The History of TV Shows and TV Family Programs

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The representation of TV fatherhood has transformed largely in recent decades. Father figures on TV have undergone a wide social transition, whereby earlier portrayals of fathers were idealized as strong, revered characters that acted as the disciplinarians. However, due to factors such as the rise of feminism and the World Wars, audiences began changing their stances, expectations, and attitudes toward father figures. This gave way to new family shows that reflected this change in society. The authority of father figures on TV in the 1980s began to be ridiculed, and shifted from a know-it-all to a clueless individual. An example of this would be Everybody Loves Raymond. Shows also emerged where there were dual-income parents as well as stay-at-home fathers. This was a drastic change from the 1950's dad who worked a steady job, lived in a middle-class suburban bubble, and whose wife was a picture-perfect stay at home mom. What could have influenced TV so strongly? American society has been impacted by several factors such as the rise of feminism, the Watergate scandal, and the World Wars. These events played a major role in shaping television today as it changed society’s views and attitudes toward the family dynamic. The rise of feminism is a major contributor to the changing roles of fathers on TV. Feminism first arose in 1920’s when women were granted their basic human right to vote, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s where it really took off. We began seeing women in the
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