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Was life better in the 50s 60s and 70s?

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Was life better in the 50s 60s and 70s?

Answer:
Actually, this is a question that cannot accurately be answered. Whether one era or another was "better" depends on whom you ask. For example, some people think the "good old days" were always better, because these people are not happy with their current life, so they think the past was superior to how things are now. And a case can definitely be made that in the 50s or 60s, life was simpler, people were more innocent and less suspicious, there was more of a sense of community, neighbors knew each other, and some modern problems like AIDS did not exist.

But consider some other perspectives. In the 50s, America was still segregated. If you asked a black person trying to get into a good college or seeking a nice neighborhood to raise a family whether the 50s were better, he or she might say no, since minorities were still excluded from many schools and many neighborhoods. In the 50s, gender roles were very rigid as well. Women were expected to marry and have children, and if they wanted a career, they were expected to give it up after marriage. Some women felt very torn about this. Also, even those women who did have a career did not make equal pay and they did not have equal opportunity-- as with black people, many professions were closed to them, and the professions that did welcome them (teaching, nursing, secretarial or office work) tended to be low-paying. The 50s were also the era of the "Red Scare" and of McCarthyism; in that era, conformity to a conservative worldview was considered patriotic, and those whose views were considered "too liberal" were accused of being Communists. And while there were a number of medical breakthroughs, children were still getting diseases like polio and a cure for childhood leukemia was considered impossible.

But on the other hand, the 50s were the era when the popular culture began to change, as baby-boomer children wanted their own music, rather than the Big Band music their parents liked. Rock and roll was new: Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly and doo-wop music ruled, and young people loved to listen to radio and hear their favorite disc jockeys. Television was becoming the most popular mass medium, with many new programs and stars for parents and for kids. The economy was strong and many people were able to move to bigger homes, own new cars, and buy the newest consumer goods. if you asked those people, they probably thought the 50s were a wonderful time to be alive.

The 60s were an era of great social change, when protests over Vietnam, differences of opinion over civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights first began to emerge. For some people, the popular culture of that era has never been equaled-- the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who; the beginnings of album rock on FM, the increased popularity of black music and black-formatted radio stations; "flower power," psychedelic drugs (and tie-died clothes); new freedoms and weakening of traditions about how to dress or what to believe. But here too, it depends on whom you ask-- many members of the clergy found the 60s to be an era with too much freedom, too many drugs, too much promiscuity, an increase in divorce, and a breakdown of gender roles. They were not alone. While many young people embraced the "do your own thing" attitude of the late 60s, there were many traditionalists who found the 60s too be an era of excess. (And even some people who loved the music and loved the new opportunities for women and minorities worried about the drug use and the promiscuity.)

The truth is that there is good and bad in every era, and while life was better in some ways, in others it was lacking. Today, we can communicate more quickly than we could in the 50s and 60s-- contacting a friend in another state meant an expensive long-distance phone call, and contacting someone overseas often meant sending a letter that could take days to arrive. A service like WikiAnswers would have been unthinkable back then; if you needed an answer, you went to the library (which is still a good place to go), but you could not find information unless the library was open, whereas now, the library has some of its databases online and information is available at all hours. Back in the 1960s, only the military was aware of the possibilities of what would later be called the "internet"; today, millions of people can access the internet and seek information from a wide range of sources.

To sum up, it is impossible to say that life was "better"-- but it certainly was different. There were exciting aspects of each decade, and disappointing or discouraging aspects of each decade. The same can be said of this era we live in; and sometime in the future, some person will undoubtedly be asking, "so, was life better in 2011 than it is in our time?"

by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM
Replies (11-20):
ms-superwoman
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I was born in 90... sooo BUMP!

Paperfishies
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:07 PM
2 moms liked this

Fashion was better in the 40's, 50's and 60's.  No one wore their fucking pajamas out in public and people actually had pride in and put effort into their appearance.

thecoffeefairy
by Bronze Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM
I think Ancient Rome was pretty awesome. The present is pretty amazing too. Ray kurtzweil suggests we may be able to live practically forever one day due to technology growing at an exponential rate.
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IhartU
by Gold Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:17 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting Paperfishies:

Fashion was better in the 40's, 50's and 60's.  No one wore their fucking pajamas out in public and people actually had pride in put effort into their appearance.

 I totally agree with this. People took pride in their appearance back then and most just can't be bothered with that today.

Paperfishies
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM
2 moms liked this

Men wore suits everyday, even if they were just going shopping...Women wore dresses, did their hair and makeup.  I would have LOVED to have lived in the 40s, fabulous clothes, fabulous shoes, fabulous furniture. 

Now it's like people cant even be bothered to brush their damn hair before they leave their house. 


Quoting IhartU:

 

Quoting Paperfishies:

Fashion was better in the 40's, 50's and 60's.  No one wore their fucking pajamas out in public and people actually had pride in put effort into their appearance.

 I totally agree with this. People took pride in their appearance back then and most just can't be bothered with that today.


 

Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

My great grandmother did not like being a wife in the 50's.. it made her bitter and hateful (she would tell us, daily, that she did not like us and my cousin Brendan was the only one who would amount to anything)

*shrug* other than that, I am a child of the 80's and 90's.. lol

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM
2 moms liked this

My mother said that the 50s were full of adults who were raging alcoholics and would then drive everywhere. Without seatbelts. And when you royally fucked up, you tended to not go to jail for it. 

I'd say things are a bit bettler. 

caito
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM

It was a different world. Just like the 90's were a different world, the decade when I was a kid. I think people are nostalgic. They harp about the good ol days, but were they really good? Murder, rape, violence, alcoholism, racism, drug use, car accidents, war, domestic abuse, child abuse...it all happened and it was just as prevelant as it is now. I don't know why anyone would want to go back to the 50's or 60's. For one it's impossible with technology the way it is now. And segregation? NO. My husband I wouldn't have been legally allowed to marry had we been born back then.

Bigmetalchicken
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM

All of my elderly relatives have said the fifties were great, and the sixties were when the nation started to go down the toilet.

mikesmom65270
by Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 2:33 PM
2 moms liked this

Every time period has both good and bad.  I grew up in the 50's and 60's, had my kids in the 70's.  Some things were better in the 50's and 60's in some ways, but there were ugly things hidden behind the facade, more prejudice, segregation, heavy restrictions on women, very rigid ways of dressing and behavior, polio and other diseases, the threat of nuclear war, etc.  Some things are better now, less restrictive but in many ways things are too loose morally and too lenient in many other things.  Now is a good time, even with all the bad things in the world.  If you did not live through those times, you probably have an overly optimistic slant on what it was really like. 

 

 

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