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Social changes in the 1950s Gender World War II had an important impact on gender norms in the United States Many white married middle class women took jobs outside the home for the first time during the war and a majority of them wanted to keep their jobs and their economic independence after the war Women of color had somewhat increased access to a wider range of employment during the war as well At the end of the war a government propaganda campaign as well as cultural commentators encouraged women to return to their traditional roles as wives and mothers never acknowledging that many women had always been employed outside the home for economic reasons Also many Americans were exhausted by the war and strongly desired a return to normalcy They sought protection from a rapidly changing world in home life and their nuclear families During times of momentous technological social and cultural change its typical for Americans to uphold traditional gender roles The postwar years saw some of the most dramatic social changes of the twentieth century and so domestic ideology the emphasis on womens roles as mothers wives and caretakers was particularly strong It was bolstered by the rise of the expert during the 1950s In the postwar years Americans increasingly relied on expert opinion especially in domestic matters nutritional experts marital relations experts child rearing experts Dr Spocks book is still consulted today and the parenting experts Psychoanalysis was gaining credence in the US including a misogynistic strain that argued that any woman not completely satisfied with her role as wife and mother was a deficient woman Cultural commentators blamed mothers for everything from homosexuality to juvenile delinquency Whats important to remember about the domestic ideology of the 1950s is that it was a response to the times Despite the powerful images and messages in the media that depicted women as white suburban housewives many women simply did not or would
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