Oct 17, 2010
Good morning Gothic Lolita fans and others! Friends, today I want to talk about another provocative and potentially explosive topic: Mom style.
I spent yesterday with my own Mom, for a drive outside the city to see the fall foliage and to visit a farmers market. It was a lovely day, albeit a bit on the windy side.
I awoke this morning to read that a favorite TV Mom, actress Barbara Billingsley, had died at the age of 94.
Was there ever a Mom as perfectly coiffed and pulled together as Leave it to Beaver's June Cleaver?
If you answered yes, you're probably thinking of Jane Wyatt on Father Knows Best.
What was it about Fifties Moms that made them so easy to poke fun at? Was it because they were soft-spoken, subservient, and always flawless in a sheath dress and pearls? Or because they never held a job or yelled.
There were so many stylish Moms back then, from ghoulish-but-glamorous STAHM Lily Munster to sweet and sunny Donna Reed.
By the late-Sixties times were a-changin' and TV Moms were allowed a little more leeway -- but just a little. Moms were now widows (but never divorcees) raising children alone. Remember all those Whose life is harder episodes where the girls do the boys chores and vice-versa, or some reference is made to -- mercy! -- Women's Lib?
TV paid lip service to feminism, but Carol Brady, Shirley Partridge, and Doris Martin were always slim, perky, and stylish, and had lots of free time to spend with their kids.
By the late Seventies, America was ready to surrender the perfect Mom ideal.
Florida Evans had her hands full raising three kids in a Chicago housing project on Good Times. Actress Esther Rolle made Florida a real person and the lack of glamour was a welcome nod to reality.
Ann Romano seemed very real and truly liberated. But I always found One Day at a Time a little depressing, maybe because it felt a little too much like my life.
Marion Ross on Happy Days evoked the Fifties ideal, but Marion was more Seventies Mom in vintage clothes, a whole lot hipper and more outspoken than June Cleaver.
By the Nineties, we could no longer deny that Moms were often stressed-out, financially strapped, overweight, and strong. And they screamed a lot. Roseanne was a true game-changer and TV Moms were never the same.
We've pretty much been in meta-Mom territory ever since. It seems we can no longer buy the idealized TV-Mom thing. So we get cartoon parody Moms like Peg Bundy and Marge Simpson.
Wise readers, is there any important Mom I've missed?
Which of these Moms was your Mom most like (if any)? Were the Moms on TV only impossible ideals that made your life (or your Mom) seem miserable and dowdy by comparison?
If you are a Mom, do you model yourself after any of these women, either style-wise or in your approach to parenting?
Do they have anything to teach us?
Happy Sunday everybody!