Wednesday, November 30, 2005

word on the street

Overheard today at Yale: the claim that "Desperate Housewives" depicts a matriarchy.

Let's get this straight. OK, so the show's main characters are women who manipulate others. Is this really what it looks like when women rule in a gender-inclusive context?
um.... no.

Just look at the title:
"desperate" = use men as sex-toys and stab each other in the back.
"house-wives" = defined and supported financially only by their marriage; have an extremely limited sphere of action.

Don't know about you, but I call that patriarchy.

[more here]


Matthew said...

I think it would be good if you were a lot more careful in how you characterize house-wives. "Supported financially" only by their marriage, yes. But "defined...only by their marriage"? Isn't that about to get you called a hater on women and men who choose to work at home (the unpaid kind)? I guess I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. But maybe you are really haters on the stay-at-homes. Are people defined only by the people who financially support them? Isn't it possible to have an individuality separate from a paycheque? Please clarify.

As for Desperate Housewives, I haven't seen it, but the title seems pretty telling, as you pointed out. (Doesn't mean you have to hate on housewives.)

sabrina said...

What I meant was that the women are characterized as housewives first and foremost; i.e., that their identities and characteristics as presented by the show's makers relate first and foremost to their marriage. I have absolutely nothing against stay-at-home mothers - but the hope of feminism is that stay-at-home mothers stay at home because they make a mutually respectful decision with their partner, which implies having the independent identities and qualities you discussed (whether or not this involves making money).

sunny said...

yeah, i was at that thing too... i didn't understand where that comment was going by saying that 'desperate housewives' depicts a matriarchy.

regardless, have you ever seen the commercial for the spouse swap show? now THAT'S something that needs some commentary. wtf.

Adda said...

Having watched a good number of episodes (I'm not proud, but they are entertaining) I would agree that the show does not depict a matriarchy. That said, I think what the speaker must have been getting at was that the mothers/women in the show absolutely dominate the plotline, meaning that all of their husbands/boyfriend/etc. are secondary characters. That said, I have actually been really disturbed watching the show recently and how overtly, explicitly conservative it is. Notably, at one point one of the main character's husband gives her fake birth control pills which leads her to get unexpectedly pregnant. When she discovers that she is pregnant, there is not discussion of options other than carrying the baby to term although all season she has been established as adamantly opposed to having children. And on another occasion, two characters discuss how unfortunate it is that in their state there is no death penalty. I realize that its obviously a conservative show...but still I am shocked at how explicitly so it is.