ESSAY: Women of the 1950s

Explain the role of women in 1950’s American society. What were they expected to do? What kind of work did they perform? How was this idealized lifestyle supposed to be a weapon in the Cold War? Be sure to use Richard Nixon’s “kitchen debate” in your answer as well as the idea that home became the center of freedom.


Women of the 1950s
            The 1950s American society favored the family structure, including bearing children and advancing the institution of marriage, and it became part of the main national objective and agenda. In part, as a culture war, the Cold War became the center of the struggle for the American family. The 1950s America was became known for its conformity. According to Eagly et al., the 1950s, is a conformity period, involving both men and women observing strict gender roles, while complying with the expectations of the society. Following the devastation of World War II and Great Expression, a lot of Americans sought to establish a prosperous and peaceful society (McCarthy 273). However, even though some gender norms and roles were forced socially, the conformism of the 1950s was not extensively portrayed, and it was evidenced by discontent behavior boiling beneath the surface of what appeared to a placid and peaceful society. Although the expectation was that women would identify primarily as mothers and wives, they continued to establish a huge proportion of the postwar workforce. Additionally, the 1950s saw significant changes in sexual behavior patterns that resulted in the ultimate “sexual revolution” of the 1960s (Shatnawi and Fishback 543). The focus is on the women role throughout the 1950s in the American community and society, their expectations, the work they performed, and how the idealized lifestyle was expected to be a tool of destruction in the Cold War.
Women Roles in the 1950s
           The 1950s saw women feel immense pressure from the society to focus a lot on their goals to get married and settle down. The rate of marriage in the United States was skyrocketing, and couples were striving to tie the knot, and the average age of most couples was low than ever before. As much as women exhibited varying goals and aspirations, the main agenda the media and culture promoted in this era was that husbands were view as important for most women than their academic qualifications (Eagly et al. 5). As much as the employment rates rose for the female gender throughout the decade, contemporary media paid a lot of attention on the role of women at home. For instance, women were expected to be married already at age of 25 failure to which they ran the risk of being terminated as “old maids” (Summerfield 15). 
           The Americans taking part in World War II between 1941 and 1945 saw women stepping up to fill up the men’s roles considering a lot of men

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