The Real Housewives Changed the Perception of the Housewife

The traditional housewife has a role determined by her place in the family. The growing popularity of shows like ‘The Real Housewives’ and similar TV shows have reshaped the concept of how she is perceived. The evolution of her image led by television portrayals is fascinating.

Through the ages, the term housewife suggests a woman who is married with husband,, or living together with a partner and may, or may not have children. The older image is that of a saintly mother someone whose role in the home, is managing it in all aspects while her mate goes out to work to bring in money for home upkeep. In addition to taking care of herself, she also takes care of her family.

On TV for a long time the housewife, a most visible family member, was portrayed as a stable woman. She was a woman who ran the home. She was a wife, married, and in most instances would have children. Her main role was to manage the home which could include tasks like budgeting for the home, caring for her children, cooking and entertaining relatives and friends.

Over time, of all the changing individual TV family roles, the changes the housewife role has undergone is fascinating. Those shows depicting the family have led a change in the housewife’s role and has reshaped her as a woman having her own life, to the point where it is difficult to see her again in her traditional role of being manager of the home, involved in caring for her children, preparing meals for her family and entertaining relatives.

She has evolved to an independent person who steers her own life. She is no longer defined by her relationship and role within her family. She has become media smart and a woman always well made up. She creates her own public image in striving to distinguish herself among her peers.

The Real Housewives portrayed mainly suburban married mothers managing their homes, taking care of their children and living comfortably as their husbands provided for them. But they are not portrayed as being engaged in the more ordinary household chores. They are portrayed as wives with large homes having movie theaters, fire places, luxury bathrooms and living an active social life.

For the housewife it is now no longer the family-first commitment. She is now a woman who is more like a sister doing her own thing. The Real Housewives has carefully cultivated an image that is well polished with an assertive personality. She is devoted to cultivating her ability to define herself.


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