The American Family Analysis

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Sitcoms are a window into the mindset of mainstream America as they move from a very idealistic portrayal of society to a more realistic one, highlighting how American society is becoming more accepting of difference. Sitcoms are the comedic, thirty minute television shows in which the episodes can be viewed alone and still be understood, as long as one has the basic background of the main characters. This formulation was an instant success with the introduction of I Love Lucy in 1951. Sitcoms of the far past, and the ones of today are quite representative of the time periods that they take place in, yet they do still emphasize an idealistic version of society, especially the early ones. Sitcoms such as I Love Lucy and Growing Pains demonstrate …show more content…
As Stephanie Coontz chronicles in her article, “The American Family,” women of lower income families were put into a tight situation, where they needed to work to support their family, but often could not find a job. Even in middle class families, women far from the happiness that was portrayed by mainstream television. (Coontz 3). There was little that women, or anyone who did not fit the cookie cutter mold of the 1950’s. People who had unconventional beliefs, be they in religion, sexual orientation, or having a disability, were faced with government investigations, and arbitrary firings, constant criticism and resentment without the enforcement of the rights given to them by the constitution (Coontz 3). Anything and everything that did not fit into the “perfect” mold of the 1950’s was never displayed on …show more content…
In comparison to the statistics, many middle class housewives were not happy, even though they had relatively easy lives compared to working women of this and later decades. They were restricted in so many ways that many suffered from anxiety and depression (Coontz 2). There was a full fledged system that kept women from working, or living by themselves. In many states they were not allowed to serve on juries, get loans, or get credit cards. Unwed childbearing was ostracized to the point where women gave up the child, and returned to life as normal. (Coontz 2). This system of systematic containment resulted in many women being extremely unhappy with their lives. As Stephanie Coontz states, “Wives routinely told pollsters that being disparaged or ignored by their husbands was a normal part of a happier-than-average marriage,” (coontz 3). Society refused to believe the women’s side of the story, that even the women began to believe the lies meant to restrict them. There was also such a small amount of resources available to women who left their husbands, that it was basically an unheard of occurrence. The times it did happen, it was simply dismissed, or ignored and eventually forgotten. Anything that did not agree with the mainstream conceptual idea of a nuclear white middle class family was simply ostracized, not believed, or completely ignored. Despite the challenges, many women actually did work in the

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