1940S Life for Teens

By: Lucy B., Annabel W., David A., and Grace V.


Conformity for teen in the late 1940s is extremely obvious to anyone looking through a school year book of that time. Everyone was dressed in the same manner; girls wore a skirt and a blouse or a dress and boys wore jeans and a light shirt with a belt or a buttoned down shirt and a tie. Boys were expected to have there hair neatly combed, just long enough to have a part but not long enough to look unkept. Girls all had the same hair which was shoulder length and curled. When looking at pictures of girls from that time their hair all looked the same color. Activities that girls and boys did were gender specific. Girls did choir while boys did stage crew. Girls did cheerleading while boys did sports. If a girl did sports she did tennis or field hockey. See how in the picture everyone looked the same. They had the same hair, smile and posture. Most of all everyone had to act the same way. When ever a picture was taken you had to look happy, on a date you had to be happy, if a problem presented itself you were happy to solve it.


In the 1940s, there was one main way to be successful: be happy. In every picture of an "All American Family" shows a wealthy businessman at the head of the house with a loving housewife and a couple of healthy smiling children. For a teen, being happy meant following the standard society put on them. Teens had to do well in school as well as doing the stereotypical activities for there gender and succeeding in them. Once they had that that they must find a good looking and "perfect" person for them to date and help around the house. Success ment following all so societies stereotypes.

More examples of "Success"

Thesis: Life for teenagers in the late 1940s was one of always being happy and acting to everyone like life was perfect.


Family life for teens in the 1940s and early 1950s was one on constantly trying to fit in to societies expectations. Everyone was expected to play a certain role and act a certain way. See how the mother in this picture cooks and cleans while the father gets to relax after getting back from a long day at work. They are fitting into the perfect American family stereotype. The mother cooked, cleaned and cared for the children. The father went to work. The daughter helped the mother and went to school. The brother went to school and helped the mother occasionally. The children listened to there parents and we're polite. No one acted as if they had problems. Everyone listened to father and did what he said. That's just the way it was done and nobody questioned it.


Life Magazine: March-April 1947

September-October 1950

New Trier Year Book: