1950-1960 18 million people moved to the suburbs.
13 million homes were built, 11 million of which were in the suburbs.
Everything was uniform; everyone had the same as everyone else and there was little to no individuality; keeping up with the Jones'.
Life in suburbia was sold as the ideal; a city job with city pay, but a private and quiet country home.
Chafe:- Forced togetherness; everyone knew everything about everyone else
Mumford:- Same class, same age group, same pay bracket, watched the same TV programmes, ate the same foods.
Keeping up with the Jone's; not fighting to be the same as everyone else, fighting to be better.
Gans and Dobriner:- diversity in lifestyle and political views
Pressure to return to the home; 75% more lost their war-time jobs than men.
60% of women married by age 24
Accepted and embraced the prescribed role of womanhood.
Neuhaus:- Pressure to define themselves as wives and mothers.
Neuhaus:- Cookery books sold for women who hated cooking- hated it but did it anyway as it was expected of them.
Johnson:- made their husbands happier by cooking him a good meal than by being smart.
Friedan:- women dyeing of cancer refused potential cures as the results were said to be unfeminine- more value on keeping up appearances than longer life.
Some women did enter/ stay in the workplace, and it was the combined wages that gave the family middle class status.
Exceptions; black women and lesbians had very different experiences to white, middle class, suburban housewives.
Friedan:- repressed, opressed and miserable. Stress related illnesses.
Neuhaus:- documents discussing how women should behave don't necesserally show how they did behave- show tedium of idyllic perfection.
Neuhaus:- pop culture, e.g. TV programmes show contradictions and uncertainty about ideal gender roles.
Pro-Conformity; other points
McCarthy-ism. Paranoia and fear of the enemy within- you're a bit different, does that mean you're a communist? HUAC reinforced conformity.
Church attendance doubled; to be un-religious was to be un-American
Rise of the Teenager
Young delinquency and moral panic- The Catcher in the Rye.
Teen pregnancy; 1957, aprox. 10% of 15-19 year old girls had given birth
1945-1955, 80% increase in the number of out-of-wedlock babies given up for adoption
Increase in numbers of divorces, cases of alcoholism, and prescription medications for issues such as depression.