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Old 10-04-2011, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 658,273 times
Reputation: 862

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
Hmm, I agree with you regarding the draft, but otherwise, no. Few women had choices at that time. Corporate ladder? Are you kidding me? In 1968, I worked in the local bakery. Females worked the counter, guys worked as bakers. Perfectly legal. I made less than minimum wage (not so legal.) I wanted the damn jobs that were advertised under the "male-white" column in the employment section of the local newspaper.

Housewife? Way too much work for no pay / no social security. I would like to have been one of the guys. Work 8 hours, maybe go out for a few beers with my buddies after work and go home to a nice home cooked meal. Sounds great to me!

Edit: I just remembered a true 50's story that illustrates my point. Mom went into labor and apparently things did not look good. The Doctor went to my Dad and and told him that it was possible that he, the Doctor, could only save my Mom or the baby. Dad was asked to choose and he complied. THAT is a perfect example of a woman's life in the 50's.
I think you may have been a minority in your thinking back in the 50's. Boys & girls were conditioned at an early age to prepare for their roles in society. Boys toys were designed to make them tough and prepare them for their roles as breadwinners. While girls toys were designed to prepare them for the role of housewife & motherhood. The conditioning continued on through high school. Very few complained because that was the expected societal roles. Women found their worth through the successes of their husband. In order to guarantee that success, women prided themselves on maintaining an impeccable home and taking care of the whole family. Men found their worth in how well they could monetarily provide for their families. Today, it takes 2 paychecks to maintain what people describe as a middle class lifestyle. Although a middle class lifestyle 50 years ago did not equate to what people think they need today. Women are probably not maintaining that impeccable home or taking care of the family as in the old days but are busy working outside of the home in addition to doing 90% of the household chores. Life today is certainly much better for women who grabbed the opportunity to pursue professional careers, but for those who did not, life in many ways may be harder today.

We recently had our 50th year high school class reunion. On the website many people submitted classmate profiles. Most of the people were married for 40+ years to the same spouse. The men went on to say that they became professionals in a variety of careers. The women wrote that they were retired or still working as teachers or nurses. Some of the women said they are getting great pleasure in babysitting their granchildren. After 50 years, some things remain the same.

It was not until the early 70's that women began to fight for equal rights. Considerable progress was made but it does not seem to me that the young women of today appreciate that effort. Especially watching the parade of bimbo untalented actresses and the ridiculous reality shows that the young seem to crave. Maybe I am just getting old.

By the way, I loved growing up in the 50's & early 60's. It was a simple time filled with simple pleasures. As kids, most of us were not aware of the injustices in our society that soon took center stage as we came of age.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,220,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamish Forbes View Post
Is it not true that many women had the option of staying out of the workforce? I knew many who chose to do just exactly that, and did just exactly that. In fact, I knew quite a few women who had a really good life in the 1950's. Although I am sorry that things didn't work out so well for you in those days, I think from reading some of your other posts that you are now an attorney. So I guess things worked out Ok for you in the long run.

You asked for my thoughts, so I told you. Really, I don't care at all whether you agree or not -- to each his own concerning a very subjective matter. At some point a discussion like this becomes a religious issue.

By the way, in 1968 I worked in the produce dept of the Giant Food one block off Loch Raven Blvd near Belvedere for about $2.00 an hour and no benefits -- not all that much different from working in the bakery, I imagine. I handled a lot of rotting produce. Have you ever dealt with a cart full of rotting 25-pound watermelons? The idea that white males woke up each morning and said to themselves something like "well, today should I be a captain of industry, or should I be Fleet Admiral?" is beyond ridiculous. Also, I would like to see a copy of the Baltimore Sun from 1968 that listed jobs under the category "white males." I read the Sun in those days, and until I see convincing evidence to the contrary I will continue to believe that this is nothing but pure feminist bunk.
Did you EVER see the columns segregated by gender and race? I think it's more than interesting that you don't remember this.

In terms of law school, I did not attend until I was 39 years old. I have experience as a full time homemaker and a full time employee. The full time homemaker gig was much more difficult than the full time employee gigs. Back then, homemaking really was 24/7.

In 1968, $2/hour was great. Thank your union (and my father.) But how did you not earn benefits? Were you a part timer? (I'd swear you were one of my three siblings if it were not for the fact that they worked at Giant in the deli, bakery and cashier. I was the only child who missed out on the Giant gig and, in two instances, the subsequent pension. No regrets here, though) I worked at a small, local bakery (part time and full summers) through 1970. Then off to nursing school.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,220,203 times
Reputation: 6866
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
I think you may have been a minority in your thinking back in the 50's. Boys & girls were conditioned at an early age to prepare for their roles in society. Boys toys were designed to make them tough and prepare them for their roles as breadwinners. While girls toys were designed to prepare them for the role of housewife & motherhood. The conditioning continued on through high school. Very few complained because that was the expected societal roles. Women found their worth through the successes of their husband. In order to guarantee that success, women prided themselves on maintaining an impeccable home and taking care of the whole family. Men found their worth in how well they could monetarily provide for their families. Today, it takes 2 paychecks to maintain what people describe as a middle class lifestyle. Although a middle class lifestyle 50 years ago did not equate to what people think they need today. Women are probably not maintaining that impeccable home or taking care of the family as in the old days but are busy working outside of the home in addition to doing 90% of the household chores. Life today is certainly much better for women who grabbed the opportunity to pursue professional careers, but for those who did not, life in many ways may be harder today.

We recently had our 50th year high school class reunion. On the website many people submitted classmate profiles. Most of the people were married for 40+ years to the same spouse. The men went on to say that they became professionals in a variety of careers. The women wrote that they were retired or still working as teachers or nurses. Some of the women said they are getting great pleasure in babysitting their granchildren. After 50 years, some things remain the same.

It was not until the early 70's that women began to fight for equal rights. Considerable progress was made but it does not seem to me that the young women of today appreciate that effort. Especially watching the parade of bimbo untalented actresses and the ridiculous reality shows that the young seem to crave. Maybe I am just getting old.

By the way, I loved growing up in the 50's & early 60's. It was a simple time filled with simple pleasures. As kids, most of us were not aware of the injustices in our society that soon took center stage as we came of age.
No, I'm not that old. I know that I became fully aware of the discrimination in the 60's. I was a reader and a "thinker." My mother was highly intelligent and I still think it's a shame she didn't have the opportunity to go to college and pursue a career outside the home.

I think that the younger generation, in general, is unaware that the core values of the feminist movement was choice and autonomy.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:27 AM
 
2,912 posts, read 3,551,245 times
Reputation: 4103
Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
Did you EVER see the columns segregated by gender and race? I think it's more than interesting that you don't remember this.
We seem to be unusually interested in each other's newspaper recollections! I would like to hear more about your claim of remembering this kind of segregation in 1968, presumably appearing in the Baltimore Sun, after the civil rights legislation of 1964. Again, I would like to see some evidence that this is correct. Until then, Bunk!

Also, it would be good for to you clarify the situation regarding Social Security that you mentioned above. My understanding is that housewives did indeed get SS, and still do, under the provisions of spousal benefit and survivor's benefit, subject to some "time-to-tenure" conditions for failed marriages.

The central point of our disagreement, however, seems (to me) to concern the goodness of paid employment. You would seem to suggest that this was a great prize that was maliciously withheld from women in the 1950's, whereas I would claim that paid employment is a life-diminishing pain-in-the-ass (hence the interest in early retirement so often seen today) that many women were shielded from and had the option of avoiding.

Greeks of a philosophical nature in the time of Pericles often addressed a paid employee as "Slave." Such was the condition of men in the 1950's (and also before that, and also today), but not necessarily the condition of women in the 1950's. Therefore, in my opinion, women had a better deal in the 1950's in some ways, as I claimed earlier, and this specifically is one of those ways.

You may now have the last word of our chat, if you so choose.

Thanks, and best regards (honestly) -- HF
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Kenmore, WA
7,492 posts, read 6,479,621 times
Reputation: 10932
My mindfulness training has taught me the delicious splendor of this moment, and gives me no time to look back or forward.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,747,361 times
Reputation: 32309
Default Race and gender designations in want ads

I was born in 1944 and lived in St. Louis until 1958. It's funny how we can "forget" some things that we haven't thought about for a long time. The mention of a white/male column in the want ads was therefore jarring to me. I thought, "Oh damn, I vaguely remember that!" We have come so far from those times - such a thing is just so impossible to imagine today.

A related example, which I have always retained more clearly in memory, is the white and colored signs on drinking fountains at gas stations, and the existence of three restrooms: "Men", "women", and "colored". St. Louis was too far north to have those, but when we took road trips to visit our grandparents in Lousiana we would see such things as we traveled further south. Those are childhood memories, of course. I do not remember when the racial designations for restrooms and water fountains disappeared. Nor do I remember how far south we had to drive before seeing them; it's possible that this practice even existed in southern Missouri. But it was certainly prevalent in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,356,004 times
Reputation: 1159
I grew up in Canada, so my experience is slightly different. Completely white-bread, small town near Toronto. We had one black family who were neighbours of mine, and only the father was black. He was an esteemed member of the community, and all his kids were smart, privileged and loved by all--the first boy I ever kissed was one of the Whites (yes, their name was White). But I did not knowingly meet a Jew until I went to university downtown in 1966 (we apparently had a Jewish girl in our high school but she hid this fact.)

Yes, I had a bucolic childhood with incredible outdoor freedom. But my parents were desperately unhappy in their marriage, and divorce was NOT an option. We had one divorced mom who worked in the local general store, and her daughter grew up a pariah because her mom was divorced. In fact my husband, who grew up in DC, was also a pariah growing up because his mother was divorced.

Choices for women were very limited. I should have been an engineer (I have the mind of one), or a doctor, but was steered away from the sciences by my guidance counsellor, despite having high IQ scores. In those days, it was: nurse, secretary, teacher, housewife. I actually did work as a secretary after university until I broke into IT and got where I was intended to be, career-wise.

And when I say "white-bread", I could also say "meat and potatoes". No ethnic food--no pizza, no chinese, no yogurt even. Let alone rye bread. Hardly even garlic. My mom had learned to make spaghetti sauce from an Italian lady in Montreal and she made that--that was the most ethnic things got. Again, until I started hanging around downtown Toronto in the late 60's--then I discovered falafels and Hungarian food.

And my father, who worked like a slave to support us, died at 55 of his 3rd heart attack--no bypass surgery, no angioplasty, no cholesterol-lowering drugs, nothing but digitalis and nitro.

So no thanks, I like things the way they are, although that bucolic childhood freedom was great.
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Old 10-05-2011, 08:56 AM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,246,556 times
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This thread brought back a memory from the late 60's for me. A friend posed a "brain teaser" to me and half a dozen female friends, all good students at a very good school. We puzzled over it for a long time. A couple of us made lame stabs at the answer, which we knew weren't correct, but we were baffled. Here is the question:
A man and his son were in a very bad car accident. They were rushed to the ER. The man was dead on arrival but his son was taken into surgery. The surgeon took one look at the boy and said, "I can't operate on him. He's my son." How could this be?
A half a dozen well-educated young women in the 60's couldn't answer this question, even after thinking about it for several minutes. Can you? How long did it take you?
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
3,088 posts, read 4,681,466 times
Reputation: 1609
Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
Would you mind explaining how you came to this conclusion? Thank you.
My mother was a lower middle class / working class woman, who suffered terribly during that time. She was also educated, but chose to follow societal norms by staying at home with her 3 children until all were in High School. She was desperatly lonely for the company of other educated people in her life, and suffered from both post partum depression and inherited depression, for which she could get no treatment, due to the stigma placed on "mental dissorders" at that time. As my father, who quit scool before getting an 8th grade education, due to the death of his father, and the need to help support his mother and brothers, was a low wage earner, and financial stress (sometimes very extreme financial stress) added to these problems. These thing combined to make her a "less than wonderful" mother, who sometimes took her feelings out on her children. It was only in the mid / late 60's when she got a real professional job, and became, again the person she was meant to be
There were many wonderful things about that time. . . .anyone who knocked on our door and said he was hungry, was invited in for a meal, we did not lock our doors, our neighbors were close friends and interacted with us as "family", a condition that persists to this day. . . . but I would not trade our much more complicated and stressful lifestyle for that one. . . .if there was only a way to have the positive aspects of that time, without the discrimination, fear and secrets that were also present, . . . . . . oh well, daydreaming again!
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:26 AM
 
Location: East Coast
2,903 posts, read 4,585,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwanderer View Post
Yes, I had a bucolic childhood with incredible outdoor freedom. But my parents were desperately unhappy in their marriage, and divorce was NOT an option. We had one divorced mom who worked in the local general store, and her daughter grew up a pariah because her mom was divorced. In fact my husband, who grew up in DC, was also a pariah growing up because his mother was divorced.
My mother-in-law was divorced in the early 1950s...my father-in-law was cheating on her, and his girlfriend became pregnant. I remember her telling me what a scandal it was back them to be divorced, so sometimes she'd tell people she was widowed, as that was more "acceptable".

Seems like the rosy glasses of the "way back machine" help people forget that it wasn't always so idyllic living back in the '50s.
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