The role of husbands in the 1950s

Written by lindsay pietroluongo
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The role of husbands in the 1950s
Gender roles in the 1950s were different from gender roles today. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Gender roles dictate how a person behaves, particularly when in a relationship. Gender roles are determined by society, cultural influences and a person's own experiences. Gender roles have changed throughout the years. What was common in the 1950s, for example, is no longer common today in a majority of households. Husbands today act much differently than they did years ago.

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In the 1950s, most husbands had attended college or vocational training. Their educational background afforded them the opportunity to find a job. Receiving an education or job training was highly important, since husbands from this era were expected to be the primary bread winner and support their families. Unlike today, families in the 1950s could survive on one income -- society didn't experience the financial pressures that it does in modern times.


Providing for the family was a husband's main job, and husbands in the 1950s did little else in terms of family life. They weren't expected to do any housework or cooking. While they were a role model for their children and encouraged their kids, particularly their boys, to have a good work ethic, husbands during this time did not take care of their children and tend to their needs. Instead, wives were expected to handle everything in the house, including raising the children. Even today, with both the husband and wife working, the husband typically has far less to do with housework and taking care of the kids than the wife does.


During the 1950s, religion was of high importance to both men and women. Husbands would take their wives and children to church on Sunday. Often, husbands would take their families for a drive after church. Regardless of the weather, men dressed in a suit jacket and tie in order to attend mass.


During the 1950s, many husbands were drafted and had to go to war. It was of the utmost importance to them to have a job waiting for them upon return. Working hard, maintaining their job and securing their future was the number one priority. When husbands went off to war, it was common for their wives to have to find a job, even if they had children to raise. After the war, many women who had enjoyed working wanted to stay in the job force, but their husbands encouraged them to return to the household.

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