Conformity in the 1950s
During the post WWII period in America, the face of the nation changed greatly under the presidency of Truman and Eisenhower. America underwent another era of good feelings as they thought themselves undefeatable and superior over the rest of the world. Communism was the American enemy and American sought to rid the world of it. Because of the extreme paranoia caused by Communism, conformity became an ideal way to distinguish American Culture from the rest. Conformity became a part of every American Life to a large extent. It became evident through the medium of culture, society and politics throughout the era of the 50s.
When WWII ended, Americans were left in the hands of Harry Truman. Known as an aggressive Cold War fighter, he led Americans against the rise of Communism. Spurred by McCarthyism, he initially began to discharge suspected Communists within the government. Due to fear of being blacklisted, Eisenhower, the proceeding president, was reluctant to confront McCarthy. The Red Scare of the 1950s was thriving and the presidents waged war against foreign Communist powers in order not to be accused of being sympathetic towards the opposition. They conformed to public opinion and shaped politics in America into a Cold War.
The public conformed towards the American Dream. Everyone wanted a home in Levittown, a car, a television set and a functional nuclear family. To be different from the norm put Americans in danger of being blacklisted as Communists. Low-interest mortgage insurance provided by the FHA made it possible for returning GI’s to start their own families. Cars also came at incredibly affordable prices as well. Suburbia became the center of social conformity and became the ideal for American culture.
On the social aspect, women returned to the weak and demure image of helpless women. “Momism” became the term to describe the ideal household women in the 1950s. As always, men dominated the suburban household. People once again became religious in fear of being accused otherwise. Female sexuality became a shocking issue of the 50s. With the moral of Christian culture, premarital sex and other lewd acts were shunned from society.
The post WWII era lives up to its reputation of conformity through its cultural, social and political aspects. Communism and McCarthyism became a major force behind the drive towards conformity. The American Dream was formed in the suburban household and the role between women and men differed greatly in the social facet.