As a woman in the 1950s, how would you feel about the stereotype of the wife and mother on popular television shows?
1950 is a crucial period in US history. It represents a period after two tumultuous decades that included bitter hardships of the Depression and the upheavals of the World War II. It was the time when many Americans looked forward to a state of normalcy and calm. Many soldiers wanted nothing more than to settle down and start a family. It is the time when the rate of procreation was highest and it sparked what became known as the “baby boom”. The American popular culture portrayed the 1950s as a golden era of old-fashioned gender norms when women were real women and fathers knew best. More often than not, the women shown in work settings on television rarely engaged in meaningful activities. Instead, their shows were set at some workplace or they were in the kitchen. They remained occupationally segregated in the American labor force. They were portrayed in various media genres in distorted or stereotypic sexist roles. There was neither mention of female upward mobility nor any pretense of movement toward equality. In fact, the media stressed on dependency and sexual inequality.
Personally, I wouldn’t support the way women were depicted in the popular media. I believe that the popular media was blinding the society into accepting the fact that women and wives had no other role to play apart from doing household chores. Popular media, according to my analysis, was biased and gender insensitive. Even though the 1950s was the time when people were returning to normalcy and calm, it is clear that only men could enjoy the period. Instead of sharing household chores, the women were burdened alone. Instead of enjoying the normalcy and good times, women were experiencing deepening discontent.
Although the media considered or depicted them as “real women” I think this should not have been the case. This is because most mothers and wives, deep in their heart, were not happy. Most of them found the home life constraining and were longing for a life that would be more meaningful and fulfilling. Housewifery, according to document 27-1 in the chapter entitled The Politics and Culture of Abundance, is a complex housekeeping, household management, housework and childcare. Some of its elements, such as budgeting, dietetics, and above all, the proper upbringing of children, involve the higher brain centers and hence home economics can be equated to engineering .I believe that the way women and wives were depicted did not reflect what they like. Although the media depict them as real wives, they seem to be so lost and so unsatisfied. The isolation in the home thwarted women career ambitions and intellectual stagnation. I blame the media that was controlled by men for placing women in situation which was against their will and trying to convince the society that that was where the women belong.
Attacks the Domestic Bondage of Women. Chapter 27: The Politics and Culture of Abundance 1952-1960.
Cold War Politics in the Truman Years. Chapter 26
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