The paper 'The Stepford Wives and Popular Feminism" is a good example of gender and sexual studies coursework. If we are to understand the popular culture of women in the 1970's we must first go back and see what caused this time period to be one of civil disobedience, voicing new freedoms and revolutionary ideas and celebrating differences. This society was created by genres of the past. It is important to look at these genres because the past can be reflected in the future. What caused women to voice new freedoms?
Had they not tried to voice freedoms before with women's suffrage rights back in the 1920s, what made the 1970's so different? Why is it so idolized today? "In an article written in Newsweek, Carla Power writes that since the cornerstone of information is change, anything enduring becomes precious. " Perhaps this is where we need to begin. Popular culture will be seen differently by baby boomers and young people today. There are different issues that confront the two generations. With the end of the Vietnam Era for the baby boomers and the Watergate Scandal, this was a time of some peace and a need for change.
Perhaps the baby boomers were ready for anything. Perhaps some of it was a time to fantasize, much like the romanticists of previous generations. (Roles, 22-25) Today the younger generation who is studying the popular cultures of the past may find it to be more peaceful than the constant murders, rapes and other destructive forces that we see on television and other media sources. Herewith, begins some of my queries regarding popular culture. First, exposure to media and technology has advanced greatly since the 1970s, e.g.
Footage of things occurring in our lives today is much more visible to people of all ages. Media is all around us and everyone is exposed to popular culture whether they want to be or not. In the Stepford wives, we have a distorted and idealized Society. " The Stepford Wives and Popular Feminism As is the case with The Stepford Wives, most popular media representations of feminism have come from the minds and pens of white men of the privileged class. " The mass media can either limit or expand our ways of looking at popular culture.
"Like Bonnie Dow in Prime-Time Feminism. I proceed from the premise that media texts serve as the function of interpreting social change and managing beliefs. " For the historian who only looks at only one source, such as the media, and who does not take the time to research more in-depth views can be somewhat limited and perhaps distorted. "The mass media shaped people into one-dimensional receivers of communication. " If we take a look at the 1970's we can see that the role of the perfect female underwent many changes that affected the family as well.
The television shows of the 1950s and '60s like Leave it to Beaver show the typical American Family, the father going off to work and the mother being the typical housewife and always being sweet and having dinner ready. The popular show, Charlie's Angels created new possibilities for women in the media by providing "powerful images of women breaking through the glass ceiling and trying to help other women overcome oppression. " Even though the women in the first series always looked beautiful and sexy, they were also independent women and able to take care of themselves for the most part.
They were smart and sexy at the same time. (Inness, 110-14)
Helford, Elyce Rae, It's A Rip-off of the Women's Movement" Second-wave Feminism and The Stepford Wives, Disco Divas Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Pennsylvania:University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003: 34-50
Inness, Sherrie A, Impress a New Love with Your Culinary Prowess" Gender Lessons in Swinging Singles' Cookbooks, Disco Divas Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 110-14
Kutulas, Judy, You Probably Think This Song Is About You , Disco Divas Women
and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 167-70
Levin, Ira. "The Stepford Wives: Part I." Ladies' Home Journal (July 1972): 99.
Roles, Disco Divas Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 22-25
Womack, Whitney Womack, Reevaluating "Jiggle TV" Charlie's Angels at Twenty-Five, Disco Divas Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 77-80