A “crisis” of masculinity?: changing gender roles in the 1950s American family

Mavrommatis, Harriet (2014) A “crisis” of masculinity?: changing gender roles in the 1950s American family. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This study examines the social environment of the 1950s that was characterised by containment, conformity, and conservatism. Suburban America epitomised middle-class family values and articulated traditional gender roles. This dissertation will draw on the significance of television family sitcoms and advertising in sentimentalising family life. As traditional understandings of masculinity were becoming more accustomed to the consumer society, critics feared that masculinity was in a state of “crisis”. Men were expected to fulfil their obligations as breadwinner in order to provide a stable family life against the threat of communist subversion. But as men fantasised about a life outside the confines of marriage and suburbia, it was perceived as an attack upon the American family.
    This study will challenge the popular assumption that the 1950s was a time of peace, affluence, and compliance by shedding light on the fact that rebellion was more prevalent than previously thought. It exposes that non-conformity was seen as both gender failure and a threat to traditional family values when placed into the context of anti-communist hysteria.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 08:56
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:41
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/15548

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