The Not-So-Modern Housewife

I love watching television shows made decades-ago. As a member of Generation Y, it fascinates (and saddens) me to think that women were once confined to housework and jobs they had no chance to advance in. What’s most peculiar: the women look absolutely thrilled to be inferior to their sexist husbands and bosses…at least that’s what media propaganda of the time portrays.

I Love Lucy is quite interesting. Lucy may be a WASP housewife but she’s also smart and sassy. She frequently disagrees with and challenges her Hispanic husband, Ricky…in the early 1950s! Oh yes…the whole television show is essentially about her, a female, in a male-dominated industry in the middle of the 20th century.

In the episode, “Job Switching” (the famous chocolate factory episode), Lucy challenges Ricky by switching household positions – he the housewife and she the breadwinner. Scandalous. Lucy’s girlfriend, Ethel, makes the same deal with her sexist husband, Fred.

Initially, both men make fun of the women and vice versa. Both parties think the other “has it easy.” By the end of the episode, Fred and Ricky have failed at all their domestic chores and Lucy and Ethel have been fired from their first job (with plenty of laughs in between).

That’s a good display of fairness for 1950s America. In a time when women, African-Americans, homosexuals, and other minorities were shoveled to the outskirts of society and made to feel like outsiders, a show like I Love Lucy came along and contributed to changing attitudes.

My two cents while watching I Love Lucy. 😉

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