The Depiction of Women on TV in America and French Canada

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 24th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Family

In the struggle for women's rights which stems well over a century, some women made great strides in changing the social mores of the day. The plight of the poor is an ongoing topic in women’s issues and women’s rights. I will now provide a brief history of feminism. We will now look at the media in the 1950s and its portrayal of women.


Television of the 1950's sent a direct message to all women .The sitcoms of the 1950s was influential in how they portrayed women and children and how they impacted on everyday society.

The Donna Reed Show - 1958 - 1966

Most of the show only showed stay at home moms and did not address the working women of the era.

The Donna Reed Show did show some progress for the media in the 1950s

The Donna Reed Show had a woman lead actress. Though the show was another middle class show that centered on issues like firing a bad housekeeper, it did show the wife as a woman with a career and that really was a progression from the stay at home perfect mom.

However, the show did begin airing in the late 50's and lasted to the middle 60's at the time when feminism was gaining an audience in America.

Did these shows portray the lives of most women? It is doubtful, though they did portray a segment of white middle class America. They also stereotyped women and their roles and did not give them much room for expansion. In that sense they did perpetuate the American ideals of the day in a post war pre women's liberation era.

La Famille Plouffe

La Famille Plouffe

On the other hand, Montreal French speaking Women also had a chance to view television with a french Canadian content. In 1953, La Famille Plouffe aired on Société Radio-Canada This type of french television broadcasting was known as the first téléroman (televised novel), based on the novel, Les Plouffe, by Roger Lemelin. The Plouffe Family was translated into English a year later. Whereas, English Montrealers always enjoyed American TV programming first broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), now french Canada had their own programming as well.

Still the woman's place in the home was deep seated in this television program as well. The show was about a working class family. Théophile, the husband was a former cycling champion turn plumber. Josephine his wife, spent her time catering to her adult children.

La Famille Plouffe
was Société Radio-Canada's response for television sitcoms for French Canada. The popularity of the La Famille Plouffe ran in both languages until 1959. It returned as a miniseries in the 1980's.

Previous Link
How 1950 Television Programs Depicted Family Life

All photos taken from the public domain
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1950S Tv, Dutiful Wife, Father Knows Best, Housewives, La Famille Plouffe, Leave It To Beaver, Ossie And Harriet, Te Programing About Women, Tv Programing, Tv Programming In The 1950S, Women In The Media, Womens Issues, Womens Rights

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Kingwell
25th May 2015 (#)

How things have changed! I was watching an old movie a few days ago. Sorry but it doesn't even look real anymore. Blessings.

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author avatar Kingwell
25th May 2015 (#)

How things have changed! I was watching an old movie a few days ago. Sorry but it doesn't even look real anymore. Blessings.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
26th May 2015 (#)

Great post. Thanks for the share.

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