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As the meaning of 'wife' evolves, so do television's portrayals of women in the role

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Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman in Desperate Housewives.

ABC

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The Real Housewives of Vancouver, from left: Reiko MacKenzie, Mary Zilba, Christina Kiesel, Jody Claman and Ronnie Seterdahl.

darryl dyck The Globe and Mail

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Kristin Davis, Cynthia Dixon, Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker at the London premiere of the film Sex and the City.

Alastair Grant / AP

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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in an undated photo from I Love Lucy.

UPI

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The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Nicole Wilder/Bravo

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Beyonce and jay Z taken from Beyonce Tumblr site.

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Beyonce and jay Z taken from Beyonce Tumblr site.

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Beyonce and jay Z taken from Beyonce Tumblr site.

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Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife.

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A wife who has sacrificed her own dreams to her husband's 30-year-old pursuit of rock superstardom and who indulges her pre-teen daughter swaps with a woman with nine children who runs her house with an iron hand and relies on her husband's total support, on "Wife Swap," on the ABC Television Network.

ABC

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Jessica Pare and Jon Hamm in Mad Men.

Michael Yarish/AMC

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