American Freedom: Credit Cards and Empowered Women

In the 50’s, people gained new freedoms in a variety of ways. One way was the creation of credit cards. With these handy little things, people now had the option to put off payments for a period of time. This made it difficult to conceptualize the amount of money you were spending, whereas when you had to take out cash and count it dollar by dollar you were more careful with it. In some ways, instead of freeing people this completely imprisoned them– in debt, and in their impulsive need to shop. It helped promote consumption however, and freed people from the chains of frugality. This was a new innovation that paved new ground for the future.

Another way Americans– and more specifically women– gained freedom was by, well, actually gaining freedom. Figures like Marilyn Monroe basked in their sexuality and made it okay for women to be less conservative and restrained to their traditional, submissive, quaint roles. However, this was not necessarily something new; the flappers of the roaring twenties were the socially recognized group of women to be more sexually open; so, in a way, Monroe was just perpetuating what had already been born into American culture. However, it was still a relatively new freedom that women were experimenting with.

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