Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tupperware! (2004)

Laurie Kahn-Leavitt


In the 1950s, American women discovered they could earn thousands -- even millions -- of dollars from bowls that burped. "Tupperware ladies" fanned out across the nation's living rooms, selling efficiency and convenience to their friends and neighbors through home parties. Bowl by bowl, they built an empire that now spans the globe.  American Experience presents Tupperware!, a new documentary by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt (A Midwife's Tale). Narrated by Kathy Bates, this funny, thought-provoking film reveals the secret behind Tupperware's success: the women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds who discovered they could move up in the world without leaving the house. Tupperware! charts the origins of the small plastics company that unpredictably became a cultural phenomenon.  It all began with the unlikely partnership of Earl Silas Tupper, a reclusive small-town inventor, and Brownie Wise, a self-taught marketing whiz. At a time when women, who had been celebrated for working in factories during World War II, were being pushed back to the kitchen, Wise showed them how to defy the limitations they faced by starting up their own businesses -- based in their kitchens.  In Tupperware!, archival footage of Tupperware parties, annual Tupperware Jubilees, and home movies is interwoven with the thoughtful, often humorous recollections of Tupperware salespeople and executives who experienced firsthand the company's meteoric rise.


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  1. Thanks for this post - it was a really enjoyable look at tupperware's influence on marketing, gender roles in the workforce and social networking. I think one of the more interesting insights of the film is how the cult of personality and celebrity was ultimately undermined by the practicality of the product. I would be interested to know if that holds true today with what seems like so much emphasis on individual personality.

  2. unfortunately links are dead. any possibiliy for an reup? And thanks a lot for the good work.

  3. The links for Tupperware are dead...a re-up in the future would be great.

    I heard this was a really good documentary and would be fascinated to view it.

    Sometimes the most revealing discoveries about power, control, knowledge and the contours of consensus reality can be found in the most 'neutral' or innocuous of objects and events.


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