A Changing Society
As time goes by change is almost inevitable among a nation. Change has occurred throughout history due to specific events that have a ripple effect upon individuals. Whether the change is a result of advancing technology, social reform, or foreign influence there is little chance of preventing the effect it will have on society. After World War II and the return of soldiers to their families there was a belief that the American society had fallen into a routine of bland conformity. Under Eisenhower ,during the 1950s, there was a belief that life had taken on a role of security and stability. The home was believed to be a safe haven due to the turbulence of the last two decades. The treat of communism encouraged people to stay home and become the ideal family. This ideal family was one that was characterized by the traditional gender roles of the wife raising the kids and the husband making the money. This was an idea of domesticity that was put upon society by itself. This idea of domesticity was considered the ideal suburban lifestyle of which all families were judged by. This ideal lifestyle was just that "an ideal", beneath this dream family lay reality. The 1950s is not a decade of simplicity and blandness as everyone is led on to believe, but instead it was a time of constant change and rebellion.
During the 1950s economic growth was prospering and growing. With higher employment and incomes, people were spending more money. Due to this increase in spending stores began offer credit cards, which soon led to increased debt among Americans. By the 1960s over 10 million people owned credit cards, bringing the private debt from $73 billion to $200 billion in ten years.(Present Tense 111) The increase in spending led to the expansion of businesses across the nation. Products such as plastics, drugs, fast food chains, and retail stores began to prosper. While traditional products like iron, steel, and textiles were shrinking in size due to lack of need. Technological advances were causing people to buy the new and throw out the old. This led to a decline in large scale manufacturing, and an increase in retail and service position jobs.(Present Tense 112)
There was a superficial belief that during the 1950s the family was this perfect entity that was founded on traditional gender roles. This belief was enforced through television shows, newspapers, religious leaders, and school. Television shows, such as, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, and The Waltons, all depicted this perfect image of the household wife and working father. This was a distorted vision of reality because it did not deal with everyday problems that the typical family would encounter. Yet the family strived to fulfill this belief of the traditional American family. Since this image was engrained in many women, they began having more children and were marrying younger. During this period there was a baby boom that continued...