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Democrat says 'Leave It to Beaver' family structure doesn't work anymore

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Thursday tweeted out that the family structure portrayed on the classic TV show "Leave It to Beaver" doesn't work for "21st century working families," and implied that those sorts of families aren't good enough for working women anymore.

"We must help #womensucceed!" she tweeted.

While Speier's short tweet didn't allow her to be more specific, "Leave It to Beaver" has been criticized by some as promoting the idea that women should stay at home, keep the house in order and prepare meals for their families.

But others have pointed out that when the show was being filmed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barbara Billingsley's character, June Cleaver, lived just as millions of other women lived at the time. The National Women's History Museum pointed out in an article on the show that it would be a mistake to compare June Cleaver to modern women.

"[W]e have to remember to also view 'Leave It to Beaver' as a thing of the past as well," it said. "It seems unfair to judge a show that is over 55 years old based on how some women might live life today."

The article even defends June Cleaver by saying the character once told her kids that women can hold down the same jobs as men, and that she "regularly stands up to Ward," her husband on the show.

leaveit A Democrat says this family structure no longer works.
Image source: ABC Television via Wikimedia Commons

In 2013, the U.S. workforce looked nothing like the workforce of 60 years ago. According to the Labor Department, the labor force participation rate for married mothers was 67.8 percent, and the rate for mothers with children under six years old was 63.9 percent.

Speier's tweet linked to a page put together by Democrats that calls for giving more help to the middle class. Among other things, that page says Democrats support ensuring that "women receive equal pay for equal work."

"Instead of passing legislation to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work, [Republicans] support putting bosses in charge of women's health freedoms," it said. "They even threatened to shut down the government to stop women from accessing Planned Parenthood."

Republicans have routinely rejected the Democratic argument that the GOP is waging a "war on women," and have said that argument is being made to gin up support for Democrats among women in the mid-term election.

One last thing…
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