Back Before The Sixties

Some interesting observations today from Judith Warner about the current fascination with late 1950s/early 1960s America, on television (Mad Men) and in the movies (Revolutionary Road):

"Unlike the baby boomers before us, we “baby busters” of the ’60s never rebelled against the trappings of domesticity represented by our images of the 1950s. Many of us, deep down, yearn for it, having experienced divorce or other sorts of family dislocation in the 1970s. We keep alive a secret dream of “a model of routine and order and organization and competence,” a life “where women kept house, raised kids and kept their eyebrows looking really good,” as the writer Lonnae O’Neal Parker once described it in The Washington Post Magazine."

"The fact is: as an unrebellious, cautious, anxious generation, many of us are living lives not all that different from those of the parents of the early 1960s, yet without the seeming ease, privileges and benefits. Husbands have been stripped of the power perks of their gender, wives of the anticipation that they’ll be taken care of for life."

As with all of Judith Warner's columns, the Comments about them are always worth reading too:

"My life as a 50s and 60s housewife was quite pleasant, although we managed on far, far less than the two-income homes of today. Married women today have a mountain of debt to worry about, now that their husbands are unemployed.It couldn't last--the grandiose culture that so many women expected to enjoy. Self-indulgence has led so many ordinary couples to financial ruin, despite the wife's second income. Expectations of self-fulfillment have been far too high."