In the 1950s, the stereotypical female was expected to fill a role that was awfully repressive and constrictive. Many standards were placed on women in society so that they were expected to behave as proper wives and mothers. The “perfect” woman was supposed to be “a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife,” (A Woman’s Role in the 1950s) while the men were to work and provide for their family, as well as make all the important household decisions. This role was harshly advertised, via subliminal or intentional methods in various media sources. Explicit examples of this would include the advertising directed towards women in this time period (See – Figure 1). It gave women a very clear idea of what they were supposed to be through the products that they were being shown in various ads on the TV and newspaper. They constructed their own social identities around it, despite what they may have actually felt or wanted to do with their life. There were also various TV shows that would depict life as a normal “American” family (i.e., The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet – see Figure 2) where the woman would be the typical mother a...
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...ime!” and while this can be taken as a simple joke, can also be quite offensive. She’s having children, as she’s supposed to but still gets criticism for that as well.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof brings up the important issue of the mistreatment of females in society, especially in the 1950s. Through the history of the era, the description of the female’s various roles from the play and how they were treated, we see a general description of how women were supposed to be according to their male counterparts. While this play and this essay concerned the ideas of the typical female in the 1950s, parts of it are still true for today’s society but it’s not all bad. Luckily, using plays like this that include this type of treatment, we can make a comparison between this play and current situations and see how far we’ve come in terms of equal treatment for all genders.
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