1970s American Family Life On Television: Shifting Gender Dynamics in the Sitcoms The Brady Bunch and That ‘70s Show.

Thumbnail Image
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The main purpose of this research is to answer the question of how the American family life changed in the 1970s. The subsequent step will be to see how these changes were shown in The Brady Bunch, a sitcom from the ‘70s, and in That ‘70s Show, a sitcom from the late ‘90s. In the 1970s the economy endured a severe downfall, set into motion by the oil embargo of 1973. The family also changed through the women’s liberation movement, persuading more and more women to join the labor market, making them able to provide for themselves. With the power to provide for themselves, women are more prone to divorce their husbands and take the children with them. Fathers lose their position as the breadwinner and hereby a bit of their authority. Children spend longer periods at home, mostly discovering who they are and developing themselves. These changes are almost invisible in The Brady Bunch which portrays a picture-perfect family without any real troubles. These changes permeate That ‘70s Show as they represent nearly every aspect of the decade through satire and parody. Keywords: Brady Bunch, That ‘70s Show, Family life, Feminism, 1970s, Sitcom.
Faculteit der Letteren