Why did young American women in the 1960s get married early? Did their social background affect them or were there other factors?
In the 1960s the vast majority of American women got married before they were 21 and had their first child by the age of 23. To explain this trend, it is important to look at wider social values: for instance, half of American at this time believed that it was "selfish and peculiar" to not marry and have children at a young age. Why? In part, this attitude developed from the contemporary idea that getting married and having children was a sign of success; a sign of achieving the American Dream. The media played a key role in promoting this attitude: magazines, books and television programs were aimed at showing women how to date and how to get a husband. It was not until the dawn of the Sexual Revolution which changed these feminine ideals and left many women questioning the importance of their role in society, sexual equality and the importance of marriage and the nuclear family.