Intertextuality and Women

Focusing on Women in the Media

The Goldbergs vs. Father Knows Best: Women’s Worth February 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paige @ 9:25 pm

Where is the women’s real place? Is it really in the kitchen like so many TV shows, movies, books, and jokes tell us?

Why did the woman cross the road?

Wait, better question, why is she out of the kitchen?

After viewing episodes from Father Knows Best and The Goldbergs, it seems that the kitchen is the place for woman.

In The Goldbers episode titled, The Singer, a very stereotypical Jewish family is presented with a tough decision; pay for their daughters voice lessons, or have her educated in the essentials(domesticated science.)This means two things for Rosalee, escape a life of gender roles that society has already mapped out for her, or continue on the road of domestication. We see the same theme played out in Father Knows Best. In the episode titled, Betty the Engineer, Betty’s school is giving vocational guidance to the students. Betty is determined to try engineering, and in doing so needs to give up her identity all together and become B.J, a boy. Her family is flabbergasted when she shares the news. Betty’s mother keeps reminding her that she is a girl, a girl! While her father suggests a career in crocheting, rather than something like engineering.

In the conclusion of The Goldbergs, Rosalee admits to her parents that she really isn’t a good singer, she just didn’t want to disappoint her mother. The family is relieved. After an episode of chaotic family dysfunction, they resolve that Betty will go back to her domesticated science and home making classes, where women belong anyway.

After Betty has a taste of “the mans world” and after being degraded by the hunky Doyle Hobbs, Betty decides to return home. She is somewhat ashamed of her failure, and is nervous of what her father will say, until Doyle Hobbs shows up to the door. Betty runs up to her room and changes out of her flannel shirt and jeans into a brand new dress. When Doyle sees her in this new dress he proclaims, “Yea, this is more like it!” She quickly ditches her dreams of being an engineer as soon as a cute boy shows up to ask her out.

“If girls are in the dust and heat too, who do you come home to” Doyle Hobbs in Betty the Engineer

Women shouldn’t be out in the world doing a mans job, they should be in the kitchen ready for a  man to come home to. This is the message these episodes are relaying.

Although it isn’t actually what was happening in the real world. During the cold war both boys and girls were treated equally in school. America was falling behind technologically and we needed our children to be well versed in math and science. In order to do this millions of dollars were put into education, and both boys and girls were given the same attention when it came to math and sciences.

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2 Responses to “The Goldbergs vs. Father Knows Best: Women’s Worth”

  1. kristineklin Says:

    Paige-

    Your joke at the beginning was humorous yet a bit maddening but it did a great job of leading the reader into the rest of your post. I think you did a good job of summarizing the two television shows, The Goldbergs and Father Knows Best, and picking out the key supporting quotes for each segment. I also liked your brief note about what was going on in the “real world” at the time the shows were made.
    Nice post!

    -Kristin Eklin

  2. harriss Says:

    Place is a very important thing to consider in this class. Even in Hazel the lead females with jobs still work in homes.

    However, we do see in Hazel the shift from sexual object to sexual subject. We see this when Laurie pursues the gardener. Women are beginning to gain more power at this point but are still held back through the ties to the home. Of course, Decoy challenges this idea but it abandons the sitcom genre to do so. On that note, generic place may also be a topic worthy of thought.


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