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The 1950s Housewife: The Rise Of The Modern Supermom

2010 words - 9 pages

During the 1950s, it was believed that creating a home and having children were one of the most important goals for most women. During their schooling years, most women attended college to get their "M.r.s." degree, or the reason most women went to college was to get married and not to earn a real degree (, 2001, para. 3). Women also started working again, though they did not have equal benefits or pay to men. Women were also hired for jobs that tailored to their looks, not their skills (Coster, 2011, p. 35-36). They were also encouraged to have large families, but needed help when it came to managing their household. Hollywood created an image of an American mother who has a wholesome family that influenced the way women thought and behaved. Advertising and Hollywood created ideals for the perfect 1950s housewives that were unattainable. Television ads reinforced gender roles of women and the pressure of being the perfect mother and wife caused mental health issues for a lot of women during this time. During the 1950s, women had a part in education, the workforce, in the home, in television, and even in mental health that helped evolve the old 1950s mother to a new modern mother.
Most women in the 1950s attended school and college. Women usually went to school for the chance of meeting their future husband. To begin with, Coster (2011), the author of A New Deal for Women: Expanding Roles of Women 1938-1960, observed that most women married right after high school or during college and then dropped out after marrying. Women tended to think that it was more important to have a husband then an education (p. 27). Coster (2011) also commented that during the 1950s, 70 percent of women married by the age of 24. If a woman did not have a husband by her mid-twenties she might be in danger of being considered an "old maid" (p. 26-27). Women felt a pressure of needing to marry early or had to face the social standards of that time.
If women wanted to further their education, most attended the classes that taught them on what a good wife is. First of all, girls did not learn about science or math, but only about classes that were directed for home life. As identified by one website, girls were taught skills on how to manage a household and prepare them for having a husband and children (, 2009, para. 4). Gourley (2008), author of Gidgets and Women Warriors, found that Stephens College in the 1950s had classes for women on dieting and makeup techniques. Also, the field trips that the college girls took were to meet and socialize with men (p. 22). People believed that a woman's reason for getting an education was to help them with their future roles as mothers and wives.
There was also a rise of women entering the workforce. Women who were hired for higher paying jobs were usually employed for their looks, not their skills. For example, in Xerox commercial, a beautiful women who is hired as a secretary cannot do any tasks like dictations,...

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