In 1950 unmarried men were generally paid less than married men. Reason being? The Employers felt that single men needed less to live on and survive on. Many men got married just have a better status, pay and clout in the workforce a man was also deemed more stable if he was in a married home.
Women rarely wen to college and if they did it was to either a finishing school or something to do to pass the time until the right guy came along or they went to college to FIND the right guy.
A finishing school (or charm school) is a school for young women that focuses on teaching social skills and cultural norms as a preparation for entry into adult society. The name reflects that it follows on from ordinary school and is intended to complete the educational experience, with classes primarily on etiquette. It may consist of an intensive course, or a one-year programme.
Even though divorce was still frowned upon there were 385,144 divorces in 1950 quite staggering at that time against 1,667,231 marriages.
In post war times, marriage was the best option, mainly women. By the time a gal was 18 she was generally sought after and men generally married in their 20’s. More men than women were generally single after the age of 25 leaving behind a trail of spinsters or late marriage bloomers.
There were not many women who worked outside the home at that time, a staggering 21 % compared to now I am sure the percentage is much higher being that MORE women work outside the home more than ever. Home businesses were on the rise though and husbands allowed their wives to do things like Tupperware, Avon and others of it’s kind. Avon launched in 1954 and over 2/3 employees were women. Shaklee products also gave rise to women working at home and part time out of the house.
Bit of Fact for you: The Kennedy Wedding was on September 13th 1953 and it was watched, stalked and admired by many. The Kennedys were under a lot of scrutiny to be “the couple to lead by example”, though if you know the story, the marriage was far from perfect.
Women were told in those days to “Show man you love him y cooking, cleaning and always being well groomed. Never come to the day without your hair done and makeup on, and you should greet him at the door when he comes home. As well do not bombard him with trivial things, though give him time to relax and always have dinner on the table when he arrives.”
A great article to view more about Gender roles are in the link below.
Writing about gender roles of the 1950s, Betty Friedan once defined the “suburban housewife” as “the dream image of the young American woman.” Just as prescriptive literature of the 19th century geared to the middling classes emphasized women’s “true” place in society as mother and wife, the 1950s saw an ideal perpetuated in books, magazines, movies, television, songs, and ads that depicted the white, middle-class woman fulfilled only by a happy marriage.
Although it is a world-wide and historic conviction that every woman wants to be married, a great many do not want marriage. Consciously or unconsciously, many of them spend a lifetime resisting it. Hundreds of thousands of young women who have left their homes and moved to the big city in search of work and a husband have found only the work. But many others have recognized the truth—that they enjoy a man-free life—and are the happier for the recognition
Please do not misread my intentions here though. I am not encouraging one way or the other. I think that the article is best said that women “accept” they will be without a man and have a happier life for it. Though I still believe many women do better and are happier with a man in their life…that is if it is the RIGHT man. No women should stay with any man just to have one. If he is not a nice man, and treats you badly, I encourage you to take care of yourself.
What I am saying however is that just as the article states there are pros and cons of being married.
I have been married before and now it is like a boom hanging in my face that I have. Too many times of being married, no matter what the reason or how long you were married I think that men start counting the number of times it has happened. It takes a special man to look past the number and get to know a divorced woman to decide if he wants to be with her or not.
The sting that I still have is for men I have lived with and felt like I was practice for the one they truly desires to be with, only to be burned, dumped and him to marry the other gal I knew nothing about. There was a scene in Mad Men where the mother states this to Peggy when she announced she would be living in with her man…and let me tell you, there was a lump in my through and it hit hard…
Mother isn’t buying any of it. About the ham. Living together. Or Abe’s professed devotion to Peggy.
“I thought you’d be relieved that I wasn’t marrying the Jew.”
“It has nothing to do with that… You’re selling yourself short. Because this boy will use you for practice until he decides to get married and have a family. And he will, believe me.”
Yes, Peggy’s mom is hard and sometimes crazy (her advice about cats, for example). But what must make it difficult for Peggy to just cut the cord is that her mother is also devoted in her own way and actually has some down-to-earth wisdom to dole out.
And in this case, mother knows best, maybe not about felines, but about the risks of love birds moving into together and especially about the way Peggy’s handling the whole situation.
This is not to say that some of these situations end great and marriage is either never needed or some day the man finally get’s down on one knee and proposes. Sadly I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth about living together as my sister lived with a man for over 20 years and he never proposed only to later find out he was still married to his ex. As well a man I lived with during four years, ended our relationship and three weeks later proposed to someone else.
I am now with a kind loving man and we have been dating off and on for a year or so. We DO now live together and it is going well. He loves my Retro Woman ideals and I love his gentleness. I do hope one day he proposes and even thought recently an offer would be available but I was mistaken.
Perhaps I too am like Peggy , and I don’t mean Peggy Bundy, in my ideals. Love and Marriage today is sadly not how it was in the 50s and honor and trust is not as widely given as well. I guess we all can’t have 1050s housewife lives, though if it were up to me, I would. 🙂
Until next time,