During the 20th century the role of women began to transform, breaking away from their once traditional role of the housewife, which saw women as the caretakers and men as the source of income for the family. This all began to change in the 1950’s when men went to war, leaving women to take over jobs in order for business to continue and for families to still receive an income despite the absence of men. However, when men returned women wanted to continue working instead of become housewives again. This resulted in a change for women in popular culture shown through and influenced by many magazines, books, medication, music, television programs, fashion and more. This culture change has still made a dramatic impact even in today’s society.
The change in roles for women between 1950 and 1960 were considerably different. More women started fighting for their beliefs in 1960 and this was expressed through books and songs. One of the many inspirational books for women in the 1960’s was “The Feminine Mystique” written by Betty Friedan. The book is about the widespread unhappiness of women in the 1950s and early 1960s. It discusses the lives of several housewives from around the United States who were unhappy despite living in material comfort homes and being married with children. Many protest songs were written and performed for war and world peace but one of the songs written especially for women was “Respect” by Aretha Franklin in 1967. This song was about men giving women respect when they come home from work in the afternoon. This song helped women realise the way they were being treated was unfair particularly from the line ‘All I’m asking’ is for a little respect when you come home’. This song and its popularity resulted in many women making and wanting a change.
Popular culture changed in many ways for women during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The magazine covers of the Women’s weekly magazines in 1954 and Woman’s Day magazines in 1960 both influenced and documented this shift in the roles of women. The 1950’s cover demonstrates the role of women as an ordinary housewife who is unemployed. The woman’s face and stance is showing that she isn’t happy with what she is doing and isn’t expressing herself, as she would like to. The 1960’s cover demonstrates that women were wanting to fight for what they wanted to do which was going out into the workplace and starting to work. They also wanted to become free in expressing themselves through things like hairstyles and clothes. The cover of Women’s Weekly supports the point of women catering for their husbands, through the use of a stereotypical image, being placed in a kitchen with a cookbook. This manipulates women into staying away from a career path. While the cover of Woman’s Day indicates what seems like a small change, it is in fact the major change in popular culture through fashion, which has changed many women’s opinions and feelings to the way they are treated.
One of the many lasting legacies from the change in pop culture is “The Pill”. The pill was introduced in the early 1960’s to help slow down the baby boom after the World War II. The other way to slow down population was abortion but the pill was more often used during the 1960’s. This small tablet gave women the power to avoid marriage