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Television is widely known to represent and reinforce the mainstream ideology of contemporary western culture patriarchy While television representations of women have changed greatly in the last twenty years alone in order to accommodate the changing role of women in society one is led to ask how much the ideology has changed behind the post-modern representations of women The television genre of soap operas is often criticized for offering stereotypical and unrealistic images of women which confirm women in their subordination Brunson 1997 Soaps often portray women through the construction of specific gendered identities revolving around domestication and objectification or in opposition social liberation and economic independence However these opposing representations are both rigid in construct and limited which ultimately still devalues womens roles as suppression to a socially dominant patriarchy In this essay I seek to examine the roles of the four central female characters in Desperate Housewives and reinforce the notion that portrayals of women are still limited stereotypical and rigidly constructed Intrinsic to feminism with its emphasis on womens rights and self-realization is the effort to liberate women from what it perceives to be a male-dominated society Radical feminist ideology in particular contends that the traditional concepts of gender roles and family relations are part of a patriarchal social construct that is designed to control and oppress women Glenn 2000 The feminist assault on traditional gender roles and families began in earnest in the 1960s and increasingly turned radical in the 1970s This second wave of feminism targeted the family because women could not realize their potential in society as long as they were still tied to childbearing childraising and housekeeping as their primary responsibilities Glenn 2000 Betty Friedan 1963 author of the celebrated work The Feminine Mystique contended that women were victims of the delusion that they must find their fulfillment and identity through their husbands and children otherwise known as the trapped housewife syndrome Thus feminism in order
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