1950's Consumerism for Women

1950's Consumerism for Women

It's a holly, jolly, domestication.
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In the spirit of the holiday consumerism propaganda, and the overall joy of buying Christmas presents, a glance back at advertisement propaganda and consumerism culture back in the 1950's reveals that America's target consumers weren't mostly frenzied parents and adults - it was females.

However, to get an idea of how much women's roles changed during the 1950’s, you have to look back on the previous decade - the 1940’s. Women during this time, became the substitutes for men in the work force. They took up jobs that were previously unavailable to them because they were deemed to be too physically or mentally demanding for the nurturing, gentle women of America.

So women enjoyed a sort of liberation in occupation during this time, and freedom from social scrutiny because working back then was okay. Because it helped the war. Because it helped America.

Working in the 1950’s, however, was prohibited and deplorable because that meant you were not cooperating with the American system. You were disrupting the post-war peace. There are two simple reasons why.

World War II was ending, and men were returning unemployed.

That caused a decrease in the demand for goods because the war no longer needed America working like a factory to supply their soldier and allies with clothing, weapons, food, etcetera…

It also forced working women out of work because they had the jobs that men originally had. So to companies, to the American economy whose financial prosperity was at risk, forcing women out of work to employ men was the only solution to be had.

Because unemployed women meant dependent women to America. Dependent in the sense that they now needed someone to financially help them, and to find that someone, women had to get married. Marriage produced families, and families accumulated large expenses which the economy would thrive upon.

America’s new major consumer replacing the war, would be married and domesticated women.

Sociologists and other scientists conducted research that said that working women were harmful to the growth of their children. Organizations and companies trapped women to domesticity using this ideology by proclaiming them as Homefront fighters to the Cold War, and that only they had the knowledge to use the kitchen and create meals out of the manufactured food supplies America was making. Advertising industries and companies were concerned with who was buying, and in particular, depended on the mothers to buy their products. It was perceived that if a woman had time to do other things beyond the kitchen and housework, then that probably meant that she was not performing to the best of her domestic abilities.


Yet, what exactly was the typical housewife expected to do? A term, "ornamental cooking" arose during this time.It essentially described the process of making meals out of pre-made food which cookbooks advertised in their pages. If a woman served her husband and children meals as they were packaged, then she was failing in her duty as a housewife. The cookbooks at that time wrote it so that if a woman was not creative with her meals, then she was being lazy; she was only creative if she bought the cookbooks to inspire her recipes.


However, this symbiotic relationship of companies sponsoring cookbooks to advertise their items was not only limited to food - it also promoted the use of newly marketed technology. Cookbooks had recipes that not only required the average oven top, but actual mixers, refrigerators, and larger conventional ovens. Cookbooks told women to invest in these utilities because they made meal preparation easier. In the end, women did buy these items and continued to feed the economy which lived off of their expenses.

As one can see, outside pressures, companies, and advertisements all contributed in the shift to women consumerism and its push for their return to domesticity.


Cover Image Credit: "The Day The Earth Stood Still"

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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