The average white-middle class suburban housewife and her two kids, a boy and a girl, supported financially by the father in his business suit, reading the paper over waffles and orange juice, is unhappy. At school the rambunctious boy gets dirty, plays baseball while his sister and her friends, in little skirts, play house with dolls, a miniature stove, washing machine and car. When he masturbates, he is told it is ok, when she, at six, is caught under the bed with one of her boy friends, the column in the paper says it is just a stage. They need to explore this now. Tomboys are forced to sit still, wear blouses, learn to cook. Young boys are encouraged to be competitive, it's said that the lack of a strong mothering can lead boys to homosexuality. Welcome to the nineteen fifties, where nothing is what it seems. .
"How can a guy grow up in a circus like that?" drunk, James Deans character, Jim, in Rebel without a Cause, leans up against the window, looking in on his mother and father and grandmother, fighting as soon as the door closed and pretending to be hunky-dory when it opens. "You"re tearing me apart." When you squeeze in on all sides, something's got to give. The social pressure bearing down on all sides, influenced by the media, by the press, touted in the ladies home journal, if you just do this, you"ll be happy, if you just buy this soap, this house, this washer and dryer. Then you will be a good American, and America salutes you. The Image of Rosie the Rivetter was replaced by Rosie the aproned bed-folder and dinner-maker. People felt stuck. And the teenagers knew it, could feel it around them, changing the world that their parents were trying so hard to hold in place, that their parents tried so hard not to understand. Jim's parents, having been rushed to the precinct from the country club, the mother is seen as this source of pent up anger, passive aggressive frustration, yet in the next scene she is serving waffles in a yellow apron before sending Jim off to school, his parents, not knowing what to do or how to do it, tried to follow the media and the newspaper columns and what the "experts" said.