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Women's 1950's Roles

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Throughout history, the extent of authority that rightfully belongs to women has served a controversial topic among Americans from coast to coast. Just when America began feeling the stabilization of the economy after recovering from the depression, it soon endured another significant change. With the World War II draft in progress, thousands of men would soon leave the workplace and with the nation at war, millions of dollars would now become part of the war effort. During World War II, women were employed in large numbers in factory jobs to replace men in the military. The intent, however, was for women to return to traditional pursuits after the war ended and men returned home. When it finally did end, there was a significant drop in female workforce participation and the roles of women became strained for most of the 1950s. Women's' positions in post war America were being propelled out of the workplace and domesticated as attributable to the influence of pop culture and propaganda, the economic change within the post war society, and the ever-increasing baby boom. Nevertheless the growing reality that the idyllic nuclear family was virtually unattainable had surfaced. During World War II, women transitioned from the traditional role of simply the caregiver of the home to both the caregiver and provider. ...read more.


After years of gaining acceptance in the workforce, being told it was a women's duty to return home was extremely difficult. World War II and the introduction of Rosie the Riveter provided an opportunity for women to participate. When the war ended and employers began to reestablish gender roles and discrimination in the workplace, the development of the 1950's nuclear family was viewed as a justification to emphasize the "proper role" for women. Soon stereotypes of the idealistic "Good Wife," were portrayed through popular television programs such as Leave it to Beaver, June Cleaver. Every man strived to find the "all American wife," in a woman. Popular Culture coerced people into thinking that the American dream lifestyle was always attainable. Hollywood introduced these television shows in order to portray what a good family should consist of: a mother and father parenting children while living in suburbia. These fictional families provided positive role models for parents as well as their children. The newfound idea of waiting on the husband hand and foot trapped the "all-American" women within the home. The only This made the situation seem that much more oppressive and restrained woman from gaining any form of individualism whatsoever. (The Good Wife's Guide). ...read more.


With the sudden rise in spirit and the economy, many Americans started families. With American soldiers returning home, women became known for breeding. With birth rates sky rocketing, the post-war era became known as the baby boom. Interestingly, so many children were born between the years 1946 and 1960 that today, a baby boomer turns 50 every 7 seconds. ( United States History - The Postwar Economy: 1945-1960). For many wives, this was just a further handicap on dreams and aspirations. Although, they dreamed of families, this was only furthered the reality that they would never amount to anything other than a mother and housewife. The baby boom was a time of social growth and expansion however it only ambushed the housewife and magnified their submissive role. Post-war America was characterized by the loss of reputability for women nationwide. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and consequently America's intervention into the war, women finally began to see rightful treatment in the work force. With fathers, husbands, and sons overseas serving the country, women had the responsibility of stepping in to take over. But to their discontent, female positions were thrust aside once men returned home. Women had been given a taste of impartiality, therein lying the inception of the ever continuing struggle for gender equality. ...read more.

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