What was life like in post-1945 suburbia?What was life like in post-1945 suburbia?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Consider what made living in the suburbs possible:  The fact that we had developed a superhighway system by the 1950s that made commutes to work in the city cheaper and easier, and the fact that postwar America was fairly affluent (wealthy).  Never before had we considered home ownership a real possibility for most Americans.

I would also argue that while women largely stayed home and raised the children in those days, this was not completely involuntary, as society at that time perhaps placed more value on the role of mother and homemaker than they do today, and it was also not necessary at that time for each household to have two incomes, as they do now.  Economic reality was as responsible for changing women's roles in the home and workplace as much as feminism was, in my opinion.

Yes, most homes were cookie cutter designs, and the pressure to conform to society's expectations and materialism in those days was high, but I think most people living at the time would say that life was pretty good, especially when compared to the Depression and the war they had just been through.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As a history teacher, I do not approve of questions like this (not blaming you, blaming your book/teacher...).  I think that there is no way to generalize and say that life in all of suburbia was experienced in one particular way.

But never mind that.  The textbooks typically say something like this:

Life in suburbia was very plain vanilla and homogeneous.  All the people in the suburbs were essentially alike in terms of their race and their educational and economic status.  Because people lived with people just like them, their minds became more closed and they became more conformist.

It is also said that the suburbs were hard on women.  They were expected to stay at home and take care of the kids.  In contrast to the "old days" they did not have friends and family around them to help them take care of the kids and to give them a social life that would relieve the boredom of being a housewife.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think there are a lot of stereotypes about post-war suburbia. First of all, housing developments were springing up everywhere in the suburbs. Cookie-cutter houses with little manicured lawns come to mind when people think about this era. There were new technologies, as the above post mentioned, that made life easier for housewives.
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Life was easier after the war than it was before.  Modern conveniences such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators were available through installment plans, and women who spent time in their homes (as mentioned above) did not work as hard as their mothers did. 

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