Progression of Gender roles in Television Pt. 2: One Day at a Time

As mentioned in part one of my progression entry, gender roles have always played a large role in American sitcoms. Sitcoms began in the late 40’s, early 50’s, when the socially accepted gender roles were the mother caring for her home and family, and the father working and providing for his family. As time carried on, the progression of gender roles did as well. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a television sitcom called “One Day at a Time”. In this Sitcom, there was a different type of family unit. Unlike the Cleaver family in Leave it to Beaver, this family unit contained only three people. It was comprised of a single, divorced, working mother who was raising her two daughters. In terms of gender roles and how families were portrayed in the media, this was a huge jump. Not only was the family unit somewhat “broken” in comparison to the earlier sitcoms, but the mother’s gender role was entirely different. It became more socially acceptable as time carried on for a woman to not only be a mother and care for her home and family, but to be a working woman as well, and take over the “male” role of the family unit.

Ann Romano and two daughters from
television’s “One Day at a Time”

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2 comments

  1. I liked both of your entries. Leave it to Beaver was definitely a very “traditional” family kind of show where the mom didn’t do much except the stereotypical mother things, but I didn’t know about this three-woman cast of a sitcom in One Day at a Time. It was really cool to see such change that early on!

  2. See this is more of what I’m talking about. I love that this embraces the independent woman. It doesn’t still focus on the man of the family doing everything and the wife relying on him. Shows like this are what encourages women who are in similar situations. It shows that we are more than what people think

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