Yet, at the same time these women are shown to be happier when they can make themselves adjuncts to men, or they are shown as succeeding only as they are able not to achieve through ability but to succeed through the use of their feminine wiles. The woman of today is presented as troubled and as anxious because she has been forced into the mode of trying to "have it all":
This discourse, like so many others before it, has declared the movement (predictably if illogically) dead, victorious, and ultimately failed. In so doing, this popular view of feminism has rewritten the history of the women's movement to shift it from the terrain of well-intentioned and earnest docudrama to that of smarmy tabloid-style television reenactments on A Current Affair (Walters 119).
This applies only indirectly to the female lead in The Bridges of Madison County, for this is not a woman seeking to make her way in a man's world. Indeed, her traditional role of housewife on a farm has always had a sense of equality that eludes women in the professions, for women on the farm work alongside the men and have a de facto equality much more powerful and permanent than what their sisters seek in the city. They also face a life of drudgery for the most part, but in this as well they are equal with the men. The postfeminist sheen on the characters in The Bridges of Madison County comes not from the characters themselves but