Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Truth About The 1950's
My neighbor Mary comes to every birthday party of my children's. You may remember me mentioning her before on other posts. Mary and her husband John were the nicest people to us when we first moved into our house. John was a WWII war hero, having fought as a Marine in the Pacific. We lost John in 2009, but I have created a new friendship with Mary through the years. My children adore her and so do I!
She is now 85 years old and ironically celebrates her birthday the same day my grandmother did~May 1st. I have been sharing with her little by little my passion for the 1940's and what I do. Although it is hard to explain blogging to her generation, my dad is more than twenty years younger than her and he doesn't understand blogging either LOL
So, the other day at my son's second birthday party, Mary and I started talking about the 1940's and 1950's. I asked her something that I have been wondering for sometime now. After women were in the workforce and becoming more independent in the 1940's because of the war, why does the 1950's depict women as the perfect housewife and hostess? Why does it seem like women happily took a step backwards?
The answer was simple, at least for Mary. She explained to me that after the war people just wanted to get back to "normal". They knew that so many of the boys suffered greatly and missed out on a great deal of everyday life such as, attending college, dating, etc. She also told me that because the boys basically grew up while at war, people back home, especially the women, wanted to cater to them and make them feel good. It was also their way of saying "thank you".
All this time I thought women were forced back into the kitchen when it was women who put themselves back. Not out of feeling pressured to do so but they naturally felt inclined to continue to do their part. Mary told me that it wasn't a conscious thing that people spoke about openly but rather an unconscious understanding and need to want to help the boys get back to their lives.
She made me feel even prouder of being a women. By golly, we are capable of such sacrifices and such heroism, even in the simple confines of our own homes!
Oh and I have to throw in this bit that she shared with me about the 1950's-she told me that no one she knew had the same hairstyle. Mary still pin curls her hair and we were talking about how difficult of a time I have been having trying to learn how to figure out my full head of wavy hair. Hers is pin straight but I would have never known because it is always curly! LOL She also told me that women matched everything-their hats with their gloves with their dresses with their shoes. I love that! I have always been one to match my clothing from the inside out and I dress my children in the same fashion. Matching is fun!
I hope you enjoyed a little peak into the past through my friend Mary's eyes. It is always a pleasure to be able to talk to her and share with her my thoughts and ask her questions. I am so grateful that she is willing to share with me. It was like talking to a friend I have known forever-I was in bliss!
What are your thoughts about women in the 1950's? Did you ever wonder why society attempted to depict itself in such an ideal manner? Let me know your thoughts!