1943-- "We Can Do It !" became the government's rallying cry to entice American women to fill the factory jobs now left vacant by the men off fighting in the Second World War. An iconic painting made of an actual Westinghouse factory worker, Rosie the Riveter symbolized women's new roles as workers in munitions plants, shipyards and airbases throughout the country. Through posters, newsreels, ads, radio and jukebox, the government's "Rosie" campaign successfully got millions of women to enlist in the war effort on the home front and thousands to train for "women's" jobs in special branches of the armed services. Watch the "Rosie the Riveter" song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE2z_N1fM5E
1950s-- Rosie the Riveter (the iconic WWII heroine who could build a fuel tank or even commandeer a factory) gave way to housewives so delicate they could barely open a bottle of catsup. The manner in which women were portrayed in the media reflected the nation's need for women of the 40s to man the factories and for women of the 50s to make a nice home for their man.
1955-- "Be happy to see him. Free him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your passion to please him... Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up and put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people..." As millions of housewives took such advice as gospel from Good Housekeeping, Redbook and McCall's, a growing number would eventually become frustrated with lives that revolved around happy husbands, gleaming floors, and well-fed children. The commercials of the day showed that women--while vacuuming or waxing the kitchen tiles-- should be doing so with hair "done," a sleek dress, adorned with a clean apron and string of pearls. That way she'd be ready to greet the "head of the household" when he walks through the door, and as this piece describes, be ready to "make him comfortable...to have him lean back in a chair... and offer to take off his shoes."