Due to the idealization of domesticity in media, there was a significantly stagnant period of time for women’s rights between 1945 and 1959. Women took over the roles for men in the workplace who were fighting abroad during the early 1940s, and a strong, feminist movement rose in the 1960s. However, in between these time periods, there was a time in which women returned to the home, focusing their attention to taking care of the children and waiting on their husband’s every need. This was perpetuated due to the increasing popularity of media’s involvement in the lives of housewives, such as the increasing sales of televisions and the increase in the number of sexist toys.
During America’s involvement in World War Two, which spanned from 1941 until 1945, many men went off to fight overseas. This left a gap in the defense plants that built wartime materials, such as tanks and other machines for battle. As a result, women began to enter the workforce at astonishing rates, filling the roles left behind by the men. As stated by Cynthia Harrison, “By March of , almost one-third of all women over the age of fourteen were in the labor force, and the numbers of women in industry had increased almost 500 percent. For the first time in history, women were in the exact same place as their male counterparts had been, even working the same jobs. The women were not dependent upon men, as the men were overseas and far from influence upon their wives.
However, when the war was over, and the men returned to their lives, society reverted back to as it had been not before the 1940s, but well before the 1900s. Women were expected to do nothing but please their husband. Women were not meant to have jobs or worry about anything that was occurring outside of their own household. Their sole purpose in existing was to take care of the things that were deemed by society as ‘women’s work’, which was taking care of the home, the children, and being ready and their husband’s every wish. As stated by Betty Friedan, “Millions of women lived their lives in the image of those pretty pictures of the American suburban housewife… Their only dream was to be perfect wives and mothers; their highest ambition to have five children and a beautiful house, their only fight to get and keep their husbands.” Women were often home alone, when the children left for school and her husband for work, leaving them time to watch television, listen to the radio, and read magazines when they were working around the house.
Televisions, as they became less expensive, became a staple in American homes, and forwarded the sexist idea that women were not entitled to jobs. The TV was now within the pay range of the middle class, so hundreds of thousands of TVs were purchased by families, in order to conform to the ‘rest of society’. As stated by Eugenia Kaledin, “By 1956, Americans were buying 20,000 TVs a day, and there were more than 500 stations.” In the 1950s, new television shows began, such...