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Why are the 1950's remembered as an age affluence?

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1950s: A Prosperous Decade: The 1950's was the most prosperous decade because of the war time economy because WWII got the U.S out of the Great Depression and the recovery of Japan and Europe allowed them to start trading with the U.S which also boosted the U.S economy.. We were continuing to build up our military and industrial complex due to the Cold War. Wages and savings accounts were at an all time high because there was nothing to spend money on before and after the war people were dying to spend money. 60% of people made it into the middle class. Era of Conformity: This decade was known as an era of conformity because everyone wore the same clothes, ate the same foods, and drove the same car. Everyone had the same shared experiences (i.e the depression and the war). There was an emphasis on nuclear family because people were concerned about security and stability; this leads to suburbia The Rise of Suburbia: The buildings of Suburbia led to a better economy. Why was it popular? Everyone who can afford a car can afford to drive to work due to the auto culture (which helps lead to the construction of the interstate by Eisenhower). Suburbia reinforced conformity; the houses all looked alike and everyone was driving the same cars, had the same appliances, same jobs, and the kids all went to the same school. Loss of feminism and emphasis on the nuclear family and mass consumerism: Women almost forgot about feminism. Women were marrying younger to prevent pre-marital sex. The ideal number of kids was 4 (which results in the baby boom). The separate sphere's ideology was embraced. The credit card was born in the 50's. TV helped mass consumerism as well; they portrayed images of middle class lifestyles and used commercials. Consumerism was another way to conform. The Auto industry also boomed again. McDonalds was also born due to the auto industry. Challenging Conformity: Some of those who challenged Suburbia and conformity were Alfred Kinsey, Playboy, Rock and Roll, the Beats, etc. Biologist Alfred Kinsey studied human sexuality. He discovered that ½ of all women had sex before marriage and 25% of women had affairs. 8% of his students were homosexual or had a homosexual experience at some point. Playboy appeared in 1953. Marilyn Monroe was on the cover of the first issue. Hollywood promoted dual images of women (either the housewife or the sex kitten). The 50's were not affluent for everyone. Minority groups were not living in suburbia which aids in segregation and the ghettos continue to grow. Rock and Roll is born from rhythm and blues and country. People needed a white man to move and sing like a black man, Elvis was their answer. People often felt that Rock and Roll was a communist conspiracy. Parents feared that rock and roll would morally corrupt their children. One of the main figures of the Beats was Jack Kerouac. It came from them feeling "beat down" from the book "On the Road" he wrote while traveling. Allen Ginsberg wrote the poem "Howl" in 1955. He cursed in the poem and talked about sex, drugs, booze, music, art, etc. The government confiscated his books out of stores and tried to take them against the Supreme Court but it was overruled due to freedom of speech. The beats rejected materialism of the 1950's and they were trying to be unique instead of conforming. They were rebels against suburbia.
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