Women’s role in the 1950’s

Taken from : http://genderroles1950.blogspot.co.uk/



Divorce was not a common thing. Why? Societal pressure for many reason. You were supposed to get married and stay married, regardless of how miserable you were. Divorce carried a HUGE stigma.

Besides the fact, that women who want to get divorced carried a stigma, they had no where to go. Women couldn’t get a decent job to take care of themselves ( and children). A woman’s best chance at employment would probably be a secretary, teacher, or nurse. So, there was an economic incentive to stay married.

Here’s a scenario, the affairs that the husband carried. The wives would expect it, but will never confront because there only reason was to stay together, happy.



Since the 1950s, American women have been less respected in the society. The image of a typical 50s woman was a happy housewife who cooked the food, cleaned the house, and watched the children. It is sad to say that, few women received a higher-level education. After high school, many of girls stayed home while their husbands worked to support the family.

Through my eyes, in the 1950s education was the fundamental part of gender construction. The ratio of men to women going to college was 9:1.

Here is a quote that I’ve found from a woman who lived through 1950 unfair education policy.

“Women who failed to conform to the June Cleaver/Margaret Anderson role of housewife and mother were severely criticized. A 1947 bestselling book, The Modern Woman, called feminism a “deep illness,” labeled the idea of an independent woman a “contradiction in terms,” and explained that women who wanted equal pay and equal educational opportunities were engaged in a “ritualistic castration” of men.”

It is proven that women did not have the opportunities they have today and no, I’m not a feminist at heart, but detest unfairness. Thank God, that the ideas about the mental, economic, and social purposes of women in America are no longer the same as they were four decades ago.



Barbies in the 1950s TOTALLY reflect Gender Roles. The barbies became a young girl’s best friend. Most of the toys constructed young girls how to become a ” good mommy.” It would help them imagine their life.
And, then we had the boy toys like the GI Joe. This toy represented that men were strong, had courage, and was “America’s Movable Fighting Man.” This was new territory in imaginative play for boys – G.I. Joe was not a “doll” he was an “action figure.”


Famous women’s impact:

Marylin Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Lucille Ball are just a few of the names that really stood out during the 50s. These three, very popular, ladies influenced 50s housewives in a tremendous way. Marylin Monroe was one of the biggest sex symbols in America at the time and women all around the U.S. watched her every move trying to, in a way, imitate her and her ways in order to grab their husband’s attention. Grace Kelly influenced women and young women of all ages in the United States by being a fashion icon. The women would always keep their eyes peeled for any new fashion tips or any new outfits or trends. Lucille Ball was the typical 50s housewife, in the show “I Love Lucy.” In this program she was the main character, Lucy. Although Lucy was a housewife to her loving husband Ricky Ricardo, Lucy stood up for herself and did not let anyone tell her what to do or push her around. her character stood for what women should be like, independent and not pushed around by their husbands or men in general.

Betty Friedan
Betty Friedan posed as a major influence in the 1950’s. She was an American feminist, writer, and activist. Her motivational outlook on gender roles allowed women to be inspired to take on a new role. She encouraged women to break out of the gender roles they were assigned by making speeches and writing books. As a wife and mother herself, she felt that she wasn’t doing any good for anyone and that she would be able to achieve a lot more by doing other things.
She was one of the women that founded the National Organization for Women and the Nation Abortion Rights Action League. This group felt that women should have the right to an abortion if they wanted. This empowers women to take control of their bodies which was a new concept for them because they were so overshadowed by the men in their lives. Betty Friedan was an innovative thinker that helped women to evolve to the way they are today, independent and respected. Without her strong motivational style, our society may not be the way it is today, full of equality between everyone, no matter their gender.



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