Barbara Billingsley,94 – RIP

Barbara Billingsley, best know for her role as June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, 1957-1963, is no longer coming down to breakfast.  The June Cleaver character is a frequently, sometimes inaccurately, used symbol in media criticism of the shiny, oblivious, chavanistic suburban life invented for television in 1950s.  June was a housewife who wore pearls while vacuuming, doted on her husband and boys, and never cracked the binding on the Feminine Mystique.   It’s true that in the Cleaver’s town of Mayfield there was no racism (or black people), no McCarthyism, and no desire in women for life beyond the foyer.  On the other hand, Leave It To Beaver was a great show because it was actually funny, often deliberately absurd, and never a depiction as bland and idealized as people make it out to be.  Also, I suspect that part of the reason the 1950’s are so elevated in the conservative imagination, is because perfect suburban neighborhoods, bridge clubs, and women officing in the kitchen, for good or ill,  is a lot the way it was, or at least the way a myopic post-war American culture wanted things to be.

link:  Barbara Billingsley of \’Leave it to Beaver\’ fame dies – CNN.com.

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