Answer: Only one; so long as she can bat her eyes and smile
while asking a man to do it.
Now, before you get your Victoria Secret panties or fishnet
stockings in a wad, it is a joke.
Times have changed and "we've come a long way, baby" as the
Virginia Slims ad proclaimed. Now there was a sign of women's
liberation - we got our own brand of cancer sticks!
I work in business development for a large regional CPA firm. We
have over 400 employees in four states with offices in eight
cities. I worked at this same firm 20 years ago as a secretary -
the only non-CPA jobs for women at that time. I left after five
years because I wanted more of a career. Today, we have females in
every position in the firm including shareholders. In fact, I have
been told we women outnumber the men.
It may seem like it was light years since women were still bound
to the kitchen and without their so-called liberation rights. But
for us Boomers, it was in our lifetime. One only need look at the
role models girls were offered in the television shows of our
It seems Andy Griffith is syndicated on almost every channel
available, so it is not uncommon for me to catch an episode -
though I will turn the channel if it is in color. Those were
recorded after the show "jumped the shark."
Today, Aunt Bee would be commuting to Mount Pilot every day for
work and picking up take-out on the way home for dinner. She would
be making enough money to hire a housekeeper and use a laundry
service. One night a week she would send Andy and Opie to the diner
and a movie so she could have the place to herself to entertain a
gentleman caller. She'd also have Andy set up with a profile on
Match.com to try to get him married off.
On the other hand, Helen Crump was a career woman. I recently
caught an episode where she and Andy discussed the possibility of
marriage. Helen explained to Andy that she loved being a teacher
and she wasn't ready to give it all up to become a wife.
There was Aunt Bee's chance to be free, but Helen was too much
of a libber to forego her career for a man.
The Beverly Hillbillies offered an array of female personalities
beginning with the beautiful, sexy Ellie May. The epitome of a
blond bombshell, Ellie May could have gotten light bulbs changed,
drains unclogged, lawns mowed and any other household chore done
with the snap of a finger. She perfected the art of batting the
eyes and smiling demurely.
On the other hand, Miss Hathaway was intelligent, witty and
extremely capable albeit the epitome of a Plain Jane. She was in
awe of Jethro, brawny but brainless. Today Miss Jane would treat
herself to a complete makeover and have Jethro eating out of her
hand. She would also usurp Mr. Drysdale, taking over his job and
The best role model on the show was obviously granny. She
thought for herself, dug in her heels and fought for her principles
and she didn't take crap from anyone. She also enjoyed a cigar like
the big boys.
Donna Reed was a doctor's wife, so she probably had financial
security. Today, she may have chosen to get her own medical degree
and gone into practice with Jeff. In any event, she would not be
vacuuming and baking in a dress and pearls as we often saw her.
Perhaps she would have hired Hazel to run the house.
Of course Hazel was busy keeping Mr. B and his family straight.
The Baxter's treated Hazel as if she were a part of the family.
Mrs. Baxter also had a career as an interior decorator - a fine
role model for a show that aired in the early 60's. Though Hazel
was a live-in housekeeper and nanny to "Sport," she still found
time to date Barney the postman and be on a bowling league.
Lucy and Ethel were great at scheming and pulling off hysterical
capers, but in the end they always kowtowed to Ricky and Fred. They
treated the boys as if they were king of the castle and left the
major decisions up to them.
Today, those girls would not have been bumbling at the candy
factory, incapable of working outside the home. Instead they would
have started up their own business venture. They were both crafty
and adventurous and probably would have become the breadwinners
making more money than a musician and a landlord.
Boomer generation women have seen the gamut. My grandmother
raised the kids, kept the house, cooked the meals and practically
worked full-time supporting my grandfather in his work. My mom,
single with three girls, juggled full-time work and household
management. My daughters both go after what they want without
thinking twice - careers, homes, families, social lives - the sky
appears to be the limit.
Are women better off today than we were 50 years ago?
It all depends on your perspective. There are many things I love
about my life - my job, my freedom, the flexibility in my schedule
and the confidence to say what I want, when I want, to whom I
But there are those times I wish I had someone else to change
the light bulb.