Julie’s Julia: The Ideal Housewife

by Chandeen Santos

Blogger Julie Powell states: “Julia Child began learning to cook because she loved her husband, and she loved food, and she didn’t know what else to do with herself, and in the process she found joy.”[i] The movie Julie and Julia follows the lives of Julie Powell and Julia Child as they learn to cook.  Julia Child learned to cook in Paris at the famous Cordon Bleu, and Julie Powell from the book Julia Child published, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  As Julie cooks her way through Mastering the Art, she develops an infatuation with Julia Child.  Near the end of the film, Julie realizes that “her” imagining of Julia a not real representation, but a product of her own imagining.  Her husband reminds her, “The Julia Child in your head is perfect.  The Julia Child in your head is the one that matters.”[ii] What is shocking is that for a woman from the twenty-first century with all the benefits of the women’s movement given to her, Julie Powell idolizes—in Julia Child—all that is most traditional, everything in Julia that makes her a quintessential “1950s housewife.”  It is important to note that neither Julie nor Julia were solely housewives.  Both women became successful in their own right; however, it is the traditional gender role of a housewife that is idolized by Julie and Julia.  Are modern women being drawn back to the ideals of the 1950s housewife?  Have women forgotten all that was fought for in the second wave feminist movement? Continue reading “Julie’s Julia: The Ideal Housewife”