Questioning Television’s Resident Mother Figure: Who Was June Cleaver? Essay

Questioning Television’s Resident Mother Figure: Who Was June Cleaver? Essay

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Questioning Television’s Resident Mother Figure: Who Was June Cleaver?

Picture this: It’s 1957, and America is on the verge of a psychedelic revolution. Television is in its beginning stages, and America is dealing with nuclear tensions regarding rough relations with the Soviet Union. Society is changing, as are the views pertaining to what the “perfect” American family should be. Throughout this turmoil, familial stability is more important than it ever has been, and everyone is looking for a guide to follow in order to form his or her own version of “the perfect American family”. At least, that is what the rumors tell us. When many people reminisce about this picturesque view of 1950s Americana that modern ideology has created for us, the woman that embodies the vision of this era is the iconic, June Cleaver, portrayed by Barbara Billingsley. With her memorable appearance as a pristine housewife who vacuums the house in pearls and high heels, June is often merely remembered for her portrayal as an obedient housewife on the influential 1950s sitcom Leave it to Beaver; however, June consistently reveals herself as a caring mother with poise, dedication, and influence throughout the duration of the television series. Because of her behavior and complexities of character, June should be remembered as a woman with strength, and not merely as a carbon copy of an uneducated housewife succumbing to the pressures of womanhood during the 1950s.
Leave it to Beaver, which began airing in 1957, has long since been regarded as one of the most iconic television series of all time. By highlighting humorous life situations, and using strategies to evade out-dating the television show, Leave it to Beaver has remained on the air, in some ca...

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...Beaver: The Complete First Season. Writ. Joe Connelly and Bob
Mosher. Dir. Norman Tokar. Shout Factory, 2010. DVD.
“Nobody Loves Me.” Leave it to Beaver: The Complete Fifth Season. Writ. Joe Connelly and Bob
Mosher. Dir. Norman Abbott. Shout Factory, 2010. DVD.

Kassain, Mary. "Grieving June Cleaver." Girls Gone Wise. N.p., 9 Nov. 2010. Web. 17 Oct.

O'Dell, Cary. ""Mama Said": Television's Wives and Moms." June Cleaver Was a Feminist!:
Reconsidering the Female Characters of Early Television. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland &, 2012. 23-72. Print.
Ridge, Rachel Anne. "Maybe June Cleaver Was on to Something with Those Pearls." Web blog
post. Home Sanctuary. N.p., 16 June 2007. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.

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