Free Essay

Feminism and the Brady Bunch

In: Film and Music

Submitted By tig9
Words 1375
Pages 6
Susie Kim
Television and American Culture
March 18, 2013
A Very Brady Feminist
By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s second wave feminism was taking a firm hold on American, as well as the world’s, political and social norm, and television could not and did not ignore it. News reports as well as comedy television shows used the women’s liberation movement as a basis for a commentary in announcements, an episode, or a show as a whole. Television, as always, captured, communicated, and connected Americans everywhere with the changing times as women sought more than just their suffrage. As a contemporary issue for its time, it seemed unusual for a situation comedy television show like The Brady Bunch (1969-1974 ABC), which kept to traditional family values, to include episodes with feminism as its main subject matter. However, The Brady Bunch – particularly episode 19, season 2 – made the women’s liberation movement a family friendly topic for America’s living rooms. The episode was not just spontaneous and unrelated from the show as a whole; rather it built on the already established balanced norm that the show established since the very first episode. The Brady Bunch took great strides to maintain equilibrium between the boys and the girls – a mother with three daughters, a man with three sons, and the additional woman, Alice, substance a moderate position and generally does not take sides. Episode 19 of the second season, ‘The Liberation of Marcia Brady’ discusses feminism, but in the end nothing is really broken and the family remains united and wholesome. In a time where there was political, social, and familial instability, The Brady Bunch provided a piece of mind – an assurance that something like feminism could be discussed without breaking up the family – while providing future viewers who would watch the show in syndication (through CBS) a time capsule for the cultural time.
The episode opens with a reporter and a cameraman as they stand outside a high school discussing feminism and how high school girls feel about it. The reporter then turns and faces Judy Winters and Marcia Brady as they approach them and speaks to Marcia:
R: “Do you feel girls are the equal of boys?”
M: “Well, if we are all suppose to be created equal, I guess that means girls as well as boys.”
R: “Do you think you can do everything they can do?”
M: “Well, I think I should have the chance to try.”
R: “Do [your brothers] put you down sometimes, I mean, just because you’re a girl?”
M: “They sure do! And it’s not fair.”
R: “Do you think girls should do something about that?”
M: “We certainly should.”
The question and answers are, on the surface, harmless and do not really establish a side. Marcia does not out right declare that she is an embodied feminist. She “guess,” “suppose[s],” and thinks that girls are the same as boys and should be treated as such. The only time she proclaims anything directly is when the reporter asks about her brothers – Greg, Pete and Bobby – and how they put her down just because she is a girl. Also, when the reporter asks if “girls should do something about that,” he is specifically, in the context, asking about being but down just because they are girls, and not about women inequality. This establishes the subject of the episode, but does not promote or demote the women’s liberation movement, safely avoiding any conflicts or controversies with their family oriented show. However it provides the audience watching in syndication what the general opinion of time was.
As the girls walk away after the interview, Judy comments on what Marcia just told the reporter; “What you said about boys… if my father and brother heard me talk like that, they’d clobber me. You sure are brave.” To which Marcia replies, “Oh no […] I’m not brave! I’m stupid.” From Judy’s comment as well as Marcia’s response, the audience can deduce that feminism, or in this case “women’s liberation,” was not an accepted matter of discussion or an issue to express one’s opinions on, especially if those opinions expressed approval. Marcia was “stupid” for voicing her opinions about women’s liberation and now might face being “clobber[ed]” by her father and brothers. However, as always The Brady Bunch does not deviate from the well-established balance between the boys and the girls.
At home the family watches Marcia express herself on television and afterwards the boys tease her for her opinions. When Marcia asks her parents if they are angry about what she had said her mother says, “Well of course not, dear,” but her father says, “I think you have a right to your opinion,” implying that he does not fully approve of her opinions. After Marcia leaves the room saying that she “meant everything [she] said,” her parents discuss the women’s liberation themselves. While Carol stands firm with Marcia stating that even though she has “never gone out marching” she does “believe in some of their causes,” Mike says that even though he does not think that “it is [necessarily] crazy” he still thinks that “some of the things they want are far out.” Not only do their individual response safely discuss women’s liberation without becoming direct advocators or protesters, but their responses show how the individual sexes in society might have felt in real life. Also, the audience can experience 1970’s colloquial idioms such as “far out”. Now that the sides are even, assuming that Jane and Cindy agree with Marcia (later confirmed), Carol asks Alice what she thinks about the women’s liberation movement. Alice is hesitantly answers Carol and says, “Oh… well… umm… Well, I don’t think it’s a bad idea.” However, before Mike can ask her anything Alice immediately says, “On the other hand I didn’t say it was a good idea either.” In this way the show does not overstep the balance and there is no winning side.
After Marcia successfully passes all the initiation tests to become a Frontier Scout and wins Greg’s and her father’s approval, she ultimately decides to not to join. Carol, Mike, and Greg are shocked by her decision after she put in so much effort to become a Frontier Scout, and they demand to know why. Marcia calmly replies, “I just wanted to prove to myself I could do it even though I’m a girl.” She then turns to her mother and says, “Oh! Did the new fashion magazine come yet?” In this way the norm is reestablished in the diegesis and everything falls back into place; girls will remain the way they are (and not a Frontier Scout) and boys will remain the way they are (not a Sunflower Girl or someone who reluctantly accepts someone into their territory). She may have proven that she could indeed do anything the boys could do in the context of the Frontier Scout, but she contradicts her earlier statement that she made to Alice: “I’m not doing this just for me. It’s for all women. Don’t you want to be liberated?” Symbolically her infiltration into the boy’s world broke the lines between what a girl can do or a boy can do, but she did what she did for herself, to prove that she “could do it even though [she is] a girl.” The audience does not see Marcia’s efforts as anything but a girl’s fickle interest, which is confirmed when Mike and Greg agree that a woman probably said that “it’s a woman’s prerogative to change their minds.”
The contemporary issue of the time is lightheartedly discussed in the ‘Liberation of Marcia Brady’ episode. Nothing about the episode advertises that The Brady Bunch is for or against the women’s liberation movement. It is just another issue that is part of both the diegetic and the non-diegetic world. The fight for women’s liberation is reduced to a sibling rivalry and ended with no real accomplishment to attains anything significant. Even in the heat of the second wave feminism, The Brady Bunch retains its family values and makes an important issue a subject that is open to discussion in a family.

Work Cited
The Brady Bunch. Sherwood Schwartz. ABC, 1971. CBS syndication. Digital.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Feminism in Bangladesh: Establishing equal rights between men & women in young generation. SADMAN ANIS Students University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh ABSTRACT This is basically exploratory study and was conducted at University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh & United International University, Dhanmondi,Dhaka, Bangladesh over a period of 10 days started from 1st December, 2012 to 10th December, 2010. The main objective of this study is to describe what the condition of feminism in Bangladesh and what is the thinking of our varsity girl about feminism. Total 21 respondents were selected based on age class of 18-22. Feminism is a belief in the right of women to have political, social, and economic equality with men. It is a discourse that involves various movements, theories, and philosophies which are concerned with the issue of gender difference, advocate equality for women, and campaign for women’s rights and interests. According to some, the history of feminism can be divided into three waves. The first wave was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the second was in the 1960s and 1970s and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. Feminist theory emerged from these feminist movements. It is manifest in a variety of disciplines such as feminist geography, feminist history and feminist literary criticism. Although feminism has emerged in nineteenth in the world, it is yet unknown to women of our country. The concept of feminism in Bangladesh......

Words: 6113 - Pages: 25

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Feminism by Madiha Rauf Feminism is a collective struggle towards acceptance of women existence and recognition of their contributions. Its’ basic philosophy is to challenge the social status quo by defining and supporting women rights. Historically the term of feminism is established in western society as a protest against the laws and policies that compelled women to work in a subordinate role in the 18th century. Millett characterizes feminism as a “system of political, economic and social equality between sexes” (Millett, 1970: 74). While it is defined as “politics directed at changing existing power relations between women and men in a society” by Weedon, (1987).Hooks (2000) explains feminism as “a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression”. Feminism is diverse collections of social theories through which many focus on analyzing the social constructions of gender while other focus on gender inequality and promoting women’s rights. By describing major forms of feminism, Tuttle, Lisa (1986) says, radical feminism considers patriarchy as a root cause of women oppressions so believes on radical social changes while liberal feminism asserts the equality of men and women through legal and political reforms. Socialist feminism supports Marx’s ideas &relates the oppression of women to labor exploitation and class structure. While essential and cultural feminism believe that females value because of their special differences & inherent ability to......

Words: 592 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Feminism refers to political, cultural, and economic movements aimed at establishing greater rights, legal protection for women, and or women's liberation. It includes some of the sociological theories and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. Nancy Cott defines feminism as the belief in the importance of gender equality, invalidating the idea of gender hierarchy as a socially constructed concept. Feminism has earned itself a bad reputation, but it never undermined gender differences that exist between males and females. A man can never be as good a mother as a female can. Similarly, a woman can never be as good a father as a male can. While accepting these anatomical and physiological differences between the two genders, feminism seeks for both genders to be equally respected. They are both human and as a species, humans cannot progress without either one of them. Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker divide the history of feminism into three waves. The first wave transpired in the nineteenth and early twentieth century’s, the second occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, and the third extends from the 1990s to the present. In each wave of the movement, though men have taken part in significant responses to feminism, the relationship between men and feminism has been complex. Historically, a number of men have engaged with feminism. Philosopher Jeremy Bentham demanded equal rights for women in the eighteenth century. In 1866, philosopher John Stuart Mill presented a......

Words: 1249 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Brady Law

...The Brady Law The Brady Law requires licensed gun dealers to run background checks on potential buyers. According to Francine Kiefer, running background checks blocked at least two million purchases (Kiefer, 2014). Blocking purchases of gun sales to domestic abusers and fugitives by licensed dealers, activists are urging the extension of running background checks on all gun sales. The issues regarding passing laws requiring private sellers to run background checks on potential buyers is an example of a deductive argument. Although some states implemented and strengthened possession restrictions on domestic abusers or individuals who suffer from mental illness, laws should be passed requiring private sellers to run background checks on their potential buyers. Statistics show that at least two million purchases have been blocked. This means that felons, domestic abusers, and fugitives were prevented from licensed dealers. Being prevented from purchasing guns from licensed dealers, felons, abusers, and fugitives can purchase guns from private sellers because they do not have to pass a background check. What this means is that individuals can go to private sellers and purchase guns; thus, enabling them to commit gun crimes. Implementing laws requiring private sellers to run background checks would keep guns out of the hands of prohibited persons. The new law would reduce the amount of illegal gun trafficking that currently occurs. Implementing tougher laws would allow......

Words: 516 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Feminism in Multicultural Societies An analysis of Dutch Multicultural and Postsecular Developments and their Implications for Feminist Debates Eva Midden A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the degree of PhD at the University of Central Lancashire May 2010       Student Declaration Concurrent registration for two or more academic awards I declare that while registered as a candidate for the research degree, I have not been registered candidate or enrolled student for another award of the University or other academic or professional institution Material submitted for another award I declare that no material contained in the thesis has been used in any other submission for an academic award and is solely my own work Signature of Candidate Type of Award School ___PhD_________________________________ ___Centre for Professional Ethics___________ 1   Abstract It was long assumed that both multiculturalism and feminism are connected to progressive movements and hence have comparable and compatible goals. However, both in academia and in popular media the critique on multiculturalism has grown and is often accompanied with arguments related to gender equality and/or feminism. According to political scientist Susan Moller Okin for example there are fundamental conflicts between our commitment to gender equality and the desire to respect the customs of minority cultures or religions. If we agree that......

Words: 97145 - Pages: 389

Premium Essay

Feminism

...f Notes: Feminism Feminism has become so common in our world today that it seems to appear everywhere. Everywhere we turn and wherever you look there is feminist. In fact, feminism has so many different meanings that people take it to mean very little. Well, how do you define feminism and what is it? As a general definition, feminism is a very sophisticated philosophical movement and is also known as, “the biggest intellectual monster”. It is a philosophy in which women and their contributions are valued. This system of ideas and political practices are based on the principles that women are human beings that are equal to men. Feminism is also based on social, political and economical equality for women. It has been known that feminists can be anyone in the population (men, women, boys and girls). Feminism has been widely described as a huge movement too for the past 50 plus years and includes everyone who wishes the world to be equally the same without boundaries. These so called “boundaries” are known as discrimination against certain things such as religion, age, gender, etc. Numerous people tend to view the whole world with their own senses. Feminist tend to view the world though as being very unequal. For example, being “gypped” or “jewed”, meaning you were ripped off. Therefore, in order to fix it and be “equally treated” there are three goals or strategies used (social, radical and liberal feminism). I see feminism as allowing women to expand their careers and...

Words: 377 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Brady

...Brady v. Maryland Heading: Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) Certiorari to the court of Applels of Maryland. No. 490. Decided on May 13, 1963. Petitioner claims he was denied due process of law after he confessed to helping in a crime that ended in muder, but was never shown evidence that his partner had confessed to the actual killing until after he was convicted. Procedural History: One case that is mentioned during the Brady trial is the Mooney v. Hola ham case in which the principle is " not punishment of society for misdeeds of a prosecuted but a avoidance of an unfair trial to the accused. Society wins not only when the guilty are convicted but when criminal trials are fair; our system of the administration of justice suffers when any accused is treated unfairly." Facts: the petitioner and a partner by the ame Boblit were found guilty of murder. Both men had separated trials, the partitioner was triad first. He stated that be had helped in the crime, but the Boblit had actually committed the murder. Brady requested to see the prosecutor's extrajudicial statement from Boblit. He was shown these statement, but the prosecutor did not show him the statement in which Boblit confessed to the killing. The Due Process Claise of the Fourteenth Amendment was violated according to the Appellee by suppressing evidence. The petitioner requested a new trial in which the question of punishment would be viewed. Issue: the issue is this case is whether or not the......

Words: 508 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Feminism

...How Relevant Feminism Actually Is Salah Eddine Youssef Kadadou American University of Sharjah How Relevant Feminism Actually Is When looking at any population, the simplest way to start categorizing organisms of any species is according to sex; male or female. If you disregard the biological and physiological differences, how would you tell them apart? Amongst animals, males and females have different roles. A lioness for example does most of the work while the lion only serves as the protector in case of predators. This difference in roles is seen throughout the animal kingdom with the exception of humans. As humans, we have decided that both men and women should have the same roles in society with regards to everything, or at least this is what feminism preaches, or does it? Feminism is a tricky matter to discuss because if you do not know how this movement started, you would look at modern day feminism and instantly be put off by what you see. Webster defines feminism as: 1.: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, 2.: organized activity in support of women's rights and interests. The original purpose or goal of feminism was to present women with the same opportunities and rights that men had and as hard as it is to believe, it still is. Therefore, if this is truly still the case, then feminism is still relevant even in modern day societies. On the one hand, feminism is still widely recognized as a movement with true......

Words: 1738 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Feminism

... Psychology of Women Feminism Feminism, as defined by the Webster Dictionary, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. I think that in today’s society, feminism has a negative association and many people are under the assumption that feminism is a male hating organization. Also, a lot of people think that sexism is not an issue today because they feel that women have gained equality so, feminism has no relevance. There are others who do agree that women should press for equal rights but will not claim the feminist title because of the negative stereotypes portrayed by the media. I can make many speculations of why this is so but I believe that this is mainly because of the ignorance people have towards the movement. People don’t understand the goal of feminism supporters and that is why feminist are falling short of their goal. People don’t take it serious; they even make a joke of it on social media websites such as Twitter. They have been making twitter accounts, calling themselves “meninist” to mock the feminist movement. People fail to realize that feminism can benefit some men as well. Males have a duty to act a certain way because of the roles that stereotypes has forced upon them. By definition, feminism is the advocacy for social, political, and economics rights or men and women. If feminist achieve their goal, it can......

Words: 583 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Compare and contrast two feminism ideas Feminism is the word given to explain the political, economic and cultural movements that have happened for many years in the view to changing the lives of women. When people in society think of a ‘feminist’ they think of angry, men hating women that think that any inequality towards women is disgraceful. Some movements have been very public and a lot of action taken, and others are more discreet but just as powerful. The most remember able feminist movement is the suffragettes, that took up arms just after the second world war. This movement is stuck in history due to the amount of women that gave their lives for the cause. They were called the suffragettes. Although this movement wasn’t the first feminism movement, the ‘first wave’ of feminism started around the nineteenth too twenty centuries and it has carried on in different movements until today. One of the feminist movements is the radical way of thinking, this is the view that men just see women in a sex related way and that a woman’s body is controlled and enjoyed by the man. This movement tries to show the side where men objective a woman and Dworkin said that this way of thinking is visible in many day to day things. Such as marriage, health care, economy and also prostitution, pornography and law. Radical feminists are also extremely against prostitution, as they see it as a way for men to treat women as commodities that are able to be used and sold, for the......

Words: 2035 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Feminism

...Feminism Feminism is a controversial topic among society, it is a movement that helps and supports women to have equal rights as men. Throughout the years the definition has changed, many women are taking advantage and accusing people of discrimination. In today's society the roles have reversed, some women in some cases discriminate men and take advantage just because they are women. There are many people in today’s society that agree, disagree, or do not care for feminism, but that does not mean we have the right to offended or even put down anyone for having a different point of views on any matter in what others believe in. Many can say that after reading Rebecca Rubins’ article, “The Farce of Feminism”, can agree that women nowadays do not need any support groups. I strongly believe that women do need support groups in today’s society. Rubin’s talks about how she does not consider herself a feminist but she does support women. Society has changed feminism throughout the years, but I believe that the definition remains the same. I believe that Rubin proves a point, but she is confused because feminism is supporting women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. I do not agree nor disagree with Rubin’s thoughts and point of views. I strongly believe that people, in general, alter the definition of feminism and makes it their own. Rubins stated, “Women in this country are now on an entirely equal footing with men and are......

Words: 892 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Brady Campaign

...The Brady Campaign is a very large organisation, and they are working to prevent gun violence through legislations. Ronald Weagan’s press secretary was a man called Jim Brady. Jim Brady was seriously wounded by a shoot during an assassination attempt on Ronald Weagan, who was the president of the United States at that time. After the harsh experience and the wounds mentally, Jim Brady and his wife Sarah Brady began to work for stricter gun control laws. In the 1993 the Brady law was passed. If you wanted to buy a handgun, you had to wait in a five-day period so there could be made a background check and a ban on the military-style, semi-automatic machine guns and the “assault weapons”. George Bush did not renew the ban of the “assault weapons” in 2004. The Brady Campaign argues that armed revolution and violence against the government is not necessary in a democracy. The Second Amendment Myth and Meaning means that the American nation suffers from an epidemic of gun violence. They mean sensible national gun control laws are urgently needed to reduce this violence and killings. They mean the NRA’s constitutional theory is a calculated distortion of the text, history and judicial interpretation of the Second Amendment. They say it is time for the debate over gun violence to focus on the real issues, free from the NRA’s constitutional mythology and they say that the courts consistently have ruled that there is no constitutional right to own a gun for private purposes......

Words: 809 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Feminism

...life when I needed feminism. I always understood the term feminism to be straightforward: anyone who believes in equality between men and women, as well as the perseverance of self-worth regardless of gender, is a feminist. However, my generation of women has a far more straight forward view of feminism than I do. Women who recommend the values of feminism now frown upon identifying themselves as feminist. Why is that? Many misconceptions and misunderstandings become part of the issue when a person has a lack of understanding or comprehension of exactly what the term feminism truly means. It is important to know the difference between equality and feminism. Comprehending the meaning of the two also empowers a women to be grounded and given the capability to know what they stand for. A Huffington post “Poll: Few Identify as Feminists, But Most Believe in Equality of Sexes”, conducted a poll that displayed the percentage of women who would identify themselves as feminist and only that of 23% consider to be feminist while the vast majority believes in equality. The gap that consists between the women who identify themselves as feminist against the percentage that only stands for equality of sexes is due to the misconceptions of the word. This same poll exhibited that the women view the term more negative than a positive. The word feminism is very much controversial and has been stirring up problems for years. Everyone has their own definition of feminism so there are......

Words: 1543 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Feminism

...3 TRENDS IN FEMINISM Structure 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Objectives 3.3 Liberal Feminism 3.3.1 Liberal Thought 3.3.2 Classical Liberal Feminism 3.3.3 Second Wave Liberal Feminism 3.3.4 Weakness/Limitations of the Liberal Feminism 3.3.5 Contribution to the Women’s Movement 3.4 Marxist Feminism 3.4.1 Foundations of Marxist Feminism 3.4.2 Other Key Elements in Marxist Feminism 3.4.3 Limitations of Marxist Feminism 3.4.4 Contribution to the Women’s Movement 3.5 Psychoanalytic Feminism 3.5.1 The Beginnings of Psychoanalytic Feminism – Countering Freudian Theories 3.5.2 Explanation by other Theorists 3.5.3 Limitations of Psychoanalytic Feminism 3.5.4 Contribution to the Women’s Movement 3.6 Radical feminism 3.6.1 Definition 3.6.2 The influences that shaped Radical Feminism 3.6.3 What are the variations of Radical Feminism? 3.6.3.1 Radical- Libertarian Feminism 3.6.3.2 Radical-Cultural Feminism 3.6.4 Radical Feminism – Its Structure 3.6.5 The Outcomes of the Movement 3.6.6 Critiques of Radical Feminism 3.6.7 Contribution to the Women’s Movement 3.7 Postmodern Feminism 3.7.1 Postmodern Thought 3.7.2 Postmodern rethinking of psychological explanation of gender 3.7.3 Postmodern Feminist 3.7.4 Limitations of Postmodern feminism 3.7.5 Contribution to the women’s Movement 3.8 Black Feminism and Womanism 3.8.1 The Beginnings of Black Feminism 3.9 Cyber Feminism 3.9.1 Origin of Cyber Feminism 3.9.2 Definition of the 100 Anti Thesis 3.9.3 Cyber art and its relation to Cyber feminism 3.9.4......

Words: 17769 - Pages: 72

Premium Essay

Feminism

...claim that part of the problem is a tendency on the government's part to interpret "equality" as sameness, and then to treat women according to an unexamined standard of male normalcy.[10] Chapter two: definition, development, and categories of feminism 1. Definition of feminism Throughout history, women have always struggled to obtain equality, respect, and the same rights as men. This has been difficult because of patriarchy, an ideology in which men are superior to women and have the right to control women. This ideology has spread widely among the social structures of societies throughout the world. As a result, even in the new millennium, women are still struggling for rights that most men take for granted. The struggle was even harder for women of color for not only were they dealing with sexism, but racism. In order to fight patriarchy, feminism as well as feminist theory was born. What is feminism? Generally, feminism is a philosophy in which women and their contributions are valued. It is rely on social, political and economical equality for women. Feminism is also a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. Feminists can be anyone, for instance, men, women, girls or boys. In this movement or revolution, women and men wish the world to be equal without boundaries. These......

Words: 2859 - Pages: 12