Gabrielle Solis: The Desperate Housewife Essay

1854 words - 8 pages

“It is not gender which is destroying our culture…it is our interpretations of culture which has destroyed gender equality.” - Cambodian Civil Group
Being masculine or feminine is something that has become a limiting factor recently and in past history. Society views a person based on their sex; male or female, and categorizes the individual according to their gender (Cambridge, 2011). For centuries, women have been associated with certain characteristics such as being weak, domestic, and not capable of responsibility yet, men are seen as strong and dominant (Keller, 1994: 234). The entertainment industry gives people the image that males are more dominate over females by showing females ...view middle of the document...

First off, Gabrielle Solis is almost always seen in tight-fitting outfits and heels. The narrator asserts, “There were many things Gabrielle Solis knew for certain. She knew red was her color. She knew diamonds went with everything and she knew men were all the same”(Season 1, Episode 17: Children Will Listen). Disappointingly, Gabrielle thrives on and feels self-assured by the attention she gains from her appearance rather than what she has to say. She yearns for the “Male Gaze”; a term coined by Laura Mulvey a British feminist, which essentially means the hypnotization of men through the use of the female body. Mrs. Solis objectifies herself in a manor, which “signifies a psychological relationship of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze” (Schroeder, 2008).
Furthermore, in season 5; episode 21, when Gabrielle’s husband suggests that she leave the house without makeup to show that beauty is not everything to her daughter, Juanita, she pulls her husband aside and says, “I am not walking into a ballroom full of people without my face on”. Her statement, demonstrates that she does not feel comfortable without her make up on, consequently, highlighting Gabrielle’s discontent with her natural self, hence, her insecurities. This display of action shows viewers that Gabrielle believes that to be a woman you must wear make up to substantiate yourself and further agrees with Naomi Wolf’s, Beauty Myth which implies that beauty exists objectively and universally (1991: 121). She does not feel comfortable enough within her own skin to feel accepted by the people in the room and although the people around her may see her as beautiful she does not see herself as beautiful. Ultimately, Mrs. Solis’s actions exemplify her manipulating her appearances through the use of makeup in order to make herself feel significant.
Finally, even though the idea of a relationship with a minor is viewed as demeaning, Gabrielle engages in such a relationship because she enjoys the attention and notion of being the sexy older female (Season 1). Through her actions and sometimes inactions, Gabrielle continues to portray women as self-doubting people who need to be reassured by their peers. She wants her peers to feel a sense of envy; she desperately needs them to have the “it could have been me”(Elster, 1991) syndrome. She participated in the affair with John not because she does not love her husband but out of the mere need for attention and approval from her colleagues. Despondently, Mrs. Solis’ insecurities promote her to participate in actions that focus on her physical attributes to gain the attention of the people around her, which undoubtedly portrays her as a weak and docile individual.
“Woman will always be dependent until she holds a purse of her own.“ -Elizabeth Stanton
The devaluing of femininity continues to occur with the representation of women being dependent upon men. To begin with, Gabrielle is contingent upon her husband...

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