Essay on A Modern Twist on a Traditional American Family Ideal from the 1950's

Essay on A Modern Twist on a Traditional American Family Ideal from the 1950's

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Depictions of families in the 1950s were extreme in a myriad of ways. The notion of a “nuclear family,” in which a husband, wife and their children were considered the smallest unit of our society, became incredibly popular. Husbands and wives each seemed to have particular roles and duties from which they couldn’t stray. The husband, of course, was a working man responsible for bringing money to the household. His wife worked on something else: their household itself. She cleaned, cooked, and decorated. She bought groceries and clothing for everybody. She watched their children, fed them, and took care of them. In the 1950s, advertising advocated these roles and these roles alone: straying from them was rather unthinkable. The “nuclear family” had a facade of perfection, hiding any troubles within. To challenge it was to ostracize oneself. More than half a century later, notions of family have loosened considerably, but the influence of the 1950s lives on. In the attached advertisement from 2011, Coca-Cola supports its consumeristic goals by presenting a modern twist on classic 1950s family ideals via a brazen acceptance of the negative effects of its products.
The most obvious continuation of 1950s ideals is visible in the familial roles presented in this contemporary advertisement. The person pushing the shopping cart is presumably a woman; even though her face is obscured, she is dressed according to modern maternal stereotypes in a light pink sweater and skinny jeans. This is a direct continuation of the 1950s ideal of a mother handling grocery shopping for the family. In addition, she has a child with her, evoking the role of a mother in childrearing. The mother seems to have taken her daughter on her errands with her, which...


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...e for irresponsibility and error within a family, albeit subtly so as not to ruffle too many feathers. In this way, Coca-Cola presented an advertisement that, while updating 1950s ideals for our modern world, managed not to stray too far from safety. In this way, their ad can build trust and encourage consumption of their products.

Works Cited
!
Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. New York, NY: Basic, 1992. Print.
!
Ehrenreich, Barbara. The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1983. Print.



Works Cited

Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. New York, NY: Basic, 1992. Print.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1983. Print.

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