The role of women in the 1950 was repressive and constrictive in many ways. Society placed high importance and many expectations on behavior at home as well as in public. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles,
Such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife. The perfect mother was supposed to stay home and nurture so society would accept them. A diligent housewife had dinner on the table precisely at the moment her husband arrived from work. A wife was a "good" wife only if she carried out her man's every order and agreed with him on everything. In fact, even if she wanted to voice an opinion, he education, or rather lack of thereof would not allow it. Another reference is the 1950's American High School Home Economics textbook. An essay found in the book is entitled "How to be a Good Wife." The television shows aired at this time reflect the publics need for stability and conformity. The main character of the most watched show at the time, I Love Lucy, portrayed a woman as the stereotypical woman-in-distress, who always needed her husband, the man, to bail her out. She also was symbolic of the inept woman: the "woman driver," the "over-spender" who cannot budget, and the basic downfall of man. Pleasantville's Betty was an appropriate example of a 50's mother. Following is an excerpt that applies to motherhood. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are God's creatures and he would like to see them playing the part.
Minimize all noise…eliminate the noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Every morning, she woke her children up, cooked breakfast for them and sent them off to school. The breakfast however was far from the cereal and milk often enjoyed today. This was feast that consisted of towers of
Pancakes, piles of eggs, and platefuls of bacon...