The Stepford Wives - An Analysis of Joanna and the Stereotypes of the 1950s housewife

Topics: Homemaker, Home, Home economics Pages: 2 (635 words) Published: October 14, 2014
Bao Le
English 12
9/13/14

The 1950s was an era of various social changes for both men and women. It was a restructuring of the roles people played in society; women had worked and continued to do so, children were no longer expected to work and the teenager was created. However within this era there was a stereotype of the perfect housewife "who kept a spotless home, had her husband's dinner ready as soon as he walked through the door from work and single-handed raised the children - while still always managing to look fashionable and beautiful" (Waterlow, 1). In the Stepford Wives, Joanna attempts to break free from this stereotype through her photography, activist abilities, and avoiding household chores she deemed as unimportant. Joanna attempts to break free of the 1950s housewife stereotype through her photography work. Women were expected to be "tough and ultra organized" (Waterlow, 2) in regards to the expenses within the home, men earned the money and women dictated how it was spent in regards to the home. This shows us that the men would be the only source of income within the home, however, Joanna herself is bringing money in through photography. She is able to distinguish money making opportunities as shown in the text, "there were plenty of markets for dramatizing racial tensions" (Levin, 13) in regards to the pictures she had taken. Another way Joanna attempts to break free of the stereotype is by doing female activist work. She is not content with simply doing household chores or keeping up her appearance for the sake of it. Joanna is trying to assert herself as an intelligent and capable woman who shares in the role of taking care of the house with her husband Walter. She feels very strongly about her activist activities as shown in the text, "they talked about it - the antiquated sexist unfairness of

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it, the real injustice, in a town with no women's organization, not even a League of Women Voters" (Levin,...
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