How Gender Portrayals Changed and Remained in Place in the 1950s
Gender Portrayals. The 1950s. Change. You might wonder what these words mean, today, here, you will learn about gender portrayals in the 1950s. Gender portrayals are how a gender, such as the only two, Male and Female, are portrayed in media and social life. Now, in the 1950s bread was .14 cents, bomb shelter plans were sold, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president and people were afraid of communists invading america and making us into communists (American Cultural History). New technologies were arising, like computers and color television, and with this new technology; the advertising industry was born, and with them, new kinds of gender portrayals.Gender portrayals both changed and stayed the same in the 1950s, father figures were portrayed as irresponsible and that they could not help their children with their problems (KON), Women were portrayed as being the “happy homemaker”, they were expected to get married and have kids quickly, and to take care of the home, where the husband could not (PBS AMEX), but the portrayal of black men stayed the same, they were portrayed mostly as “Toms” and this did not change for quite a while (FERRIS).
The typical family in the 1950s, portrayed by the media, was comprised of a father, mother, and usually two children; It was known as the “Nuclear Family”, the epitome of the 1950s, the way every family wanted to be, thought they should be. The father was shown as a buffoon, an idiot who could not possibly comprehend how to do the simplest tasks around the house, and was too inert to even attempt to do any of it. The mother was portrayed as the polar opposite to the husband; being more than able to do everything the husband can’t, like doing the dishes and cooking, anything more complex than general yardwork she could do, as well as juggle the children about whilst the father sits in his chair, reading the newspaper or watching television (KON) . The children were portrayed as delightful little ragamuffins, who got into trouble, and whose parents usually got them out of it, with an outlying lesson on life buried therein of course (Leave it to Beaver).
The media in this time was quite influential, as it always has been, but with the introduction of the television it grew greater. People could be shown how things were supposed to be, television made the perfect, glamorous lives of people tangible, real, people could experience those things alongside the characters. And the media could put whatever message they wanted to put in their shows, and people would not even notice it happening, but it ended up affecting how they live their lives and their views on issues surrounding their lives. The media used the “Perfect Family” as a way to combat communism in america, using that image as a representation of the free american public. (PBS AMEX) However, compared to modern days, the media did not have as much influence. Back in the 1950s we had a...