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Lecture 6

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HIST 2800
Linda Mahood

HIST*2800-01; Feb.27/13; Manhood Pg. 1/3 Lecture 6 “I Spelled Marriage_”M-I-R-A-G-E”: - Written by company (Lysol) - Article about feminine hygiene problem - Probably written closely after the end of WWII - Aimed toward a housewife o Mentions that Lysol can be used to “guard your family against infection” - Women at this time would have gone to the experts over their problems o It was seen as backwards if a women went to friends, mother, mother-in-law, sisters for advice The 50’s: The Way We Never Were - The North American 1950’s family saw themselves as ideal/living the ideal life that the world envied - People were domestic and family-focused - The 1950’s housewife was made to feel guilty if she didn’t do everything herself (cooking, cleaning, child-rearing) o Very different from Victorian women who had maids look after their children and clean - Media talked about how women could be completely useful in the 50’s o Women worked in munitions family, on the land, in the air force - War showed how easily the gender division could be altered or changed o Also showed how men could be easily immobilized to leave their families and go to war - When the war was over, it was time for people to settle down o The media reconstructed the image of domesticity and the proper role of men and women  The women as soft, sweet, and feminine  The men as reliable o Men couldn’t be unemployed so women returned to the home to be housewives - The notion of The Cold War and fear of strangers, spies, and communists were big in people’s mind o People were encouraged not to trust strangers o Family was supposedly the only place where people were genuinely safe Welfare state: - Government has the responsibility for the well-being of all its citizens: ‘from the cradle to the grave’ o Unemployment benefits o Family allowance o Income supplements for the poorly paid o Old-age pensions o Comprehensive medical care  Made it easier to have children o Free education  State-paid-for education o Public housing 2/3 - A lot of these welfare state benefits were seen by people as rights - The housewife’s responsibility was to spend the money provided by her breadwinner-husband to support the family - Assumption that childhood was the preparation for marriage, and marriage was for people to settle down, produce and raise children The Family in the Media: Narrow Ideal of Adulthood - In the early 1950’s, Canadians envied the American Dream and lifestyle - The images of people in 50’s sitcoms are caricatures of people - Fantasy of the perfect family where eventually everyone will be happy o There will always be little problems to solve o Capture people’s imagination - Movies were different than sitcoms o Sometimes presented marriage and family as living hell  Sexual frustration, parental anxiety, adolescent rebellion, loveless marriage, alcoholism
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