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Family Structure

16 Nov


Leave it to Beaver embodies the ideal family structure of the 1950’s. It is a nuclear family where two parents; a man and a woman, lookout for their biological sons and daughters; usually two of them.   In this show’s case, the two sons happened to be boys, Wally and Beaver.  The first one, Wally is the teenager in the Cleaver family and thus, represents a connecting gap between the difference in ages between his parents and his younger brother.  This is because he shows his parents the ropes as to what Beaver feels, what he is going through and the things that he wants to communicate. Wally represents a well-rounded American boy who gets good grades, gets along with his teachers and plays sports.  His good academic standing can be seen in the clip below.

It shows how Wally is able to achieve the highest grade in his class due to a job well done, unlike his friend, who thinks that by dating the Teacher’s daughter he will succeed and ultimately fails with the “lowest grade” that can be given.  Beaver, on the other hand, is a more mischievous child that gets in trouble for tricking or lying to other people.  However, he is a genuinely good child whose conscience does not allow him to follow through with his plans and he ultimately tells on himself and punishes himself, as can be seen in this clip.  This particular clip also shows the Cleaver’s good parenting skills for they communicate with their child.

While it is seen that through this traditional family structure that June and Ward are able to successfully raise their children, the struggles of being a single parent are shown through their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Mondello.  Since Mr. Mondello was never home and always out of town, Mrs. Mondello was the representation of a single parent and she would always have issues with her son, Larry.  Due to this, the Cleavers were the ones who would provide her with advice, for she was not able to manage with her son by herself.  Through Mrs. Mondello, Leave it to Beaver conveyed that a traditional family was a necessary to raise polite, respectful kids, unlike Mrs. Mondello ill-behaved Larry.


Modern Family consists of three very different families that are commonly seen in our society. First we have the typical family with a wife and husband with their three kids. Their race is Caucasian and this family structure is very similar to that of Leave it to Beaver. This demonstrates that we still have that ideal family that our society should consist.

Next, we have a family structure that has been become more acceptable throughout the years. We have a divorced man who remarries not only a younger woman but a Latin woman. We start to see that biracial marriages are not frown upon and it has become common for people to date/marry outside their race.

The last family structure we see in Modern Family is a fairly new one that is still seen as a taboo. It is not only one controversial issue it is two issues that many people do not agree with. We see that the last family structure consist of two gay men AND an adopted child. The fact that we see a gay couple in the show it demonstrates that our society is becoming more accustomed to the idea of homosexuality, yet it is still not completely socially acceptable. Also because they have adopted a child the audience is shown that in order to raise a child it does not have to be the traditional man and woman.


Clothing Attire

16 Nov

Leave it to Beaver

Ward, the father from the Cleaver family is always seen wearing a shirt and a suit.  He is always well dressed and put together.  His attire symbolizes the white collared job he has and the fact that he is economically in a good place, for he dresses to impress.  Even when he sips on coffee after he has returned to his home after a day at work, he still wears collared shirts, although his is within a more relaxed environment in his home.  Ward also sports his collar shirts when he goes play gold at the country club.  Due to the lifestyle that he leads, Ward must always look presentable and well put together.

Even though June stays at home most of her time, she is always wearing either a skirt or a dress.  This is because in the 1950’s, women were not only expected to be homemakers but they were also expected to look nice and considered “eye candy”.   From the very moment she wakes up and is ready to serve breakfast, her hair is perfect and her dresses crisp and ironed.  It is interesting to note that on a Christmas episode, while Wally and Beaver sported their robes and her husband a very casual outfit, June wore a tight dress and a formal bun on her hair.  This once again shows how a woman in the 1950’s was expected to do her chores as a housewive but also look nice in her dresses and jewelry.  Not only was this an expectation but it also proved a certain status; the more well dressed you were, the more economic prosperity you enjoyed.

Lastly, Wally and Beaver’s attire changed for each ocassion.  For when they were at home, they would usually sport simple shirts and for Christmas, they are seen wearing their pijamas.  However, when they went to school and the breakfast table before heading there, they would wear nice shirts along with pants and a belt.  The childrens’ clothing expectations were not as restricted as their parents, for they also had other necessities; one of the most important ones being comfort.


Clothes are used as a way of expression for many people. The way a person dresses can tell you lot from them. There are many factors that can contribute to the clothing attire people wear. We see that in Modern Family the roles the characters play is what determines the clothes they wear.

Let’s take a look at Cam, shall we. His role is a gay father who is the feminine one in the relationship. The way we can tell he is the feminine one is by looking at the color of his shirts. For the most part he is always wearing colorful shirts and is the character that wears pink most often. I guess he could be considered “flamboyant”. His partner is a lawyer so therefor he dresses up more than Cam. You typically see him wearing suits and he tends to wear darker colors, hence the more masculine one.

If you look at the character Gloria, her role is being the hot and young wife of the older man. She is a very voluptuous woman and is often wearing clothes that show her assets. She wears pant/shorts that accentuate her hips and butt by being very fitted. As well as her shirts being v-neck and showing her cleavage. Also you see her wearing heels in almost every episode even when she is at home. This is used to keep up her role of being hot because we associate heels with sophistication and hotness.

But of course we also have to have the more conservative traditional mother. Claire is the usual stay at home mom and sure dresses for her role. She is seen wearing the typical “mom jeans” that are not fitted at all and do not flatter her body. The shirts that she wears tend to cover up her assets and if they are a bit revealing she is wearing a cardigan on top of it. Heels are not typically seen on her, she is usually wearing sneakers or sandals.

Too further look into the Modern Family typical clothing attire, watch the video below!

Gender Roles

16 Nov


Since Ward is the breadwinner in the Cleaver family, he represents the professional man who possesses a white collared job.  It is mentioned that he is an engineer and thus, it can be assumed that he received a higher education as a younger man.  Even though he represents that professional man who is economically in charge of the household, he also held an important role as a parenting figure.  While it could be assumed that he would be the type of father that got back home and read and went to bed while June was completely in charge of the kids, this is untrue.  This is because Ward played an important role in teaching lessons to his children in a fair and reasonable manner, for he is never seen spanking his children or losing control while yelling at them.  However, when he is on the verge of losing his temper, his wife always manages to calm him down. His rational sense of parenting can be seen in the clip below.  In the video, it appears that the maximum authority in the house is held by Ward, for Beaver speaks to him while getting reprimanded while his back is given to his mother.  This shows that while June participates and is part of the conversation, she does not have enough power to make a decision as to what the punishment should be for Beaver.

While Ward is the decision maker in the house, the role June plays goes accordingly with stereotypical woman.  She is a homemaker who stays at home and does the regular activities of a housewife; she cleans but most importantly cooks.  Leave it to Beaver clearly emphasizes the fact that a woman belongs to the kitchen, as can be seen through through the clip below.  In Ward’s own words, “a woman’s place is in the home” and ultimately in the kitchen.  This implies the fact that during the 1950’s, women were expected stay at home and not work or pursue a higher education.  In addition, they portray women as fragile, weak beings, for June is able to cook well in the kitchen but for barbecues or doing tougher cooking, Ward needed to aid her.

The gender roles of Wally and Beaver are portrayed very differently in the series.  While Wally represents the handsome, athletic young man that gets good grades, Beaver shows less masculine distinctiveness.  For example, he takes dance lessons and even accepts the role of the female while his friend leads the dance.  As soon was Wally walks into the house, he tells them to “knock it off” thus showing how it is not acceptable for two young boys to be dancing together to soft, romantic music.  Clearly, Wally and Beaver show completely different portrayals of the gender role for one is more sensitive while the other one is tougher, more manly.  However, it could be said that Beaver’s sensitivity is not due to the fact that he is less of a man but more so because he is younger and does not understand the perfect role that a male should play in the idealistic 1950’s.


Modern family is a mockumentary television show that has adapted its family views to the society in which we now live in. if this sitcom was on the air in the 1950s people would be shocked by its content. A homosexual couple living together with an adopted child & an older man married to a much younger woman are only a few yet dramatic changes depicted in our society. Our society is not just simply leaving it to beaver when it comes to the transformation of family life. The standard male & female parent template has changed since the 1950s and so has the way certain media depicts such changes. Modern Family is a great example of this change.

It seems that within each family there is at least one partner who stays home and assumes the role of domestic caretaker/homemaker. This is similar to the family structure of the 1950s depicted in the sitcom Leave it to Beaver.  The father/head of household was the primary breadwinner but in today’s society this standard has changed. however, this change is not depicted in the modern sitcom Modern Family. The two wives and more feminine partner in the homosexual couple stay home to care for their children and take care of household chores. The two husbands and more masculine partner work outside of the home in order to support their families. Though Modern Family has adapted some aspects of today’s society, for example portraying a homosexual couple, it has not fully conformed to the typical family structure that is now an acceptable norm.

There are many differences between the families of Modern Family and Leave it to Beaver. For instance, in the case of Phil and Claire, Claire is more assertive when it comes to parenting styles. Phil is not taken seriously by his children which creates a problem for him when he does try to be assertive. Claire stays at home while Phil works outside of the home which may explain why Claire is more involved in setting ground rules for her children. She is often depicted as shrill and always angry at Phil. In terms of gender roles, though Phil is the primary breadwinner, Claire is seen as the head of the household.

The family that depicts the most drastic change is that of the homosexual pair Cam and Mitchell. Though the two are both male it is evident that Cam is much more feminine than his counterpart Mitchell. It seems ironic that even in a homosexual relationship gender roles must be defined in terms of femininity and masculinity. Gender is socially constructed and within this relationship the construction is evident.

This clip portrays Cam as being overly sensitive which is quite common among women. Cam is also the primary caregiver of their adoptive child. Mitchell, the more masculine of the two, works outside of the home and provides for his family while Cam stays home and cares for Lily, their daughter. Cam’s position of staying home and caring for the child associates him with the stereotypical role of the mother even though biologically, he is a male.

To conclude, the relationship of Gloria and Jay appears to be that of a young gold digger after a sugar daddy but that is not so. Gloria and Jay seem to be genuinely happy with each other despite their age difference and cultural background. Gloria is a proud Columbian and Jay is an American. Gloria is also the mother of Manny, a young boy, who Jay takes under his wing as his own child even though he is not the biological father. This family structure was not evident in the 1950s during the Leave it to Beaver era. Once again, Jay, the male, is the primary breadwinner but by no means is he the head of the household when it comes to the family. Gloria, much like Claire, is a no nonsense mom who stands up for what she believes in and answers to nobody but herself. She appears to be Jay’s equal instead of his subordinate.