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Women during the 1950s and 1960s

 After World War II, many women left the defense industries and resumed their lives at home or they proceeded to take jobs that were considered more feminine.  Although a new “cult of domesticity” emerged in the 1950s, women continued to play an important role as consumers in society.  Many advertisers understood that women were the primary consumers for a variety of different products, thus consumption was empowering.  However, this ‘cult of domesticity’ was stifling for many women, and the conforming culture of the 1950s led Betty Friedan to begin to question women’s roles in society, and her book, The Feminine Mystique, would galvanize the second wave feminist movement of the 1960s. 

As you look through the various advertisements, quotes, or documents, compare and contrast women’s roles during the 1950s to women’s roles in the 1960s.  Do you believe consumption power in the 1950s led many women to feel a sense of political and social empowerment in the 1960s?  How does the “cult of domesticity” of the 1950s impact minorities?  How is the women’s movement of the 1960s influenced by other social movements? 

The following primary sources are from http://caho-test.cc.columbia.edu/dbq/11102.html#D

Primary source: New York Radical Women, “No More Miss America!,” manifesto, 1968.
Background information: One of the targets of feminists in the 1960s was the Miss America Pageant, which some perceived as celebrating a stereotypical view of women. Members of New York Radical Women, a feminist group, protested outside the pageant in 1968

On September 7th [1968] in Atlantic City, the Annual Miss America Pageant will again crown “your ideal.” But this year, reality will liberate the contest auction-block in the guise of “genyooine” de-plasticized, breathing women. Women’s Liberation Groups, black women, high-school and college women, women’s peace groups, women’s welfare and social-work groups, women’s job-equality groups, pro-birth control and pro-abortion groups—women of every political persuasion—all are invited to join us…. We will protest the image of Miss America, an image that oppresses women in every area in which it purports to represent us….

New York Radical Women, “No More Miss America!” reprinted in The Times Were a Changin’: The Sixties Reader, ed. Irwin Unger and Debi Unger (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998), 213. Full text of the manifesto is available online at the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, http://www.cwluherstory.com/CWLUArchive/miss.html.

Women in SNCC
Primary source: Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Women in the Movement, position paper, 1964.
Background information: The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) played a prominent role in the civil-rights movement. While many women were active in SNCC, some objected that they were being denied leadership positions.

  1. Staff was involved in crucial constitutional revisions at the Atlanta staff meeting in October. A large committee was appointed to present revisions to the staff. The committee was all men.
  2. Two organizers were working together to form a farmers league. Without asking any questions, the male organizer immediately assigned the clerical work to the female organizer although both had had equal experience in organizing campaigns.
  3. Although there are some women in Mississippi project who have been working as long as some of the men, the leadership group in COFO is all men.
  4. A woman in a field office wondered why she was held responsible for day to day decisions, only to find out later that she had been appointed project director but not told.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Position Paper: Women in the Movement (November 1964), reprinted in Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (New York: Vintage, 1980), 233–35.

The following document is an excerpt from Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, which was published in 1963.  Betty Friedan helped to form the National Organization for Women (NOW), and she worked hard to get an Equal Rights Amendment, which was not ratified by enough states to be added to the Constitution. 

The suburban housewife—she was the dream image of the young American women and the envy, it was said, of women all over the world. The American housewife—freed by science and labor-saving appliances from the drudgery, the dangers of childbirth and the illnesses of her grandmother. She was healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home. She had found true feminine fulfillment. As a housewife and mother, she was respected as a full and equal partner to man in his world. She was free to choose automobiles, clothes, appliances, supermarkets; she had everything that women ever dreamed of.

In the fifteen years after World War II, this mystique of feminine fulfillment became the cherished and self-perpetuating core of contemporary American culture. Millions of women lived their lives in the image of those pretty pictures of the American suburban housewife, kissing their husbands goodbye in front of the picture window, depositing their stationwagonsful of children at school, and smiling as they ran the new electric waxer over the spotless kitchen floor. They baked their own bread, sewed their own and their children’s clothes, kept their new washing machines and dryers running all day. They changed the sheets on the beds twice a week instead of once, took the rug-hooking class in adult education, and pitied their poor frustrated mothers, who had dreamed of having a career. 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. They had no thought for the unfeminine problems of the world outside the home; they wanted the men to make the major decisions. They gloried in their role as women, and wrote proudly on the census blank: “Occupation: housewife.”…

61 Responses to “Women during the 1950s and 1960s”

  1.   SamuelMenasie3rdPeriod Says:

    During the 1950s, women left their World War II industrial roles to return to the “cult of domesticity.” They were now consumers in the market and the food, cleaning, and cosmetic industries targeted them specifically to look good to keep their husbands while being able to have dinner ready quickly in their clean homes. This commercial strategy can be related to today’s times in that the same types of advertisements(make-up,cleaning products,food) are targeting the same group, women. This advertising expanded in teenagers the same way from Elvis to present times. Also, education played a key role in that it was expected that as a child, one went to school to go on to have at least a high school education. Gaining a nice house and many kids was the ultimate goal and in a sense, a symbol of wealth. During the 1960s, this ideal seemed to change a bit. A prime example of this change would be the opposition to the Miss America pagent that many women thought that it painted a wrong picture of what the ideal woman was supposed to be by using beauty as a basis for that judgement. In Civil Rights groups like SNCC, women were mistreated in that they were not given positions of influence due to their gender, even though they had endured the same if not more hardship and organizational tenure than the men. Also, figures like Betty Frieden emerged in support of equal rights for women and the idea of an educated woman who could still be beautiful and be able to take on the motherly role.

  2.   Jack Thorpe Says:

    The 1950s was definitely a time of complacency, especially for the culture of women. The 1950’s “cult of domesticity” stemmed from the return from WWII and the need for women to be replaced within society. As the men of America fought oversees, women took over a lot of the workforce as happened in all previous wars, but this generation of soldiers and women reacted differently, and the rise of advertising, movies, radio, and television allowed for women to become domestic goddesses with dreams and role models of practical lives. However, these repressively idealistic thoughts led to the new wave of women’s rights in the 1960s causing events such as the Miss America Protest by the New York Radical Women. This activist group brought together all kinds of women to bring down the ideas that women had to look and act a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique aimed for similar goals as she paints a picture of a wife going about her day while doing things that almost seem pointless or unnecessary. This new wave of women allowed for the freedom that women have gained and have today.

  3.   EmancioMontgomery1 Says:

    “The cult.of domesticity” was the return of womens culture to what was considered a more feminine life and they returned to what was considered womens work. However, this wasnt true for all the women in the US. Businesses used this to their advantage and began targeting them as the main consumer. So they put out ads about cleaning products, food, and even beauty products in order to lure them in. Because of new innovations in technology, women wanted new firnature and appliances for their homes. These items were obtained easily because of the economic growth that was brought about during and after WWII. Ads came through the television showing women as the perfect housewives using various items and the women in America strove to be like them. However, in the 1960s women began to stand up more for their rights instead of continuing their practical housewife lives. Betty Freidan’s “Feminine Mystique” brings the issue of a woman’s everyday life to light and this promoted women to seek liberation for their politic rights as opposed to the social liberation they sought before after WWI.

  4.   Hank Cohen 3 Says:

    After World War II, the average income of a family began to increase dramatically. Families enjoyed a higher income, and thus spent more to make their lives easier and better. Women gained more independence with finances in the 1950s, which very well could have led them to desire more political power as well. As shown in the pictures, marketers targeted women and their needs more than before because of the spending that women now enjoyed. In the 1950s, the stereotypical housewife as described by Betty Friedan (whose book, The Feminist Mystique, helped lead another feminist movement) was one that lived to please her husband and care for the kids while also taking care of chores around the house. And as Samuel pointed out, a nice house and many kids was the image that every woman wanted to be like. The 1950s was an era of conformity where typical women sought to imitate women in advertisements and to be the same as other families. Television created and perpetuated these stereotypes through shows such as Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. But in the 1960s, women began to feel as though they were being discriminated against, as many began to wish not to be a typical housewife. The general sense of social unrest in the 1960s, as the civil rights and peace movements grew, began to shatter the stereotypical image of the suburban family and brought women’s desires for political, social, and employment equality to the forefront. In the SNCC, while pressing for more civil rights for blacks, women were also looking for rights to be leaders. Some in the SNCC became angry when women were overlooked for leadership roles in the organization. Likewise, toward the late 1960s, an uprising began to form against the image of women as portrayed by the Miss America Pageant. Some women felt that all types of women were being discriminated against by the suggestion that all women should look like those in the pageant. However, the assertion by the New York Radical Women that “women of every political persuasion – all are invited to join us. . . ” is untrue. They are inviting only women who are seeking change to the status quo, not women who continue to want to embrace the earlier “ideal.” This time period was one of radical confrontation between existing situations and new ideas for many groups, including women.

  5.   Bhargav Patel Says:

    The period following the war was filled with women leaving the work force and returning back to their kitchens. Despite being the dominant trend, many remained in the workforce. Women also became a major players in consumerism as business recognized the profit potential of products such as perfumes and tv dinners which led to massive advertising campaigns. Women also became more involved in society and also the civil rights movement as there were many members in the SNCC. Womens activists like Betty Freiden helped further the equal rights movement through groups such as NOW among others. The period was also an time of conformity and as many realized it protests emerged such as those at the Miss America Pageant. This period was significant as it brought about many changes for women and they began to become more equal in the views of society because of their increased involvement in the affairs of society rather than housewives.

  6.   Regan Jolley 2nd Says:

    During the 1950’s the housewife image was ideal for society. Women were expected to behave a certain way, cooking and cleaning for the family, and buying products from the market to achieve this status of the “perfect woman.” Friedan addresses this in Feminine Mystique. She mockingly praises the image of the American woman at the time. These ideas were later cultivated in the feminist movement of the 1960’s. In the “No More Miss America!” manifesto, the “ideal” woman is criticized as fake and advocates the role model of a true, every day woman. They felt that their role in consumerism during the 1950’s gave women grounds and power in society because they had contributed very much to it. This feminist movement occurred along with the Civil Rights movement. This was helpful in that it was a time in which all of the equal rights issues could be re-evaluated at the time and women took advantage of that.

  7.   Nicole Riley_1st Says:

    The rise of the Cold War created a rise of a second Red Scare in America. The ride of this Red Scare created assimilation in American society. One of the assimilations that occurred was in the female group. Women began a cult of domesticity, in which they went back to their homes and lived their socialite lives. Society created an expected view in which if one did not follow, they would be accused of being a communist. The expected view of women was to be the perfect housewife: perfectly dressed, prefect mother, educated, etc. according to Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. While most women joined the cult of domesticity to avoid the communist critiques, some women chose to defy society’s opinion and continue the Rosie the Riveter. Like Emancio mentions, television aided in homogenizing American society with the rise of commercials and Hollywood’s presentation of people such as women. The ads in the first document also are examples of the presentation of women as an important part of the cult. While some women refused to join the cult of domesticity, most women joined the cult in order to survive in the judgmental times of the Cold War and survive through the tough times of the previous decades.

  8.   Mandy Good 2 Says:

    It seems that during the 1950s and 60s, women made another, smaller step backwards in progress. They fell back into the role of housewife, leaving the defense jobs that no longer existed. Many however moved on to more “feminine” jobs, and thus saved the women’s rights movement from failure. Women now had enjoyed the right to vote for a generation, and were well satisfied with their position in society. Women were happy to serve their families, and did so to the best of their abilities. With the introduction of television, women were often subjected to advertising, and more often than not specifically targeted. They had thrown at them the latest hair care products, ovens, toasters; all things to make their housework, and thus life, easier.

  9.   Lauren_Clay2 Says:

    Women’s roles began to change greatly following World War II. In the 1950s a “cult of domesticity” emerged and ideal occupations were traditional housekeeping and raising a family. Birthrates were skyrocketing to unprecedented levels, and the amount of wives and mothers increased greatly. At this time women were still entering the workplace. Because of the influx of women to the workplace during the war, many women continued to return to the factories and untypical jobs. Women took these factory jobs and were by no means treated equally. This was one proponent of the feminist movement of the 1960s. With increased female workers, there were more strong advocates for the female cause. The feminist movement of the 1960’s caused a change in female occupation. There was national protest of the “American housewife” as evident by the protests of the Miss America pageant. Especially members of the New York Radical Women were against the portrayal of the fake, touched up, unrealistic American girl. Their views are very similar to view on pageants today I believe. Most people feel that the pageant girls are false perceptions of women. The Miss America Organization is working hard to change that belief, but the protest is still very prominent. Betty Freidman, a major advocate for women’s rights, worked hard with the NOW to ratify the constitution. Women like Betty were supported by a new era of empowered women. Stepping away from subservience these women were America’s consumers beginning in the 1960s and continuing until today. Women were the targets of most advertisements, and this made them feel powerful and able to stand for what they believed. The feminist movement was just one organization in the 1960s. Peace movements, rebellions, and alienation movements fought alongside the feminist movement. Needless to say they all supported each other by rebelling against the government or perceived society. The 1960s was the era where the government was the most far removed from the people.

  10.   Evan Avers 2nd Says:

    Consumerism is a powerful thing. To be considered a target consumer is an empowering position. During the 1950′s, industries began to try to appeal to women for the various products that they were trying to sell. After World War II, women retreated back into the domestic sphere as house wives, despite the advances that were made for the cause of women’s rights during World War II. However, women were the “managers” of the domestic life of the traditional American family, and, since a majority of new products during the 1950′s were created for the household, it made perfect sense for advertisement companies to work to appeal to women. This granted women much more of focus than they had possesed before World War II. However, this idea of a woman’s place being in the home was very controversial and many women did not approve of it. This would inevitably lead to the second wave feminist movement in the 1960′s including such things as the Miss America Pagent protests. As Jack Thorpe pointed out, their goal was to tear down the traditional view that a woman should look and act a certain way to be considered beautiful. These protests had a profound impact on American society and worked to significantly weaken the inequality of women in American society.

  11.   Olwine_1st Says:

    As Emancio Montgomery said, the “cult of domesticity” was the return of American women to the home and domestic jobs after the end of the war. They desired a return to what was considered the “proper” role for women. Businesses began to see the value of women as consumers and advertising became increasingly aimed at women,the main consumers of America. This can be seen from the two documents above. Women were driven to purchase furniture, appliances and cosmetics because of the new advertising. This, combined with the return to a socialite life, created the image of women in the fifties. The Sixties were different. Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, changed women’s views on their role in society. The protest of the Miss America Pageant shows the contrast in views. The 1950s were a time when looks were crucial and cosmetics were sold to women quite rapidly. The protest of the Miss America Pageant in the 1960s, however, was fighting against “ideal” and insinuatingly plasticized and fake women.

  12.   Jessica Barton- 2nd Says:

    The 1950s and 1960s was overpowered by the “cult of domesticity.” Women everywhere were seeing advertisements about being the perfect housewife that performed tasks such as cooking, cleaning, raising the children, being educated, and only caring for their family and home. Many women went for this dream and achieved it. However, many minorities were against the cult of domesticity claiming that it weakened the female gender and made it harder for them to gain equal rights in society. One example of the minorities attacking the “cult of domesticity” was the riot against the Miss America Pageant. This pageant crowned a winner that was viewed as the perfect woman for America. She was everything a housewife and subservient woman should be during this time. The minority groups were upset that this kind of woman was being chosen as Miss America and wanted to have the pageant canceled unless the woman chosen was a normal, hard-working American citizen like they were trying to push onto society instead of the average housewife. Many women of the time did not know what to believe. They were tempted with the ads selling quick dinners and makeup and the known protests against such products as to how to live their lives.

  13.   JordanMcGhee2 Says:

    During the 50s, the term “trophy wife” became the archetype of women. A woman was meant to cook, clean, and care for her children. Occasionally, the wife was allowed to leave the house and “treat” herself with going to shop for makeup or other frivolous supplies to improve her appearance for her husband. However, as the 60s came around, these beliefs of how a woman was supposed to act and appear were used as the main argument in the feminist movement. The idea of the ideal woman was criticized. The only aspect of the trophy wife that the feminists took pride in was the role those women played in the economy of the 50s. As Regan said, the feminists felt that their role in consumerism during the 1950’s gave women grounds and power in society because they had contributed very much to it. Due to their role in consumerism, their efforts for women’s rights were even more powerful and played a key role in the movement.

  14.   Julie Pan Says:

    Women remained to be major consumers in the economy even after World War II. The economic boom that resulted from the war enabled women to become more financially capable of spending. With women returing to the “cult of domesticity” after the war, the cosmetics, furniture, food, and cleaning industry became more prosperous. Stereotypes of women being responsible of only taking care of their children and their husband and managing their household returned. TV shows, books, and advertisements shaped the complacent society of the 1950s and influenced women to willingly except their stereotypical roles. However, women began to want change in the 1960s. In the Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan reminded women of the positions and power that they are capable of holding outside of their households. Many women began to object to the fake, commercialized image of women formed in the 1950s in protests such as the one against the Miss American Pageant. Influenced by all the racial unrest, women became more aggressive in fighting for political power. In some organizations such as the SNCC, women competed for leadership roles. More and more women participated in the feminist movement for more rights. As Hank said, the 1950s and the 1960s was a period in which the conformist views of society clashed with the new, independent ideals.

  15.   Briel Power 3rd Says:

    The 1950s is a decade well known for its ticky-tacky little houses, conformity, suburban bliss, and mere complacency. The women of this period were caught up in the expectations of the cult of domesticity; every good little housewife knew her duties, leaving the rest of the decisions and worries and responsibilities of life outside her ticky-tacky little home to her husband. Advertisements targeting women, first becoming popular to rally the cause in WWII, became commonplace as women took the place in the home as the major consumers. One could even argue that the responsibilities of buying for the home propelled women into the second wave of feminism in the 1960s, a decade far from the complacency that preceeded it. As Evan said, to be considered a target sonsumer is a very powerful position. Whether for that reason or as an outburst against domesticity, women of the 60s began to question their roles in the house and far beyond. Outrage against the 1968 Miss America pageant was the basis for the movement across the country: protesters argued that the pageant encouraged impossible expectations of beauty, and many said that it was rascist, for there had never been a black Miss America. Many activists also oppossed Vietnam War and proclaimed that the pageant supported it by sending the Miss America winner over to Vietnam to entertain the troops. This in itself is indicitive of the unrest at the time: the former ambition of the 50s to only please and be beautiful for their husbands was questioned, replaced by a new resolve for social independence and true equality. SNCC suffered through social inequalities for women, even as it strove to fight for justice for inequalitites for blacks. It seemed that America was not ready for such a drastic change, but women would not give up the fight, as Betty Friedan proved in Feminine Mystique and her avid support of the Equal Rights Amendment. As the age of bra burning and feminine rights, the 1960s stand out in stark contrast to the complacency of the former decade.

  16.   Miah マイア Harris-1st Says:

    One of the reasons women joined organizations like SNCC was to gain the respect of society and end their oppression. And yet women are discriminated against in organizations that are supposed to be for the betterment of society. However ironic such treatment of women in the SNCC may be, the SNCC still provide many young women with opportunities. Women in the SNCC also helped initiate the second wave of feminism in the 1960s. As Lauren Clay said, women’s roles were beginning to change after WWII and the unequal treatment of women in the workforce only fueled the feminist movement even more. Plus the fact that women were oppressed in the SNCC only gave more power to women because it gave them reason to protest more.

  17.   MelanieChandler3 Says:

    Julie mentioned that in the 1950s, women grew more discontented with society’s view of them and displayed this discontent in protests such as the one against the Miss America Pageant. I believe that the Miss America Pageant’s response to this was more telling than any advertisement or magazine of the day. The pageant, that year, would accept ANYONE. America would not be “represented” by a life-sized Barbie doll with a spotless home and the newest kitchen appliance, but by a real American woman who stood up for what she believed in and did not conform to society’s standards. Even black women were “invited” to take part, a fact almost unheard of in any organization before. Of course, all this emphasis on “real” women half a century ago seems to have disappeared from the same level of importance. Looking at the current Miss America Pageants, the winners are once again the “perfect” women that Jordan refers to as “trophy wives”. Where has the movement gone that worked towards the liberation of women from the bonds of societal standards? women in the 1950s worked hard to be recognized as hardworking individuals with a say in what happened to them or their families. Somewhere in the last fifty years this drive was lost. America seems to cycle from a “liberated” view of strong women to a more restrictive view that places women in a cult of domesticity. Either way, women are treated as society views them- no matter the value of an individual.

  18.   Courtney Ross 2nd Says:

    The !950′s was a time of conformity for women and the pressure to fit in with society. While the men were off at war, the women had to step up and fill their place in their community. However, when the men returned home, more things than women’s roles were changing at home; the media, radio, television, and other industries were changing as well. These sources provided a role-model type image for them to play at home. However, groups such as the New York Radical Women wanted to defy the pressure to conform and wanted to allow freedom. By banding together, they were able to break down the idea that America’s ‘woman’ had to be a certain person with certain qualities. Others such as Betty Freidman challenged society’s view of women in other ways, and together the females of the 1950′s and 60′s were able to not only secure social freedom for themselves, but for generations to come.

  19.   Austin_Hilliard1 Says:

    In the 1950′s, women conformed to styles set by the media, much the same as it is today. As shown in the first document, consumerism found a new method of marketing which was to target specifically women with their products. This opened up an entirely new market and it became very popular to be “conformists.” However, the women’s social rights movement of the 1960′s served as a backlash to this era as people protested the manifestation of women in society and demanded equal working and schooling rights. Women were tired of the housewife view of them.

  20.   Shannon Alexander 1st Says:

    After World War II, many men returned to the United States and required work. Women returned home to take up their domestic role that they had had preceding the war. Although they were no longer the producing work force, they were still a primary consumption targets. The TV dinner advertisement was appealing to mothers who were too busy to cook. A simple invention like this liberated women greatly. They now had much more time on their hands to keep up with the social activities of the time. The popularity of the television was soaring during this time. This provided another source of ideas about how to be the ideal suburban family. Shows like “I Remember Mama” and “The Goldbergs” reflected the stereotypical suburban family. According to Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, the new advertised role of women was the suburban housewife. This role was advertised to the point of bringing on the “cult of domesticity.” The new advertised trend was to go back to before World War II, before women had as much independence. The media continues to show its great influence. The advertisement for Creme Puff make-up promises to uphold its word: users will look lovelier upon using this product. Although this is the direction that the media was leading women, many women still wanted the same rights given to them during World War II. Many women expressed their discontent during the 1960s through the Miss America Pageant.They argued that the women presented in this pageant did not appropriately reflect the advancement of rights for the modern woman. It is instead offensive and oppresses the very women it attempts to portray. Like Maria stated, this provided a sharp contrast to the importance of beauty and cosmetics in the 1950s. In the SNCC, women wanted to take leadership roles. When denied of these positions, women got angry and looked for change. The 1950s and 1960s provided a period of decision of position on the issue of women’s rights. Women had already had a taste of liberation and the real meaning of rights during World War II. Women had no intention of giving up their newfound rights.

  21.   Nick Ali 2nd Says:

    After world war II the men returned home and went back to their old jobs. Women were pushed out of their jobs and went back to the home life but during the 50s and 60s women question their role in society. Women wanted equal pay and job opportunities. They fought for voting and civil rights also. Women also formed liberation groups to help better themselves in society.

  22.   Felipe Says:

    After the second great war the troops started to come back from the devastating war that was the second great world war. Due to the withdrawal of the troops and the return of the men back into the workforce women where being again pushed back into the housewife ficture they had been setup as before the war. Due to the contribution that the women played during the war many women activists used this pivotal time period whrre woemns role was just as important for the country as men to push for their own rights. Voting and equality acts would help strengthen womens role in the community and as a more influential figure in the politcal area as now politicians had to give a certain piece of their new campaign to the ever ammasing women voter that drasticly climbed. Cosumerism played a huge role as women where seen as targets for advertisement for tv mass a massive advertisement machine to gain women support for new products as they now had their own money, and in addition women where the ones to keep care of the house so they bought the new appliances and new adseceries. women fought in the 1960′s for their educational rights which where to be equal education for girls the same as the ones that where given to boys to make a even playing field for ob oppurtunity.

  23.   Ashleigh Cox 2nd Says:

    The excerpt from The Feminine Mystique explains the way that women would live with shallow goals and ambitions obsessed with doing the work men expected them to do. Unlike the very independent image of Rosie the Riveter that was popular in WWII media, the suburban housewife popular in the 50s and 60s was very dependent of her husband, and Friedan wanted women to find fulfillment and have dreams outside of their husbands. The magazine advertisements show that the women were expected to look nice and have a supremely well kept house with a happy attitude. The idea of an ideal housewife was important to the economy because of all the consumer goods marketed to women. Like Shannon said, advertisements “targeted” women, trying to make them feel like they had to live up to the image of an ideal housewife so that they would buy products advertised as helpful for a housewife. Socially the housewife role put them as inferior to men.

  24.   Aaron Ragans Says:

    There is a marked change once again in the 1950s and 60s in the role of women. While in the 40s, women were the heads of household, primary workers, and primary consumers. Men were supposed to be fighting the good fight. But as the 50s rolled around, the men returning from war needed their jobs and their place in society back. Thus, as Jack says, the cult of domesticity stemmed from the need for women to be replaced in society. Women couldn’t remain in the position of power they had been in during the 40s, because what would happen to men? Thus, the ideal of the suburban housewife was created as a major consumer power for all of the lovely new gadgets designed to make her life easier, as stated by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique. Thus women were brought back under the fold of complacency and housework with a driving force, almost completely reversing the progression of the 40s.

  25.   Allie Jones Says:

    The digression of the women’s movement took a pivitol point during the 1950′s. As Jack said, “The cult of domesticity stemmed from the need for women to be replaced in society.” Since the men had returned from WWII, the need for women to fight and work was no longer needed, so they could then return to their life of indulgence in luxeries. With a prosperous nation arising, women now had more time to, “Keep up with the Jones”. Howver, as the middle class conformity began to be frowned upon, women of the 1960′s realized that women still had the opportunity to contribute to society. The ideal woman to represent the nation wasn’t someone who competed for attractiveness but rather someone who stood for the nation’s principles and how to better improve it. Thus the riots against Miss America occurred. Women went from fitting into the social norms to understanding that there was more to life than the advertisements portrayed.

  26.   Pedro Says:

    After the war women’s roles went complete 360. With the men returning to their normal jobs, women were cast out of their prominent factory jobs and thrust back into this “cult of domesticity”. With them returning to this comfortable life, they opened up a new market in which they would like Allie said “indulge in luxuries”. This market has not only continued today, but stemmed out worldwide. Although this led to a sense of having foothold in the economy, women strive for more right and this sense of conforming to their womanly duties did not do it for some women such as Betty Frieden and the feminine mystique. They fought this complacency and “cult of domesticity”.

  27.   Shannon Cordon 1st Says:

    As the soldiers returned from the war abroad, women were forced to relinquish their industrial jobs and return their previous domestic roles. The return of the “cult of domesticity” was a direct cause of the rise of a homogenous society. The perfect women cared solely about her family, took care of all the household duties, and always looked perfect for her husband. As women strived to become the perfect housewife, women in society formed a homogenous culture all striving to become uniform. However, women retained their economic power from the pervious era of the working women and carried it through the 50s by becoming an economic power. Advertisements even targeted women’s goals of becoming the perfect housewife through cosmetic advertisements. Like Maria Olwine said, marketing companies realized the power of the female customer and their ability to impact the market through their newfound financial decisions. Once the Civil Rights movement took root in American society during the 1960s, women became desiring the same rights that were being universally being fought for. Women had performed manual labor, supported every war, achieved the right to vote through the 19th amendment, and become a dominant part of the American economy. Women questioned why they could not have the same rights as their male counterparts when they performed the same rights as the males in society did. In their quest to gain equality, women joined organizations like SNCC in order to ensure all minorities had equal rights. Women understood the binds of oppression and desired to make sure every single minority in the US had the same equal rights they were fighting for. As the feminist movement continued, women wanted to remove the image of the perfect housewife from the American housewife. They desired to create an image of a woman as a revolutionist, not as a housewife dependent on her housewife. Consequently, the Miss America Pageant was attacked because it encouraged the belief that the perfect woman was a beautiful, mindless individual. The power given to women during the 50s as a consumer as a result of the return of the “ cult of domesticity” was used to begin the feminist revolution and call for equality during the 60s.

  28.   Sayuri Dharmakirthi Says:

    Womens’ role during this perios I’d that many women were embracing the women’s movement fighting for more writes. Also during this period you see women advertising them selfs, creating a new identity. For African American women during this tome period is when they started fighting for their rights but mostly desegregation. Also during this period is the rise of the baby boom generation and elvesly Presley and sweet African almost rock n roll jams that many teenagers listened too. This was also the era that worse the typical teenage that defined today’s teenagers.

  29.   Nikki_Thornton1 Says:

    The 1950′s and 1960′s “new” woman was a dramatic change from the WW11 woman. A new mental status was developed in the mindset of women. gone were the days of the woman who got up every morning and went to work as the children went to school. Now emerged the “housewife.” Women now got up and from sun-up to sun-down cooked,cleaned,and ran the household. It was their pride and joy to be the perfect mother and wife. she prided herself on making the best pie, having the best waxed floors, and all the while maintaing herself. Much was still expected of the women in the 50′s and 60′s but instead of being in the lime light and recognized for their hardwork it was just expected. they were to be seen but not heard. Like Sayuri mentioned teenagers were the exact oppisite of their mothers. they rebelled and began to develop their own identities instead of hiding behind their parents. the babies of the baby boom era was starting to be seen as well as heard.

  30.   Claire Cashin 2nd Period Says:

    After World War 2, the men serving in the war returned home. They took back their jobs and women were wiped out of the labor field. Women developed a “cult of domesticity” and they became key targets to producers. Women began playing a different role is society as they were considered vital consumers for the growing economy. Women began to conform to society. They purchased several devices, clothing items, and other goods to achieve the attractive “middle class status”. Women would stay at home, tending the house and cleaning to create the ideal atmosphere. Women would feel accomplished as they were fulfilling their household duties, which was promoted by the media and society. Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” illustrated the daily life of the average American woman during the postwar era. She presented their daily rituals as pointless, conformist, and boring. Friedan did not appreciate how women settled with returning to the home as a housewife and just allowing it to return to the American culture. Somehow, women were proud of and satisfied with this lifestyle. However, some women did not forget the important role that they held during the war. They used their previous power to prove a point. Several women gathered together to form another feminist movement as they called for equality and improved education. Women were confident in maintaining the “new woman” identity that was formed during World War 2. Although some of these movements failed, others succeeded. As Jack said, those that did succeeded during the feminist movement allowed for the freedom that women have gained and have today.

  31.   Y_Poshedly_2nd Says:

    After World War II, women returned to mostly domestic work, which was reflected in how producers tried to appeal to their female consumers. In the advertisements from the time, they are selling products that will allow the wife to be able to get her housework done quickly or to look their best with make-up. It created these feminine stereotypes that prevailed throughout the 1950s. Probably because of these stereotypes, a new women’s movement was started, and women began trying to become the exact opposite of that stereotype. Women now wanted to be more about individuality and non-conformity. They criticized the Miss America pageant for trying to instill that stereotype of a perfect model into society and consequently, protested the pageant. They believed that by keeping those sexist ideals alive, it only oppressed women further. These perceived ideas of the woman’s place in society became reflected in other movements as well. The SNCC was a movement for civil rights for African Americans, but committees of the SNCC were all men and women’s roles in the movement usually involved clerical work or other more “womanly” duties. Betty Friedan, a writer, was very critical of this ideal, and criticized this in The Feminine Mystique, which described the perfect housewife and the treatment of a housewife as an official occupation. Women even attended college with the sole purpose of looking for husband. That was the main goal of man young women: to find a husband and start a family. The 1950s were a dangerous time to be influenced by these stereotypes, but then in the 1960s, society’s ideas of women were definitely shaken up.

  32.   Lily Lau Says:

    During the 1950s, every part of the United States simply wanted to “relax and enjoy life.” Those who had been through the wars and the depression were grateful for the time of peace. In this time of peace, consumerism and spending was at an all time high. There was the largest middle class ever in history and people simply wanted to live the good life. Advertisers took advantage of this period and women were largely targeted. Women at home seemed to hold a certain degree of power simply by being a large consumer group. To some it would appear that women at this time would gain political and social gains, however it’s evident that the opposite happens. During the 1960s, movements to improve the status of blacks, minorities, and women ran rapid. During this decade of change, the women’s movement was largely influenced by the Civil Rights movement. SNCC members not only fought for black rights, but also for women’s equality. In the 1968 New York article “No More Miss America!”, it is quite evident that consumerism did not empower women in the least. The image of the ideal woman harms minority groups because it is not “ideal” to be of a minority. As mentioned in previous posters’ entries, this decade is indeed a period of radical change for not just African American and other minorities, but also for women.

  33.   Ashley Jacob Says:

    After having such a key role in manufacturing during WWII, women were not about to step down to their stereotypical housewife role again. Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique is often seen as the factor that brought on the feminist movement of the 60s and put an end to the “cult of domesticity” of the 50s. Her book made women question their roles as housewives. Since the war was over men were replacing women once again in the job fields. Women sought out power by turning to consumerism. The first two pictures are advertisements appealing specifically to women. Businesses took advantage of this opportunity and encouraged women to spend their money on aesthetic pleasures. In 1968 there was a protest against the Miss America Pageant. Women felt that the pageant was degrading women. Women were standing up for themselves all over the country. Even women in the SNCC, which fought for civil rights, were being treated unequally. Leader positions were only filled by men even if a woman was qualified to become a leader. I agree with Claire that women of the 60s were determined to keep the new woman identity they gained during WWII and this would lead to the feminist movement.

  34.   Bianca Shamim Says:

    As Samuel said, women in the 1950s left the industrial roles they played during World War II for the “cult of domesticity.” They became a strong constituent in the rise of consumerism. It’s during this time that the rise of the suburban Stepford wife image came to be. June Cleaver from Leave it to Beaver is a great example of the idealistic woman in the 1950s – concerned with the well-being of her husband, children, and home. The entire ideology was essentially, as Emancio said, to bring women back to what was considered feminine life. These gender roles, in my opinion, are ridiculous. A similar sentiment was felt by the m embers of New York Radical Women in protesting against the Miss America Pageant.

  35.   SallySeo3 Says:

    The rising consumerism of women in the 1950s after WW2 gave women power and urge for gender equality that carried throughout the 1960s. I agree with Bianca when she says that women left the work force for the “cult of domesticity” and that the rise of suburbs and complacency hastened the acceptance of these gender roles. In the 1950s, society placed high importance and many expectations on behavior at home as well as in public. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a nurturing mother, a hardworking homekeeper, and an subservient wife,as Betty Friedan recalls in The Feminine Mystique. A diligent housewife had dinner on the table precisely at the moment her husband arrived from work, which is why Swanson’s tv dinners became popular during this time: a quick and easy way to serve the family. A prime example of the stereotypical woman was Lucy in the show “I Love Lucy” and her constant need and dependence for her husband to guide her through messes she had gone into. Growing hatred to this image of women is exemplified by the opposition of Miss America Pageants which embodied the most feminine and ideal woman. Gender role opposition intensified into the 1960s; however, as the Civil Rights Movement came into full action, the women in SNCC were fighting to kill two birds, not one. Women in SNCC fought double battles of being women and receiving inferior “female-type” jobs such as clerk and being African-American in a racist society.

  36.   Stefanie Lamp'l 2nd Says:

    During the 1950’s an image emerged about the ideal way to live life. One should live in a perfect clean house kept up by the woman, men should go to work and bring home the bacon, and at night the whole family should sit down to a home cooked meal made by the mother of the household and enjoy some TV before retiring to bed. In Feminine Mystique by Friedan this idea of the perfect housewife image was made fun of. This insulting image to women later led to the Feminist Movement of the 1960’s. Women were very important to society economically. As seen by the advertisements, ads were aimed towards their primary consumers: women. Ads for beauty products and ways to improve the household surfaced everywhere. The Miss America Protest was a prime example of how women during this time were fighting society’s image of them. I agree with Reagan in the fact that women were advocating the role model of an everyday powerful and beautiful woman. Women were often considered insignificant towards the role of men but during the 1950-60’s women spoke up against unequal rights towards them and strived to prove that it was them that contributed the most to economy of the U.S.

  37.   Elise Collins Says:

    Women changed drastically from 1930 to the 1960′s. In these few decades it’s remarkable how women have evolved. Now after the hype of the war and Rosie the Riveter they have returned back to their “place”. I completely understand how they became complacent in their cult of domestivity. Though they still had a large impact on society. The were an important part of consumerism Advertisements are centered around them and what they can buy. I feel like this did lead them to a sense of social and economic entitlement. They were still a part of society. I agree with Sally about women in the SNCC having to face two battles with being a woman and an African American on top of that. They could only get inferior jobs. Still though women were making great strides in the world they lived in.

  38.   Suzanne Bradley Says:

    After WWII had ended and the US had returned to a state of normalcy, women began to find their place in society as consumers. Many women still worked, but their occupations were limited to office work and more feminine jobs. American women, however, aspired to be suburban housewives. Housewives took care of their families and houses, enjoyed the new appliances the middle-class lifestyle could afford, and exerted the newly found power of shopping. There was more money in the 1950’s, and women were the new target group of advertisers. Although the “cult of domesticity” was widespread, many women’s groups were formed to protest the stereotype of women. There was even an organized protest outside a Miss America pageant to object to the image of the “ideal” woman. Women in the 1950’s, whether housewife consumers or protestors, gained a sense of empowerment. Women’s new independence played a great part in the social reforms of the 1960’s. Women played a great role in the civil rights movement and especially the feminist movement. Like Yvette said, women in the 1950’s were compared to stereotypes, but in the 1960’s, women were able to participate in social movements.

  39.   Nina Siso 3 Says:

    In the 1950’s, women were supposed to be the perfect housewife. They were supposed to look nice for their husbands and manage all of the household chores. This image was portrayed in shows like “I Love Lucy.” The first picture shows a smiling woman who is excited to prepare a TV dinner for her family. Her only worry is getting dinner ready on time. The second picture shows a woman using a new beauty product. She must always look nice, even though she should be staying home and working in the house. Though these advertisements made women seem submissive and delicate, they also show a power that women in the 1950’s possessed. Women now had consumption power. Advertisers realized that women now needed their own products. Women were also the main spenders of the family. While the husband was at work, the wife bought all the needs and necessities for the house. This gave her power in the economy and gave her a sense of being socially important. This empowerment led women in the 1960’s to value themselves more and stand up for what they believed in. The second document explains the protest of a beauty pageant in 1968. Women were tired of only being valued for their looks and being viewed as objects. They wanted to work, get out of the house, and pursue the things they wanted to do in life. The third document shows that even in civil rights groups women were valued less than men. However, women were influenced by these groups. They saw the civil rights movement as a time to fight for their rights and equality too. The women of the 1960’s were tired of their lower status. As Bhargav mentioned, women formed their own groups, like NOW, to fight for equality. Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963. In the excerpt, she has a condescending tone when talking about the housewife. She believed that women were worth more than just being child bearers and housekeepers. “The cult of domesticity” seemed to take away a woman’s individuality. As Sally stated, women who were black faced the double burden of dealing with racism and being female, which limited the types of jobs they could get. “The cult of domesticity” seemed to oppress minorities even more than it oppressed white women. It is clear that by the 1960’s women wanted to break away from “the cult of domesticity” and gain more equality.

  40.   Yeji Jang Says:

    In the 1950s, women were finally free from the financial burden of the depression and WWII. With the men finally situated back at home and working to support the family, women could have what they have always dreamed of: to have kids, to look perfect, cook big meals, live in big houses, have social gatherings…etc. They were heavily influenced by Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, where it encouraged women to join the cult of domesticity and behave in certain ways. As the 1960s came by, women felt that they played an important role in society because of their increased consumerism in the 1950s. Women were targets to many products such as clothing, food, makeup, cars, and more. They also pushed for better rights creating groups such as NOW and participating in “No More Miss America”.

  41.   Senna Hubbs 2nd Says:

    In the 1950s, the ideal image of an American woman was that of a housewife with no job outside the home who spent her days cheerfully cooking, cleaning, sewing, crafting, shepherding her 2 to 6 children, and talking pleasantly to other housewives about cooking, cleaning, sewing, crafting, shepherding their children – all while wearing full makeup and high-heels. Betty Friedan describes this in what may passingly seem to be a praising light, but, as Regan pointed out, is scathingly mocking. The ideal ’50s housewife probably never existed, and if she did, she must have been wealthy. Though modern technologies had made cooking, cleaning, and child rearing less difficult than they had been in the past, they still were not, and do this day are not, anything close to easy. Effectively accomplishing what was expected of her, an already difficult task, was made all the more difficult by the pressure put upon the American woman to appear as though all she did was effortless, that she was happy and wanted nothing more from her life than her husband had given her. It is true, however, that at this time, women were gaining wider social influence through the evolution of WWII era ideas and through their ever-growing power to make decisions about what to buy from their families and from where. In the ’60s, times were changing, the Civil Rights movement among blacks was spawning similar movements among other groups, the children of WWII veterans were coming of age with their own beliefs and ideals unshaped by the war, hippies were becoming rather widespread -effectively taking over the Haight-Ashbury area of San Fransisco, and homosexuality was becoming less taboo -Castro Street near the Haight became a predominantly gay neighbourhood, not long later to be home to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in the U.S. In this atmosphere woman nation wide stood up to affirm their rights as individuals and as equals to men. Fascinatingly, one of the more dramatic but less insane actions taken to break feminine stereotypes, the protesting around the Miss America, is still a valid argument today. A few years ago Miss America was given a ‘reality check’ to bring it more in line with the realities of modern womanhood.

  42.   Chantelle Kodua 3rd Says:

    The role of women after World War II compared to that of women during the 1960s was a one step forward two steps back scenario. Women during the war worked in factories making ammunition and building planes, but once the men returned from war women returned to their old jobs of being complacent and subservient wives. I believe that all of the new technology created (such as washing machines) to make house work easier empowered women to some extent. Many women were content with this change but women such as Betty Friedan were not. The second feminist movement really took place during the 1960s around the time that the Feminine Mystique was published. Women were unhappy with their roles as housewives and wanted to have larger economic and social opportunities which they were able to achieve because of laws such as the Equal pay act of 1963. I agree with Austin Hilliard’s comparison of the effect of media on women. I believe that the media portrays the “ideal woman” which then manifests itself in the subconscious mind of many women and then those women strive to become the “ideal woman”.

  43.   FrankBrahmbhatt-2nd Says:

    During the 1950s women left their World War 2 jobs in industry to revert back into the “cult of domesticity” that the 1950s is notorious for. Women roles in the 1950s changed from being one of national importance(working in military factories to produce arms) to one of domestic importance such as cleaning the house and preparing dinner. However, during the 1960s women began protesting the “cult of domesticity” they used take part and protesting the image people portrayed them as. For example, the “No Miss America!” protest was created in order to protest the image of women as a beauty queen with no intellectual importance. I think advertisements did allow women to feel more powerful cause it showed their importance as a consumer in society. During the 1960s, the other major reformation going on was the civil rights movement which I believe created a path for women to advocate their beliefs.

  44.   Supriya Says:

    The post was era of the 1950s and 1960s was a period of conoformity and complaceny, characterized by a “cult of domesticity” for women. There was a major shift from the masculine role of working during the war, to a passive, feminine consumer role. Women were viewed in a very stereotypical way during this post war period. Families seemed picture perfect with a supportive wife and perfect children. In Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique, she discusses the role that women were expected to take during this period. It was a women’s role to take care of the home and the children. In addition, they were not treated equally in the work place. This is what Friedan fought for: equal rights for women. Even though women were categorized as being home bodies, they took pride in that. Just as Suzanne said, this label empowered the women. They took advantage of this label in society and used it to fight for their rights in American culture.

  45.   Tad "The Hammer" Cameron 1 Says:

    During the 1950’s the housewife image became the norm again, reverting back to the standard set by pre-WWII women. Women were expected to behave a certain way, cooking and cleaning for the family, and buying products from the market to achieve this status of the “perfect woman.” Friedan addresses this in Feminine Mystique. She mockingly praises the image of the American woman at the time. These concepts were later dug up. In the “No More Miss America!” manifesto, the “ideal” woman is criticized as fake and advocates the role model of a true, every day woman. Women felt that their role in the consumer market held enough sway because, like Regan says, they had the grounds and power in society because they had contributed very much to it. This feminist movement occurred along with the Civil Rights movement. This was helpful because roles in society were in a state of flux at the time. New stereotypes and roles were being created and filled.

  46.   Raish Wadhwaniya Says:

    After the War, women left the workforce and resumed their domestic duties; however, some women remained in the workforce. Women played a huge role in the consumerism culture of the 1950s, and 60s. The huge businesses started using women in their advertisements such as the TV dinners, and Creme Puff and thus utilized this “cult of domesticity” and the consumption by women. Because women started working and started getting involved in politics and social activities, they received empowerment in the 1960s. This period was important because changed the women’s role in society. Women became more equal because of their involvement in society. Women during this time also participated in civil rights movement by joining organizations like SNCC. Betty Friedan and other women worked to gain equal rights for women through organizations like NOW.

  47.   Shah 3rd Says:

    With the prosperity that came with hyper production during wartime, the average income of a family rose in the 1950s. Directly proportional to this was consumerism and advertising. With more money, families could enjoy luxuries that made daily life easier live vacuum machines. These marketing departments targeted women in reference to their duty to their household and it was this advertising and this rise in standard of living that helped to perpetuate the new “Cult of Domesticity.” This can be seen in the top ten sexist advertisements in the link below.


    As Betty Friedman brought to attention in her Feminine Mystique, women faced a cruel subordination to men. Her novel later sparked a feminist uprising. In addition to advertising, the conformity of television and radio helped to disseminate these gender ideologies. This can be seen in “I Love Lucy,” “Leave it to Beaver,” “You Bet Your Life,” etc.

    In contrast, the 60s was a decade of extremes: flower children and assassins, idealism and alienation, rebellion and backlash. Realizing the fragility of life after seeing the bombs and the threats, women lived with a new sense of passion for justice. However, the years that followed the war were bittersweet for most women. During the war, more and more women began paid work in the clothing and textile industries. Despite other setbacks, this trend continued after the war as well. But women who had been metalworkers in aircraft and munitions factories lost jobs that “belonged” to men and received great pay cuts. “Equal pay” was reduced to 75% of what men earned.
    Also, many of the full day nurseries and other child care centers originally created to prevent juvenile delinquency while mothers were at work during wartime soon disappeared along with other federal funding. Another tragedy faced is that some women found themselves to be widows with inadequate pension, no means to support themselves, and no sympathy from their community.

    Feminists, dissatisfied with the cultural norm of women’s subordination to men, strived to achieve equal pay for equal work, an end to domestic violence, end to sexual harassment, curtail gender discrimination in managerial jobs, and a shared responsibility of the housework. A time of change, women achieved one profound thing: birth control. By the end of the 1960s, over 80% of wives of childbearing age were using contraception after the birth control pill was approved by the federal government in 1960.

    Women, after seeing the ultimate successes of MLK Jr, Malcolm X, and the whole African American community as a whole realized that they’re capable of achieving the same socio-economic rights – and that it was the perfect time to do it to. Women fought these ideals. They protested pageants. They filed suits against discriminatory companies.
    Like the 1920s, the 1960s were a period of uncertain clash between existing ideals and the hopes of the reformers.

    In response to Evan Avers:
    Being a target of consumerism was a very powerful thing, but unfortunately for women, those in charge of marketing, men, used it to cement the older age ideals that women are inferior to men.

  48.   Chris Powell 1 Says:

    The 1950’s for women was a return to domesticity. Women were going back to the home from their jobs they had taken during WW2. A more traditional role was expected from all women, but women had other plans in mind. Some stayed at their jobs instead of returning home. Most women were still consumers after the war as well. The new found freedoms and indepence women experienced during WW2 had lingering effects. Although they did not have an immediate impact in the 1950’s, in the 1960’s women started speaking out more about social and political issues. Women had experienced society when they had more important roles than just the typical housewife. I think they wanted to live in that kind of society again, thus women lived lives of greater independence to achieve greater independence. The consumerism of women also played a key role in their more involved attitude in society during the 1960’s. When people are involved in society, people also become engaged in making that society better. Women felt more important because they contributed to society by being active consumers. A lot of products were also marketed to women which only added to their sense of importance. With society saying women are more important now, and women actually feeling like they have influence of course women got more involved in social and political issues. Women were getting involved in social and political issues when society did not think were important.

  49.   Kara Says:

    Women’s roles changed drastically in the decade following WWII. Previously they had been needed to work the rougher, more dangerous “manly” jobs for the war effort. But when the war ended it was as if suddenly everything returned back to the way it was prior to the war, and it was unfitting for a woman to work in an arms factory, let alone work at all. Society’s view on women now saw them as only helpful in the home and therefore the infamous “cult of domesticity” arose. America was in a prosperous stage and people generally had more money to spend. However manufacturers used this to their advantage and began to target women in their ads. Advertisers also developed lasting stereotypes of women as basically caregivers to men and nothing more. However they also benefited women in that they began to feel a sense of empowerment as they were able to buy what they wanted. This combined with the influence of other movements successes launched the women’s/feminism movement of the late 1900s. Women were encouraged by the success of the civil rights movement and the gains that other oppressed minorities were making both within society and the government. It took a lot of courage and strength of the women of the time, but eventually they overcame the adversity and were able to get equal rights of men and change America forever.

  50.   Alyssa Huenniger 3rd Says:

    The 1950s was a time when many women returned to their complacent roles as domestics, going back, as Tad said, to the norm set by women before WWII. Television shows (which was another conforming consumer item) such as “Leave It To Beaver” only helped the idea of the common, happy, complacent housewife content with a quiet life stick in the minds of women and men. Women are once again being seen conforming to what the media has put out, and the New York Radical Women tried to slow down the conformity by protesting pageants like ‘Miss America’ in 1968. The SNCC was another group that included women and was active during the Civil Rights Movement. Even though all members were fighting for the same rights, women were still treated unequally within ranks. Betty Friedan recalls in ‘The Feminine Mystique’ that most women were proud to label their Occupation: Housewife because it gave them their sense of independence and carefree life due to the wonders of science and technology. Women during the 1950s were happy to conform to the housewife ideal, and the significant difference between the women of that decade and the women of the 60s is that the 69s women wanted to keep their WWII image afterwards, and that is eventually what started the feminist movement later on. 60s women were not afraid to stand out and be different because they knew what they were standing up for and found their independence in their sense of responsibility in the fight for equality.

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