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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 (41-50):
lga1965
by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:52 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting romalove:


Quoting GLWerth:

Bet you're sad that you don't get the groovy orange shag carpeting though! :)

 

Quoting romalove:

Better is a relative term, as is pointed out in the article.

My husband thinks the 70's were the best.  

I like parts of each decade.  I think in some ways we had less security but felt more secure.  We've put layers and layers of security and parenting on our kids but I think it's made a lot of them neurotic instead of making them feel empowered.

I'm glad not to have avocado and harvest gold appliances.

 

 

I was into white flokati rugs.  :-)

 OOOH YES!  we had two white Flokati rugs. It was so fun finding missing items in them!We "combed" them with a plastic rake!

My color schemes ...olive green, yellow and white. Ahhhh the 70's.

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:57 PM

 I was a kid through the 70's and loved it :-)  We lived on three different continents and life was different everywhere....but man it was great!

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:57 PM

The house we're in now had that in the living room when we moved in. You can bet how sad I am now to have bare oak floors :D

We have tri-colour gold carpet in our playroom. You wanna booby trap a carpet with pins and needles, it's totally the way to go!

Quoting GLWerth:

Bet you're sad that you don't get the groovy orange shag carpeting though! :)


Quoting romalove:

Better is a relative term, as is pointed out in the article.

My husband thinks the 70's were the best.  

I like parts of each decade.  I think in some ways we had less security but felt more secure.  We've put layers and layers of security and parenting on our kids but I think it's made a lot of them neurotic instead of making them feel empowered.

I'm glad not to have avocado and harvest gold appliances.




lga1965
by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 7:59 PM

 

Quoting IhartU:

 I think people look around them and tend to see only the negative and the older people wax nostalgic about the good ole days and it makes the younger people think it was better back then when it was really same shit different decade.

 That's true! Each decade has had shit and good stuff too.

I can't pick one that is the "best".

In the 50's there was so much discrimination against blacks and Jews and everyone was so uptight. But it was a lot more peaceful then when I was a kid. We didn't have a TV until I was about 10 years old. Our home was quiet, music playing, my mom and dad reading, I would be drawing or reading, , my brother made "houses" from Block City in the evenings and playing outside in good weather.....NOW DAYS, there is too much noise, too many overstimulated kids due to huge TV's, loud music, video games, X-Box,etc..

But I was  quite happy with all of the decades. They all had their good points.

Stephanie329
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM
For white males, those decades were better.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:07 PM
1 mom liked this

I agree!

I wasn't around for the 50s, although I know a lot about it, I was barely alert for the 60s, but I remember the 70s ... 

Because I liked the 'quiet house' you describe, my kids grew up like that, too. I've known people with the tv and radio (and game systems and someone on the phone, etc...) on at the same time, and I hate it. So we didn't have that.

We had a small house, a single tv in the same room as the only stereo. I turned things off habitually... still do. It's one of my favourite things about dh going to work: turning the radio off.

Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting IhartU:

 I think people look around them and tend to see only the negative and the older people wax nostalgic about the good ole days and it makes the younger people think it was better back then when it was really same shit different decade.

 That's true! Each decade has had shit and good stuff too.

I can't pick one that is the "best".

In the 50's there was so much discrimination against blacks and Jews and everyone was so uptight. But it was a lot more peaceful then when I was a kid. We didn't have a TV until I was about 10 years old. Our home was quiet, music playing, my mom and dad reading, I would be drawing or reading, , my brother made "houses" from Block City in the evenings and playing outside in good weather.....NOW DAYS, there is too much noise, too many overstimulated kids due to huge TV's, loud music, video games, X-Box,etc..

But I was  quite happy with all of the decades. They all had their good points.


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:10 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting Stephanie329:

For white males, those decades were better.

 I honestly would of hated being AA in those years....I dont know how they made it through :-(

Stephanie329
by Platinum Member on Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM
1 mom liked this
Same here. My grandma was a civil rights activist in the 50's and 60's. She told me about life during segregation (she was white), and the picketing she participated in. I learned a lot from her and miss her very much.
Quoting turtle68:

 


Quoting Stephanie329:

For white males, those decades were better.

 I honestly would of hated being AA in those years....I dont know how they made it through :-(

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
hockytwndhampyr
by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Yeah it was easier to be a stay at home mom back in the 50's, 60's and even the 70's. And I hear you on being born "after my time". My dad use to tell me the same thing too...only I was born in '72 and he said I should have been a teen/young adult in the 70's not a kid. But I still love the 70's...the music, movies, fashion, and cars, especially muscle cars...I use to have little white knee length boots as a kid, now I wear them (only in black now) as an adult. Most of my clothes now lean toward a 70's feel. Which does make me a interesting looking Goth lol. 

That being said, each decade does have its good and bad things. The 80's were not too bad either. I was actually glad when 2000 came cause I really did not like the 90's, except for the births of my two boys and my niece. Though I do miss my grandparents 70's kitchen and the green carpet that they use to have...my grandpa just recently ripped up the last strip that was in the hallway. 


Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:

I have always been told I was "born after my time"... I like the music of the 50's, movies from the 50's, and I feel like I would have fit in better as a wife.

Living now I am often looked down on for being a stay at home mom. I get nasty remarks when I tell people that I make dinner for my husband every night and do his laundry, etc.


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Jan. 18, 2013 at 9:14 PM

 Youre grandma must of been tough...I dont doubt it was an easy ride for her either.  I was third last in a line of 35 grandchildren...my nana barely knew my name LOL...I was hey you YOU with the blue eyes LMAO

Quoting Stephanie329:

Same here. My grandma was a civil rights activist in the 50's and 60's. She told me about life during segregation (she was white), and the picketing she participated in. I learned a lot from her and miss her very much.
Quoting turtle68:

 


Quoting Stephanie329:

For white males, those decades were better.

 I honestly would of hated being AA in those years....I dont know how they made it through :-(

 

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