Moral entrepreneurs have praised the film because; it empowers women in society. This gets achieved by showing them that it Is possible to overcome male dominance and rise above the stigma faced by women. In addition to this, film gets praised because it represents the actual activities that take place in the daily lives of ordinary women. The film combines humor and reality to educate women on the importance to follow ones dreams. For example, Bree Van de Kamp followed her dream and ended up owning a highly successful catering company. Immorality is also evident in the film and the consequences shown are harsh. For example, Gabrielle Solise had an affair with her gardener and this almost broke their marriage, Bree Van de Kamp, on the other hand, had an affair with Carl and the eventuality of this affair was the death of Carl and a divorce. Therefore, it can be stated that the film discourages immorality. On the other hand, Susan Myer out of desperation started working on an internet pornographic site for money. The outcome of this was that she got fired and lost Mike’s trust. Another moral aspect the film focuses on is careless drinking and drug abuse. Bree Van de Kamp has an alcoholic, and it almost cost her friend, Lynette when she blacked out while babysitting her children. On another occasion, she passed out on her lawn, and on another occasion, she got locked in a clothing store having passed out in the changing room. Eventually, she sought help and sobered up. Looking at the embarrassment she underwent, should be enough reason to discourage women from careless drinking. Finally, the film focuses on loyalty among friends and trust. The five housewives trust each other and this bonds them as friends. They help each other out whenever necessary; this enhances peace and communal living, a fact that all neighbors ought to practice. For example, when Susan Myer needed a kidney donor, her friends organized an event where they made everyone get tested for compatibility, this saved Susan Myer’s life.
The several types of stereotypes that are present in this TV series are racial, sexual and gender (Cerulo&Ruane,2008) Racial stereotypes gets portrayed when the only African American family moves to Wisteria lane, the male is predominantly violent, with a tendency to commit a crime. The Apple gates family had a violent mentally challenged son and another who was a rapist and a murderer. Gabrielle had a Chinese maid who was their surrogate at some point. The fact that some races can only be cast for a certain role is racial stereotyping.
The other stereotyping mode is sex, that it is the role of women to stay home and be house wives. Every time a character in desperate housewives tries to deviate from the role of a house wives, it only works out momentarily before it backfires and they are back to being housewives. Bree started her own catering company which she eventually gave when she got blackmailed. Lynnette was an executive in advertising, and throughout the series, she tries to go back to work some thing always gets her out of employment.
The next stereotype of women is that they can only be perfect mothers (Lynette Scavo), H ouse keepers (Bree Van De Kamp), Trophy Wives (Gabriella Solis) and sex objects (Eddie Britt). The women in this lane get get portrayed as people that need to be looked after by men as one feminist write said that women know that they are failures if they are not beautiful despite their other achievements(Gauntlett 2008). The stereotype of a perfect family and marriage are what all the women in Wisteria lane strive to have. However, in essence there is no perfect marriage; this can be seen through one of the characters -Susan Meyer. Her desperate search for love leads her to Mike who marries her, but her perfect marriage does not last long.
The film revolts the hegemonic norms in the society in many ways. Traditionally, women have two main roles, child bearing and taking care of the home. However, in the film, the women rebel against this backward tradition and adopt a modern culture where women are more liberal and independent. The rebellion is most evident with Lynette, who even after bearing four children, she is not happy with the role of a housewife, and she still pursues a career. In addition to this, she becomes her husband’s boss. Lynette refuses to be a ‘kept woman, and although she is proficient at being a house wife, she is constantly unhappy, and she gets presented as messy, unkempt, and always swamped by housework because of the chaotic nature of her children. Unlike Bree Van de Kamp, who is always neat, punctual with obedient children, she does not fit the idealized image of a housewife. Another instance that proves that Lynette was rebelling against the hegemonic norm of a housewife is when she gets frustrated and breaks down. Afterwards, she confesses to her friends that she is a lousy mother. This is contrary to what mothers ought to be like since a mother is caring and loving. She defies the traditional role of a woman again when she switches roles with her husband. She resumes work while her husband stays home to watch the children. Tom is poor at watching the kids, and he claims that he feels feminized, bringing the notion that women are better than men at housework into reality. Tom resents the fact that his wife is his boss proving that he believed that men should dominate while the women followed. He cannot stand the fact that his wife has the upper hand in the home and office that in order to assert his authority as a man; he initiates sex in an elevator. Tom seems to be traditional in his thinking because he believes that women or females in general should repress their power and let the men dominate. Thus, it can be ascertained that Tom believes in the ideals that come with hegemonic male dominance.
The film, therefore, presents a contrast between the hegemonic and anti-hegemonic beliefs or norm in the society. Although the title is hegemonic in nature, the women and the power they demonstrate n the film prove otherwise. Thus, the film mainly reveals feminist ideals and proves that women can rise to prominent positions in the society. The film also brings out the aspect of cultures where Gabi and Carlos are Latinos, yet the society readily accepts them. The neighborhood is open to people with different cultures, and personality and they do not discriminate. For example, they readily accept their gay neighbors, and offer no criticism when they move into Wisteria Lane. The film not only discourages racism, but it also discourages feminism in the society. (MacCabe 2006)
The film is an empowering tool for women. The five housewives in the story have no fear expressing their sexuality despite the fact that they are in their forties. The women are strong, sexy, and this can be used to encourage middle aged women to appreciate sex even in their old age. However, this can be interpreted in another negative manner. This is where women in the story are slim sexy and despite being in their forties, looks twenty years. This can discourage women in that it can make women who fail to meet this profile feel inferior. Thus, the film has both an empowering and disempowering role. On the empowering role, the film reinforces the counter hegemonic norm where women get regarded as inferior in the society. The film shows women with money, careers, intelligence, beauty and connections despite their age. This can be used to motivate women to step up and earn their place as equals to the male gender in the community. On the other hand, the film misleads women by creating the impression that for a woman to be successful, they need to be rich, influential and have beauty like models. However, this role gets overshadowed by the positive ones.
Power in the movie gets attained through secrets that result in black mail and money. However, the greatest symbol of power in the movie is the five housewives in the film. This is because, despite the success of these women, they all have some dirty laundry they wanted to keep hidden. The five show a lot of strength in battling their day to day problems and eventually they succeed. For example, the neighborhood has so many people black mailing each other. This gives the person the power over others. In addition, wealth is a determining factor in the movie because, the richer an infidel is, and the more powerful they get considered. For example, when Gabi and Carlos lose their wealth, they get considered poor and thus, excluded from social gatherings those they were part of in the past. The same fate is by Susan Myer and Mike when they were experiencing financial problems and had to lease out their house. When Paul found out Susan was a dancer, he knew she would be embarrassed if her friends found out, so he used the secret force her to do his bidding. Another instance is evident when Bree Van de Kamp wanted a divorce from her husband Orson Horge. Orson threatens to report her to the police if she applies for a divorce. This gave him power over her. The women in the film express a lot of power especially in defending their families. Lynette demonstrates her power in the work place, where she is not only successful, but also her husbands’ boss. This illicit friction in the marriage, however, as Tom feels that she is always dominating over her. Both men and women in the society get involved in a power struggle where everyone wants to be successful.