Marabel Morgan

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Marabel Morgan (25 June 1937-) is an American author of self-help books for married women, including The Total Woman (1973), Total Joy (1983), The Total Woman Cookbook (1980) and The Electric Woman (1986).

The Total Woman sold more than ten million copies and was the bestselling nonfiction book of 1974.[1] Grounded in evangelical Christianity, it taught that "A Total Woman caters to her man's special quirks, whether it be in salads, sex or sports,"[2] and is perhaps best remembered for instructing wives to greet their husbands at the front door wearing sexy outfits; suggestions included "a cowgirl or a showgirl." "It's only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him," Morgan wrote.

These lessons were reiterated in Morgan's popular Total Woman Seminars. Due in part to her sunny disposition and facility with soundbites, Morgan became an unofficial spokesperson for opposition to the women's movement. She was a regular guest on The Phil Donahue Show, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine,[3] and was named one of the most influential women in America by People magazine and the 1975 World Almanac.[4]

Morgan was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1987 and currently works in the health industry.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

In a 2000 episode ("Rory's Dance") of Gilmore Girls, Lorelai (played by Lauren Graham) jokingly tells her mother (Kelly Bishop) that she would have come to the door to let her in, but she didn't have any saran wrap.[6]

In the 1991 film Fried Green Tomatoes, the character played by Kathy Bates attempts to seduce her husband by wrapping herself in saran wrap, a method promoted in The Total Woman.[7]

In a 1977 episode ("Trouble in Chapter 17") of James Garner's NBC-TV series The Rockford Files, the character of Anne Louise Clement (Claudette Nevins), who believes her book on how to be the perfect wife is the cause of the death threats against her and for whom Jim must act as bodyguard, is closely based on Marabel Morgan.[8]

In the Maude episode "Feminine Fulfillment" (28 February 1977), Vivian takes advice from a Total Woman-like book (with the same title as the episode) and starts pampering her husband and catering to his every whim, much to Maude's dismay.[9]


Morgan, Marabel. The Total Woman. Old Tappan, N.J.: F. H. Revell, 1973.

External links[edit]