When I Grow Up I Want to be…(The Impact of the Family Sitcom in the 1950s) Week 1

Written by: Kim Bowen

I titled my blog post ‘When I Grow Up I Want to be…’ and there is a very good reason for it. In the 1950s we can clearly see that the father is a rolemodel for their sons in what they are suppose to achieve as the get older. A stable house with a white picket fence, a stable job in order to keep the family afloat, and a wife who is capable of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. This was not just perceived in everyday life but on the television as well. Through shows such as The Goldbergs, Leave it to Beaver, and the Ozzie and Harriet Show are all examples of how gender roles were highly established through the use of modeling and following. Girl would watch these shows and would aspire to be Harriet the wife who is able to keep her children in line but also her house in order. There was no other way of life and there was only a set way of how men and women were suppose to be in society. Children felt that this was their only future. That all changed with the the sitcom I Love Lucy. This particular sitcom brought forth as Lori Landay has stated brought forth the ‘female trickster’. I feel that this is the perfect term to use for Lucille Ball and her character Lucy. This is due to the fact that Lucille Ball brought forth the notion that the housewife can do a lot more than just sit at home and cook and clean. That women can be very successful in what they set out to do and Lucille proved it by being a very successful comedian. Although many people did not catch on to the fact that she was busting the myth of gender role ideology in the 1950s while being the character Lucy. Lucille Ball brought a whole new idea that women are more than being confined to the kitchen and she made people realize with every successful episode she completed of the I Love Lucy Show. It is because of shows like this that have shifted the idea of gender labels from the 1950s onward. Many shows followed suit such as The Honeymooners were breaking society’s assumptions of what men should be and what women should be when it came to the family as a unit. So now when you ask a young women what they want to be when they grow up the are no longer limited to housewife and men are not limited to the breadwinner. Shows like this have changed the formula of not only what it means to be a functional family in the current society we live in but also giving notice to the domestic ideology and what it means to each individual.

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One Response to When I Grow Up I Want to be…(The Impact of the Family Sitcom in the 1950s) Week 1

  1. marymdalton says:

    You raise some interesting points. You might want to consider breaking them into smaller paragraphs to make your ideas really stand out to readers!

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