The 1950s where a more huministic and forgiving time.
Women stayed at home and took care of the children and the household. While the man went to work every day to support his family. The children were raised with the idea that they should respect their elders. The boys were taught no only to respect women, but also treat them with a certain chivalry. They held doors open, sat down last and never did a lady have to pay for a date.
On the other hand, girls were taught to respect themselves and how to behave “lady like” so as not to shame herself or her family. Clothing was conservative, and “sex symbols” were glamourous, not girating about half naked. Men, they were told were the natural heads of the households, responsible for all major decisions. Women were expected to be keep a clean home, and make sure that the husband had everything he needed, from a clean pressed suit to a home cooked meal, to limit his distractions and promote his success.
In both cases, everyone learned the concept of that there were consequences for all their actions and inactions. Responsibilty was something that was taken seriously in 1950s society.
There were curfews and no one thought it was cool to party all night. (Well, almost everyone that wasn’t Jack Kerouac). Dinner time was almost sacred, and this shared communion assured that at the end of the day, everyone knew the concerns of each family member, despite a day spent pursuing different activities. Eating alone in seperate rooms was punishment, not the norm. Also, having company over for dinner was an honour, an opportunity to exchange information and a chance to demonstrate hospitality. Considering the importance of meal time in the 1950s, the food was thankfully, far less expensive. It was fresh, free of GMO and normally locally grown.
There was also a way people were expected to talk to each other. Most people tried to talk in moderated tones and with a pleasing manner. In most circumstances strangers never joked or refered to each other in derogatory terms. Politeness was the norm and just a causual walk down the street you could hear not only “please and thank you” but also “Hello Madame” and “Hello Sir.” And if a man got too agressive with a lady he would receive a quick smack in the face as his punishment.
Instead of some spoiled child like Justin Bieber, Humphrey Bogart was considered the “bad boy” role model. A man who wasn’t afraid to use his fists when needed, but equally tipped his hat to the ladies. The bad boys of that era drank scotch whiskey and were seldom seen without a cigarette (as the medical community were promoting them as healthy stress-relievers), but they were almost never seen without a jacket and tie. In contrast, today’s bad boy is almost always tatooed, pot smoking, on steroids, and the only thing they want to tip to a woman is the zipper of their pants.
So what went wrong?
In short 2 things caused the death of this ideal. Lazyness and greed influenced by the television.
Living in the 1950s took a lot mental energy. People never really got the chance to let their “hair down” and to constantly be conscious of how they conducted themselves publically. This turned into a sort of competition for attention and admiration in which greedy corporations were able to use to their advantage. Television commercials created a phenominum of “keeping up with the Jones” and within a generation it was a desinger label or new television that won respect from the neighbours not manners and personal integrity.
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