad Men, Betty is always focused on making her husband happy while also effortlessly keeping herself perfectly composed in every situation she encounters. I also agree that if Rachel Menken was placed in our time period, she would be extremely successful, facing far few barriers in the workplace. Although society’s view of a housewife over the years has generally gained less and less respect, it is good to note that their life in the workplace has heavily improved. The only thing I would caution you about is that you have to take what you see on reality television with a grain of salt, because ultimately these shows are looking to grab and keep viewers. Although these “real housewives” seem psychotic (and some probably are), they manage to lead fairly successful lives so I think they deserve a little more credit than they are given. Overall, the way you describe the transformation of the suburban housewife over the years was very enjoyable to read.