1950s Gender Roles

1842 Words8 Pages
Does television have an impact on people’s everyday lives? Yes television has an impact on people’s everyday lives because it displays certain social expectations like gender roles for men and women. For example, in the 1950’s television shows illustrated that the men had to be breadwinners while women had to be homemakers. On the other hand, in American society today the old expectations are being challenged by displaying women as breadwinners and homemakers. These social expectations of gender roles led to the “perfect” family structure on television represented during each era. In addition, the family structure formulated the ideal wife for the 1950’s and contemporary times, which plays a huge role when it comes to consumerism and the economy.…show more content…
In the 21st century, women must have a career and job to support a family compared to the 1950’s when women had the choice to be a stay at home mother or have a career. Spigel states, “Like Donna Reed, who sacrificed her nursing career for life with Dr. Alex Stone […]” (Spigel 224) the author is indicating that most women during the 1950’s decided to be a homemaker because that was what society expected of them. Television emphasized and valued the role of the ideal wife and a homemaker. Furthermore, TV shows like The Donna Reed Show illustrated wives to be marginal at home and central to the economy. Haralovich states, “In her value to the economy, the homemaker was at once central and marginal” (Haralovich 70). Basically, women’s labor in the home was highly valued and was given social satisfaction by consuming products to live the suburban American dream. However, women roles from today have changed due to the shift in gender roles in the American society. The “Study Date” episode of Good Luck Charlie is a perfect illustration of an ideal wife and women in today’s society. For example, Amy has to work, take care of her family, by cooking and cleaning. There is now a huge pressure for women to go to college, get a career, and to get married and raise a family. Women now are breadwinners and some men are stay at home dads. Due to economic pressures from society, both spouses have to work to maintain their family compared to the 1950’s where only one spouse could work and support a family. Both shows display the importance of society’s typical family structure and gender roles from each time period. In conclusion, there has been a dramatic shift in women’s roles in society today when compared to the
Open Document