The Cold War Link Between Bombs and Breasts and Coontz, Leave It to Beaver And Ozzie and Harriet3

The Cold War Link Between Bombs and Breasts and Coontz, “Leave It to Beaver” And “Ozzie and Harriet”

The cold war link between bombs and breasts is a message that implies a woman or the female sexuality can be very destructive (Kibin, 2021).

A containment measure for female sexuality was proposed to be put in place since they were assumed to be as dangerous as communism.

After World War II, the dressing of women was influenced by the anxieties and trauma of the war. For instance, the conically-shaped corset bra also referred to as the ‘bullet bra’ was made popular after the war (Kibin, 2021).

The show, ‘Mad Men’ specifically portrays a flawless, beautiful, and attractive housewife in the character of Betty Draper, wife to Don Draper. Her outlook appearance with the perfect body and perfect make-up just portrays a powerful notion of femininity that gets stereotyped (Coontz, 2020).

It is probably why in the 1950s women were considered to be destructive and had to be contained.

In reference to “leave it to beaver” and “Ozzie and Harriet” we can see at the beginning that the media was quite reluctant in showing the equality of men and women. According to Cootnz (2020), the media was in denial of the social changes that were taking place in America in the 1950s.

The shows always expressed what a man could want for a successful marriage like a good house in the suburbs, a car, and a beautiful family whereas women were assumed to be in the equation as housewives (Coontz, 2020).

Currently, people want to protect the policies of the 1950s families and the definition of what the families were considered at the time. It is assumed that if the family structure was still as it was in the 1950s then we could not be having contemporary issues like rampant divorces (Pugh, 2018).

In the 1950s we had people marrying at a young age and starting families in young marriages. This was different from the other preceding generations. The American dream was for one to have a good stable job, a house in the suburbs, and a family (Pugh, 2018).

At this time, the new and growing trends about family became diverse and were not restricted by race, ethnicity, or any boundaries that could bar their choices.

With time, the media, as well as Hollywood, took up the responsibility of reinforcing these new family values which were embraced by a good number of people.

There were no social welfare problems at the time and this made life difficult especially for the poor whose greater number were the elderly. There was an increase in poverty due to the lack of concern about the extended family; most individuals got conformed in the nuclear family (Walsh, 2021).

Since most whites considered the suburbs as a good place to buy a house and settle with their families, by 1960 we had the blacks occupying the urban areas in the north.

In the 1950s families, house chores were a medium of expressing the femininity of women who were now consumers in the house but also had the responsibility of buying things around the house (Walsh, 2021).

“Leave it to Beaver” and “Ozzie and Harriet” both have a common belief that contemporary society is undergoing a lot of issues in their families because they no longer uphold the policies and values that were upheld by families in the 1950s (Kibin, 2020).


Coontz, S. (2020). ‘Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet’: American Families in the 1950s. In Undoing Place? (pp. 22-32). Routledge. (2021). An introduction to the comparison of leave it to beaver and Ozzie and Harriet., T. (2018). 1. The Queer Times of Leave It to Beaver: Beaver’s Present, Ward’s Past, and June’s Future. In The Queer Fantasies of the American Family Sitcom (pp. 26-50). Ithaca, NY: Rutgers University Press., T. F. (2021). 7. Ship of Fools. In Katherine Anne Porter and Mexico (pp. 205-225). University of Texas Press.

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