.School- Schools in the 1950’s were very different for teenagers then nowadays. Schools enforced strict rules, and many students were reprimanded by expulsion. Rules such as chewing gum, raising your hand, and having neat hair, for boys cut above your ear, were strict rules back then. After High School teens were encouraged to attend college and seek a successful career. School were still much divided as well, African Americans were still looked down upon. Because of the Baby boomer generation of a million students were able to call themselves the first “Teenagers”. The biggest issue in schools was the segregation of whites and blacks. Until 1954 a policy of “separate but equal” gave blacks an opportunity at educational experiences. This segregation also started Brown vs Board of Education; a very popular Supreme Court case. Schools would usually not have dancing because it would encourage boys to hold hands with a girl while dancing and the adult society did not approve of the Rock n’ Roll music that would have been played.
A teenager growing up in the prior to the end of WW II was forced to take life fairly seriously. Males were expected to join the services or to go out get a job, help support his family or a new bride. Women were expected to meet a man, marry and have children. College was for a select few. Teens had limited freedom, not much economic power and little influence in decisions made by the older generation. They acted responsibly without demanding freedom as payment.
The term “teenager” was scarcely heard at the start of the 1950’s, but by the decade’s end, the word rolled off every American tongue with ease. The teens of the ‘50’s were the first teen-aged youths to stand out as a distinct group with interests, fashions, musical tastes and economic power of their own. Their rise to prominence was largely because, unlike the youth of previous generations, the youngsters of the 1950s were unencumbered by responsibilities brought by world war and economic depression. In the 1950s, America was as prosperous as it ever had been; the morale of the white middle-class was high, and parents, smilingly indulgent. For the first time, young people had both the money and the freedom to do what every generation of teens since has expected as its right: have fun.
In the 50's expectations for teenagers changed. With a booming economy, parents could now help their children achieve more then they themselves had. More parents insisted they finish high school and paid for them to go to college.The parents generation had gone through both a depression and a world war that made them acutely aware of the most important things in their lives; the people they loved most and their happiness. Parents began to not want their children joining the arm forces and were more indulgent of their whims.
.Fashion- The 1950’s was a good time of fashion, people began being risky and going of their comfort zones.
Teenagers began to become influenced from magazines like Vogue; which focused on fashion alone. Teenagers were divided into Preppies (girls) and greasers (boys). Greasers wore leather jackets and denim jeans, which was influenced by Rock n’ Roll idols such as Elvis. Greasers had to have hair cut above their ears. While Preppies wore full skirts with large appliqués or pleaded skirts. Girls usually always had a neat look. The sailor girl was a popular outfit as well. With skirts on the bottom Preppies wore scoop neck blouses, cardigans, or tight polo shirts. Some preppies tried to be even riskier by wearing a white quarter sleeve shirt with a scarf. Trends such as the over sized sweaters and turn ups were also big during this time. Teens going to special events wore narrow ties, and always appeared groomed before leaving the house. Teens looked at fashion of a new way of expressing themselves much as we do today.