Leave it to Beaver, Season 1, Episode 12 “The Perfume Salesmen”, 1957.
Brady Bunch, Season 5, Episode 19 “Top Secret”, 1975
After watching an episode each of Leave it to Beaver and Brady bunch, I believe that these sitcoms would serve as relevant primary sources in determining whether 1963 was a turning point in American cultural expectations of women as housewives or career women.
In Leave it to Beaver I noticed that the women predominately stay in the home and complete tasks like cooking and cleaning while the men go to work outside the home. Women before 1963 wore dresses with a hem about ankle length, their hair was curled and pinned up and their makeup was flawless. Ward even referred to June as a housewife. She tended to wear an apron most of the day and was part of a women’s club that met at her house. The mother did most of the childcare while the father usually gave the punishment.
In contrast to Leave it to Beaver, the Brady Bunch showed higher hemlines, more women donned shorter hairstyles, and girls were seen wearing pants. After 1963, I noticed more of a co-parenting approach as opposed to individual parenting. Women appeared to be more outspoken in this time as well. Similar to Leave it to Beaver, Brady Bunch demonstrated the notion of separate spheres. The women of the Brady household tended to spend time as a group, including the maid. The boys did the same thing. I also noted an emphasis on togetherness in both…