As a child growing up in the early 60s, I watched the Patty Duke Show, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace, Little Rascals & The Monsters. I grew up with two brothers, as the oldest and only girl. That’s how The Monsters, Dennis the Menace & Little Rascals made this list.
My favorites of the shows I listed above were: The Patty Duke Show, Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best. A glimpse of The Patty Duke show can be viewed at the YouTube link below. https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=youtube+videos+patty+duke+show&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004
These shows were clean and innocent. The women in my opinion were portrayed in a positive light and very appealing to watch and listen to. The characters of the women were voided of self-centeredness and self-absorption. The characters were written with values and a sense of responsibility from all family members. These shows also centered on compassion and supporting each other within the families and supporting their neighbors. In the episode of The Patty Duke show at the link above, Patty and her mom talk indirectly about a guy, mostly from Patty. This guy is their doctor. Patty has a crush on the doctor who will be removing her tonsils. This particular episode probably would not pass the Bechdel test because it does have a man who is the focus of their conversations.
I don’t remember what was going on in the world at the time this show was airing. I do remember a feeling of peace and tranquility. I was too young to know the status of women at that time. My mom was a stay at home mom, while my father worked. I feel that these shows did reflect the culture of women at that time. I don’t recall ever seeing, women leaving for work, returning home from work or at work, in the shows I listed. That’s interesting, when I think about that now, many years later. Wow, things have certainly changed!
A quote from, The Rise of Enlightened Sexism, Get The Girls chapter, Rosalind a character from the 1990s show, Northern Exposure makes a very interesting comment about men who want a woman who is their intellectual equal but are afraid of women like that, then they want a woman they can dominate, and then hate her for being weak. I feel that “girl power” in some cases, not all, is a result of women being mistreated and taken for granted. There was a period in history when husbands left their wives and children. Many of these women were left homeless as a result. I feel this treatment was the catalyst that encouraged women to become self sufficient, by starting school to earn a degree of some sort or develop a skill. They had no choice, but to develop a thick skin in that process, if they were going to have to support themselves and their children as a single parent.
Women in the media today, are portrayed different from the days of The Patty Duke show. We’ve come a long way!
Douglas, Susan J., and Susan J. Douglas. The Rise of Enlightened Sexism: How Pop Culture Took Us from Girl Power to Girls Gone Wild. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011. Print.
“The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies.” YouTube. Feminist Frequency, 9 Dec. 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2015. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLF6sAAMb4s>.
“Yahoo Web Search.” Youtube Videos Patty Duke Show. Web. 15 Oct. 2015. <https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?p=youtube videos patty duke show&ei=UTF-8&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-004>.
“Yahoo Web Search.” Patty Duke Show Pictures. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
“Yahoo Web Search.” Leave It to Beaver Tv Show Pictures. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
“Yahoo Web Search.” Father Knows Best Tv Show Pictures. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.