Saturday, April 14

Blog buddy work Kristin C, author of Gender and Desperate Housewives

Where has your Blog buddy shown strong analytical work (be specific—is it a particular post, a type of analysis, a site for analysis that seemed to click more so than others, etc)?
I think you showed strong analytical work through your collage in which your main focus was DH products. You really stepped out of the box by looking at the materialism produced by the show instead of analyzing the characters.

How could your Blog buddy use this strength for the final Blog post and presentation?
You can use this strength for the final post by focusing on DH’s impact and effect on the viewers. Why would women want to buy oven mitts that say desperate housewives? What messages does the show convey to them that would interest them in these materials?

Think about the following statements in relation to your Blog buddy’s Blog and then provide feedback on each area (constructive praise/criticism):

The Blog is on a topic that has been clearly evident in the Blog posts throughout the semester
You’ve done a very good job incorporating your topic of DH into every post that it was applicable to. I really liked the video clip you posted with the women tempting the viewer with the apples.

The Blog is on a topic that seems to interest my Blog buddy
It’s apparent through your posts that you’re a fan of the show and know a lot about the topic. Sometimes it seems to get into the way of actual analyzing the characters and their effect on the viewers; this was hard for me as well.

My Blog buddy’s topic is one that has produced a good set of posts that were analytical used gender as a primary category of analysis
This topic can be easily analyzed through a gendered lense as the mere title implies a sense sarcasm.

The posts make analytical arguments.
You provided solid evidence for analyzing the characters although it seems we ran into the same issues in trying to find readings that corresponded with our topic and arguments.

The posts are understandable and each post logically outlines and supports the argument presented. The posts were clear, provided insight, evidence, and analysis to connect the topic with the assignment for each of the posts

The sources cited in each post are relevant to the topic and help to aid the understanding of the argument and/or assisted in proving the argument.
Again, some of the sources didn't fit in perfectly but most of them effectively reinforced your argument.

The quotes used illustrate a broad range of course readings throughout the semester.
The quotes did illustrate a broad range of readings throughout the semester.

The quotes were clear and succinct; additionally, the material was presented so that I could differentiate the Blog buddy’s ideas from that of the author cited.
The quotes were clear although come were contradictory with your argument.

I thought it was great when you...
I really like when you brought up the comparison between Eve, the apple, and the four main characters. This is a key component in how the show is presented to viewers.

I found it confusing when you…
In the post about motherhood I couldn't really tell if you were defending Brie or supporting her.

You’re really great at…
You did a very good job at analyzing the gendered hegemonic and non hegemonic roles portrayed by the different characters situationally.

I wish you could focus (more) on/alter/edit/explain/expand on/etc these three things…
I wish you could focus more on race and class and the way they intersect with the great points you brought up about gender.

Monday, April 9

Blog Post #5: Motherhood and "Desperate Housewives"

Although many aspects of the definition of a good mother have changed since the 1950’s, there are a few parts of it that are still prevalent in today’s society. In a television show from the 1950’s the character of mama states that she wants “success at work for her husband, marriage and childrearing for her daughters, the presidency for her son, and nothing for herself” (Lipsitz). Although now one might argue women are now being encouraged to pursue education and careers, it is still expected for mothers to be self-sacrificing and want more for their family than for themselves. As soon as a mother does something for herself instead of for her family, she is portrayed as selfish and as a bad mother. Ironically, it is the character of Brie on “Desperate Housewives” who is the epitome of 1950’s values that is today considered a “bad mother.”

The character of Brie on “Desperate Housewives” is portrayed on the show as an ineffective mother. On the surface, Brie is society’s idea of the perfect mother, for she “stays at home all of the time and holds very conservative values” (Coates). In addition, Brie’s home is kept spotless, her cooking is superb, she is always dressed in beautiful clothing, her appearance is always perfect, and she enjoys housework. However, Brie is missing one key part of the definition of a good mother; she is not “providing a stable and safe haven for her children” (Coates). It is this unstable and unsafe home she has provided for her children that makes her easy to portray as a bad mother.

From the first episode of “Desperate Housewives,” the viewer can see just how much Brie’s children dislike her. They ask Brie to make a dinner for once that isn’t extremely fancy, and her response is asking her son if he’s on drugs because his behavior is “horrible.” The children are sick of the spotless house and the gourmet dinners, but Brie refuses to change her ways. Later on that night, her husband Rex tells her he wants a divorce due to her obsession with being perfect. Instead of showing her husband that she does in fact have emotions and flaws, she hides them in order to keep her “perfect” persona. As a result, the children blame Brie for the divorce. All of this happens because Brie is more concerned about what others think of her than what her own children want and need.

Brie tries to appear perfect to others as her “means of changing the unpleasant realities” of her life instead of emotionally reaching out to her children (Lipsitz). Her son Andrew protests this by slamming doors in his mother’s face, going to strip clubs late at night, smoking pot, etc. Instead of really talking things out with Andrew, Brie sends him to boot camp and makes sure to hide this fact from her neighbors. Later on in the show when Brie’s son tells his mother that he is gay, she tells Andrew he is not going to heaven. As a result, Andrew tries to make his mother’s life a living hell. Although his behavior is in fact horrible, he is acting this way because he believes his mother no longer loves him due to his sexuality. Brie tells Andrew at one point she would love him even if he was a murderer, but will not accept him when he takes away from her image of being the “perfect Christian.”

It is when Brie kicks her son Andrew out of the house and leaves him to fend for himself on the streets that the viewer is left with little choice but to think of Brie as a bad mother. As Brie kicks Andrew out of the car, a tearful Andrew tells her, "You know what? I win. The day I told you I was gay, I knew by the look in your eyes that one day you'd stop loving me. And I was right." Although Andrew was behaving atrociously, it is apparent in that moment that Andrew did in fact love his mother and was acting out as a defense mechanism. The second Brie kicks Andrew out of the house, she has committed the ultimate sin of motherhood- she has completely given up on her own child!

By the beginning of season 3, the viewer cannot help but be horrified at how things have turned out for Brie’s children. Brie’s son Andrew is living on the streets as a homeless man, Brie’s daughter Danielle is having sex with her high school history teacher as well as many of the boys in the neighborhood, and both of Brie’s children hate her guts. Recently, there have been some significant changes for her children. Andrew has been allowed to move back home and seems to be acting a whole lot nicer to his mother. Meanwhile, Danielle just got pregnant. As a result, Brie is having Danielle live in another country for 9 months and telling her neighbors Danielle is studying abroad so no one will know and there will be no “scandal.” Although the relationship between Brie and Andrew seems to be improving, Brie still has a lot of work to do in order to truly mend the relationships between her and her children. Until Brie can stop worrying about her own need to appear “perfect,” she will never be able to give her children the “maternal devotion” they truly need (Coates).


Coates, Norma. Moms don’t rock- the popular demonization of Courtney Love.

Lipsitz, George. The meaning of memory- family, class and ethnicity in early network television. Gender, Race, and Class in Media, 40-47.