A Woman’s Ideal Life

Although during the 1950s, women began working more outside of the home and began to expand their horizons regarding the roles of modern-day women, the suburban lifestyle movement dominated. In the ideal suburban family’s household, the male still held the most authority and was considered to be the representative of the household because he still made the most money. A suburban female was supposed to be a stay-at-home wife. Various media pushed and glorified the married life for females. Marriage was portrayed to be the top priority for women. Advertisements portrayed wives working at home and doing household chores as extremely happy in the stay-at-home role.


The Demand for Suburb Housing

By 1960s, suburban residents of single-family homes outnumbered urban dwellers and those living in rural areas. The shift of population from cities to suburbs created an enourmous demand for housing. During 1950s, the number of houses in US doubled, nearly all of them built in suburbs. William and Alfred Levitt, who shortly after the war built the first Levittown on 1200 acres of potato fields on Long Island near NYC, became the most famous suburban developers. Levittown’s more than 10000 houses were assembled quickly from pre-fabricated parts and priced well within the reach of most Americans. The building of one of such houses shown in this video. Levittown was soon home to 40000 people. Levittown was the first truly mass-produced suburb and is widely regarded as the archetype for postwar suburbs throughout the country.


Happy Go Spending World


One of the most important elements of the economic growth in the beginning of the golden age sets back to the rise of residential construction and the spending on consumer goods.  The erupt demand for housing, television sets, home appliances and cars, transpired from a population shift from the cities to the suburbs. As Foner has stated, “By 1960, suburban residents of single-family homes outnumbered urban dwellers and those living in rural areas.”

The film above illustrates the cultural differences from urban and suburban residents; alluding the viewer a cherry image of suburban life with its color motion, where as, depicting the urban life with black and white motion. It also portrays the consumer culture of the time, targeting young adults that derives for the demand of a new kind of marketing. Like the film stated, it was a “happy go spending world.” Shopping malls were created in their image, building in fountains, statues, restaurants and free standing stairways. The stores also included many banks, loan offices and rental plans.