Plastic makes perfect : The Stepford Wives and the changing politics of the female body
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 11:10 authored by Kathryn Schweishelm
This thesis investigates changes in the popular understanding of feminism within mass-mediated public discourse between the 1960s and 1970s and today, specifically in relation to feminine modes of embodiment. Through an analysis of a representative popular media text of the second wave -- the 1975 film The Stepford Wives -- this project establishes how the female body was conceptualized philosophically and ideologically by the radical feminists of this era. This is then compared to an analysis of the film's recent remake and several other contemporary media texts in order to illustrate how today's popular discourse of "postfeminism" presents a contradictory conception of feminism and its relationship to the body. Finally, this thesis suggests that postfeminist discourse is problematic for its erasure of structural gender inequality and argues that the preservation of a consciousness of sociohistorical context is vital to the perpetuation of a well-grounded feminist cultural critique.