I have two items for my write-up today on Susan Faludi’s 1991 book, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women:
1. Faludi talks about the show, Thirtysomething, and how it glorified women staying at home and criticized women who had careers. What’s ironic, however, is that even some of the actresses who played stay-at-home moms on the show had children and yet expressed that they found fulfillment in working outside of the home. At the same time, Faludi does mention women who were behind certain shows and movies (as writers, for example) who chose domesticity after having careers, and they promoted women staying at home in their shows and movies.
2. Faludi talks about fashion trends. At first, I didn’t think that this would interest me because I know little about fashion. But Faludi’s discussion so far has turned out to be fairly interesting. Faludi talks about a designer who promoted executive suits for women—-suits that were not sexy and that encouraged female professionals’ male colleagues to take them seriously. These suits were causing a stir, and then there was a backlash against them, as more feminine attire was promoted. Faludi likens this to the 1940s-1950s: women were liking to wear pants, and that was followed by a promotion of more feminine attire.
I thought about the episode of Family Ties where Mallory was competing with Alex for a scholarship, and Mallory’s project was designing attire that let career women look good as women, and yet appear professional.