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American society in the 1950's was primarily a conforming society, largely formed by the latent Red Scare which was part of the Cold War. The 1950's were an age of economic boom, as the post war economic surge brought prosperity. It was the age of the credit card and television.
Part of the 1050's culture was a submissive attitude toward teenagers and the development of a uniquely teenaged culture. Parents did not wish for their children to experience the deprivation they themselves had suffered during the war years, and as a result tended to be permissive. Teenagers were freed to a large extent as many of them began driving automobiles. An entire culture surrounding teenagers and automobiles--such as the drive-in theater or restaurant--soon developed. Every teenager was a fan of Pat Boone and of course Elvis Presley.
Domestically, the husband was supposed to be the breadwinner and the wife was to stay at home and raise the children. Life Magazine once described the "ideal" housewife as:
A 32 year old mother of four, who had married at sixteen, an excellent mother, volunteer, and home manager who made her own clothes, hosted dinner parties, sang in the church choir, worked with the school PTA and Campfire Girls, and was devoted to her husband. She attends club or charity meetings, drives the children to school, does the weekly grocery shopping, makes ceramics, and is planning to study French.
Church membership was extremely important in the 50's, primarily as a response to the perception of communism as "godless." President Dwight Eisenhower commented that:
Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, most basic, expression of Americanism. Without God, there could be no American form of government nor an American way of life.
Even dress was a matter of conformity with young men wearing matching shirts and socks and young ladies socks and skirts below the knee. Those who did not conform were treated with some degree of suspicion, if not downright distrust.
to me it was basically leave it to beaver land. wifes cooked and cleaned husbands worked.
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