Reading Response #2
What We Really Miss About the 1950s
Stephanie Coontz, the author of “What We Really Miss about the 1950’s,” delivers a polemical analysis of what was really going on during that period of time. Coontz claims that it could be misleading to have nostalgia for the 1950’s and subtly suggests that readers think about the ways in which the 1950’s led to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Using strong and logical facts, she reaches out to an older/mature audience to express her own opinions and takes time to assess both sides of the argument with an open mind approach. She is not necessarily taking sides, but merely discussing the relevant points and factors that contributed to the attitudes, values and beliefs in this time period.
When looking at poll statistics by the Knight-Ridder news agency (pg 32), more Americans chose the 1950’s than any single decade as the best time for children to grow up. Although the nostalgia of the 1950s is vastly strong in some people, some fail to notice the negativity and reality of it.
Coontz first argues that the fifties were not the best, because of changes in values that effected racism and sexism discrimination against women. Unlike we do now, the fifties did not offer equal rights but offered less rights to people. Coontz speaks of the reality of poverty, racism, and sexism as an effective means to portray what a true existence was like in the fifties.
Coontz then offers the standpoint of why people saw this as a positive, optimistic era as it was a time of change and success in the face of all the social problems of the thirties and forties. Coontz suggests that it really was a good time for a lot of Americans because the country was coming out from World War II, so people were happy about victory. She explores the attitudes and behaviors of people forming families, buying first homes, and the desire for community involvement. Coontz reinforces this by reminding the...
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