Consumerisum in the 1950's

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Wilks 1 Stephanie Wilks His 1050 Sec 201 April 10, 2010 Roland Marchand and Kelly Schrum: Critical Analysis of Consumerism Post WW II American was a place full of optimism and fear. The American people had survived 20 years of depression and war to find new prosperity and an increase in mass production of goods and services that improved quality of life. This meant better times for Americans, but fears over the Cold War, threat of an evermore intrusive American government and loss of individualism existed as well. These high expectations and anxieties played a great deal into how people consumed. Eventually these factors combined with aggressive advertising marketing, with the help of media (mainly TV), led to the emergence of a whole new market, teenagers. In Roland Marchand's “Visions of Classlessness” and Kelly Schrum’s “Making the American Girl”, the authors discuss the factors such as, effects of television, mass consumption, and increased income, which led to this new markets and some of the problems that came from it. In “Visions of Classlessness”, the main point that Marchand's make is that after WW II American people envisioned a society where class was no longer an issue. Everyone would be on an equal level with an equal opportunity to achieve as much as they wanted to. Instead of this “dream of a technological utopia” (Marchand, 102) becoming a reality, “the postwar world bought bureaucratic complexity, cold war insecurity, and a shrunken sense of individual mastery” (Marchand, 98). These feelings cause people to turn to popular culture to have a sense of

Wilks 2 personal control. Popular culture worked to give a sense of classlessness, or homogeneity as Marchand puts it. Radio, newspapers and television, “an even more powerful agent of of common popular culture” (Marchand, 99), worked to “nationalize and homogenize” (Marchand, 100) the American people to make everyone believe that they too were riding a new wave of prosperity, even if they really...
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