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Social Norms of the 1950s and 1960s

            The 1950's is known as a sterile, homogenized, consensus-driven society. This image, however, changed in the period of 1952 to 1966 when America experienced a shift in the social norms and civil unrest. Social norms between the suburban families and middle class families changed as well as stereotypes and the mass media and popular culture. .
             After the war the suburban population in America was changing increasingly. The 1950's mostly consisted of small towns and suburbs as shown on page 823(Document A). This is due to the statistics stating that 37.5% of the population lived in rural or small towns and 35.5% were suburbs. Although these numbers suggest that a large amount of the population lived in most of the middle class families who lived in a suburb struggled to maintain those houses. These families could not rely on a single income so most women had jobs. This meant that the mothers would be at work all day and the children would have to be in some sort of child care or left at home. This meant "latchkey" children and an increase in child delinquents. Women were given jobs in low paying positions with no chance of moving ahead. Many women, both at home and in the work place, were college educated. This can be seen in Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique when she explains how uncomfortable she felt being at home all the time with a college education. although she loved being a mother she felt that her education was a waste, and this feeling was shared among many women. Women no longer thought about the family unit the way it is depicted on page 882. .
             Stereotypes are all around, and many of them involve gender and race. White males were given the most opportunities, well above women and African Americans. This lack of acknowledgement lead to the civil rights movement and the feminist movement. Starting with the African Americans, who had no rights until Lincoln, started to see the light at the end of the tunnel when Kennedy was elected.

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