The Expectations of the 40s & 50s
Maddie Witt, 1
During the late 40s and early 50s, teens were constantly bombarded with images and advertisements that portrayed success, family expectations, and conformity. These messages in the media could have a powerful affect on a teenager's emotions and behavior. For example, teens could easily become insecure over their physical appearance. In the advertisement representing success, the model was attractive and put together with nice hair. In the yearbook photo, as well, all of the girls had nearly identical hairstyles and dressed in very similar, conservative attire. If someone did not meet these expectations, they could feel as if they do not fit in or will have trouble building a future for themselves. This theme was shown in the hair tonic advertisement, which connected unattractiveness with failure and attractiveness with success and relationships. In addition, teenagers may feel upset over their family relationships, since the families that typically appeared in the advertisement were shown getting along perfectly, both siblings and parents. A teenager may have conflicts with their parents or might not get along well with their siblings, leaving them feeling as if they are growing up in a less loving household or make them feel guilty for not building such close relationships. Also, the advertisement showed a family on vacation. If one's family could not afford to travel, they may begin to feel jealous and upset that they cannot afford such luxuries. Overall, these "ideals" are nearly impossible to achieve in reality. It is easy for an advertisement to put a smile on the faces of the models, but no teenager is going to ever feel like they have achieved their perfect self. No matter what they change or how they act, they will still be left wishing for a better yet unachievable version of themselves. Flaws are always present, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or involving relationships. With all of these expectations and guidelines drawn by society, teens may decide hide their unique characteristics in order to conform to the rest of their age group. Eventually, they could lose all sense of self and individuality.