If you were to sit down with your father, or grandfather – (depending on YOUR age) and ask them about life in the 1950’s, chances are they would have some good stories to tell you, that might start you thinking about living during simpler times and simplifying (or changing) the course of your own life.
The truth is that today’s baby boomer adults did not boom into existence for no reason at all. In the 1950’s the United States was coming out of the Great Depression. Marriage rates were on the rise, and divorce rates were virtually non-existent. 91% of two-parent households, which was strictly the norm back then, were led by a male father figure who worked and a female mother figure who stayed home and raised the children. The introduction of the GI bill, was also providing the opportunity for millions of young men to finally get a college education and helped them obtain subsidized mortgages, so they could own their own homes.
This era, often dubbed the Golden Years, painted a picture with a wide brush of satisfaction, content and familial satisfaction. If you have ever watched an episode of Leave it to Beaver, you can relate to the nostalgic picture of safe children riding their bikes without helmets, through American neighborhoods that defined the word community.
This may be just one of the reasons that generational differences today rank among the highest experienced in groups of living adults. While the stories of living back then may make you feel warm and fuzzy and perhaps a little guilty about the rushed nature of life today, the truth is that men have come a long way since the 1950’s. Heralded as leaders of society, during a time when women were still not able to serve on juries or even secure a loan, and most were turned down for any sort of work that was laborious – today’s men have evolved through and above the stereo typical gender lines of the 1950’s. While grandpa may not understand why a wife, a mother – would choose to leave her family in order to play corporate executive, the truth becomes brighter. Your easiest response is this. “It’s not the 1950’s anymore Grandpa, and things have changed!”
So what exactly has changed since this golden era of living?
Men today are becoming much more active in the role of raising their families. Today, there are as many as 200,000 stay at home fathers. And for the dads that work, taking care of all facets of the home and raising children remains high on the priority list in life. Even though the news is filled with reports of deadbeat dads skipping out on child support, the reality is that todays man, does more around the house, and with the children than Mr. Ward Cleaver did his entire life.
Additionally, the days of the Alpha male are seemingly over. With the evolution of woman’s rights, and the immersion of women in the work place (and in the military), the majority of men have become more open minded in regard to woman’s rights. Educational systems, previously geared toward educating men have become standardized, developing the plight of feminism as mainstream in today’s culture. The result today, is that there are millions of working mothers, many who earn more money than their male counterparts do. With two parent working households, the burden of responsibility for caring for the kids and performing the menial works of cleaning and cooking – are more often than not, bartered between partners.
Divorce rates are at all time highs. The broad picture seems to indicate that perhaps married couples were happier back in Grandpa’s day. Yet, the truth is that more women in the 1950’s suffered from depression, anxiety, and alcoholism than in any other decade of life. With very little rights to gain financial freedom, women were stuck in their roles as wife and caregiver – and divorce was quite simply NOT an option. Similarly, the rise in use of contraceptives and birth control, has given today woman more freedom to plot their future as it pertains to motherhood. Years ago, men decided how many children they would have and often did so without any regard to their wife’s feelings on the matter.
Today, with women able to earn money of their own, and the removed stigmas of single parenting, combined with the ability to control their reproductive future – women as a whole are happier. And of course, this has a major affect on men.
Today’s man has to try in his marriage and cannot rely on the moral bread of society to keep it together. Men are more respectful of a woman’s place in the workforce and in the home. And men are no longer afraid to adorn slings and baby carriers, push strollers, change diapers, and take an active role in parenting. In the long run, children are learning to see both sexes as equal partners in marriage and family. In another decade or two, the simplicity and corniness of June and Ward Cleaver will seem obsolete – and sexist at best.
Men too have gained more freedoms to evolve into who they want to be than ever before. Today, it is estimated that 5-10% of the male population is gay, with 4% outwardly and openly admitting their sexual preference. 50 years ago, it wasn’t that there were no gay men – it was the ramifications for admitting it were both dangerous and grave, forcing men into closeted homosexual activities.
The changes on society and with particular regard for men, is actually carving a healthier and happier lifestyle for today’s children than every before. The impact of the father being involved in his child’s life, for both sons and daughters, has been scientifically proven to have long lasting positive effects on the children involved. Additionally, as men emerge for their alpha male roles and meet women on the level playing field of life, happiness and satisfaction in every facet of life, from sex to employment, is at all time highs across the board!