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1950s American Culture

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1950s American Culture. Baby Boom. Late 1940s through to the early 1960s Became the largest generation in America’s history. 1957- a baby was born every 7 seconds!. Why a boom?. Husbands return home from war (in 1945) Age in which couples marry decreases

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

1950s

American Culture

slide2

Baby Boom

  • Late 1940s through to the early 1960s
  • Became the largest generation in America’s history

1957- a baby was born every 7 seconds!

slide3

Why a boom?

  • Husbands return home from war (in 1945)
  • Age in which couples marry decreases
  • New desirability for larger families
  • Economic prosperity
slide4

Suburbia

  • Suburban growth with economic expansion and prosperity
  • Desirable option for many returning war veterans
  • Based on the fulfillment of the ‘American Dream’ and the ‘good life’
  • Stimulated by white migration out of busy, ‘corrupt’ cities
  • Residents were mostly white and of the middle class
slide5

Levittown, NY

  • William Levitt
  • 1947-1951 housing development
  • first mass produced suburb
  • low monthly cost, no down payment
slide7

Consumerism

  • Families have more money
  • New homes required the purchasing of new goods
  • ‘Keeping up with the Jones’
  • Consumption fulfilled idea of the ‘good life’
  • Material goods were a symbol of status and success
  • The production of new appliances (vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, etc.) re-emphasized prominent social ideals
slide9

Car Culture

  • Americans bought over 60 million cars in a short 10 year span
  • Influential in the development of suburbia
  • Rise of new services and access to leisure activities
  • Interstate Highway system
slide11

Fashion

  • Bright colours
  • Poodle skirts
  • The bikini
  • Men grew hair longer
  • Beehive and Ponytail hairstyles were popular among women
slide12

Toys

  • Hula Hoop
  • Frisbee
  • Barbie
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Candyland, Chutes & Ladders
  • Superman, Batman Comics
  • Change in childhood experiences (contrast to previous generations)
slide13

Television

  • Became the dominant form of entertainment
  • Number of American families with TV sets grew from 8 million – 42 million over 1 decade
  • Ownership was a symbol of prosperity (especially for families with the new colour TV set)
  • Programs presented viewers with messages about social norms
  • Television advertising began to surge also re-emphasizing societal ideals
slide14

Popular Programs

  • Sitcoms (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best)
  • Musicals (American Bandstand)
  • Comedy (Ed Sullivan Show)
  • Additional Resource:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqMQDb9aG4A
slide15

Music

  • Era of Rock n Roll domination
  • Mix of Rhythm & Blues with Country Western
  • Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley
  • Growth of the Electric Guitar
  • Concern from parents about controversial lyrics and impact of music on teenagers
  • Additional Resource:
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOvUdZgl7vo&feature=related
slide16

Movies

  • Rise of science fiction film
  • Adolescent targets (James Dean, “Rebel Without A Cause”)
  • Musicals: “Oklahoma!”, “Singin’ in the Rain”
slide17

Beat Generation

  • Culture of rebellious teenagers (defy social norms)
  • Anti-materialistic literary movement
  • Non-conformity
  • Howl (1956), On the Road (1957)
slide18

Science/Technology

  • DNA structure discovered (1953)
  • Polio Vaccine (1955)
  • Sputnik 1 launched/ U.S. Explorer 1 launched (1957)
  • Organization of NASA
slide19

Gender Roles

  • Women urged to leave the workplace after WW2 or were laid off
  • Pressure for women to stay at home
  • Return to traditional roles for women
  • Emphasis put on expectations by the mass media
  • Gender segregated jobs
  • Idea of men as the breadwinners

Additional Resource:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq_9wu-KjTk

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