Teenagers in the 1950's are so iconic that, for some, they represent the last generation of innocence before it is "lost" in the sixties.
“The marriage prescriptions of the 1950s could be summed up in one sentence: It was mainly a woman’s job to foster a happy marriage and steer it away from divorce.”“Rather than a step toward marriage, going steady became an important coming-of-age ritual in itself.” As we previously discussed in 7 Characteristics of Going Steady, the 1950s marked a shift in dating culture.
Whereas a competitive dating system dominated the 1930s as we previously mentioned, ’50s youth opted to date one person.
In some sense, it mirrored the marriage craze of the time.
“Going steady had become a sort of play-marriage, a mimicry of the actual marriage of their slightly older peers,” wrote Beth Bailey.
“One boy, in a letter to the dating column in Some of the ways going steady mimicked marriage included giving a girl a class ring and the practice of pinning.
When a young fraternity gentleman pinned a girl, it meant serious commitment. Spurlock writes in his book Along with a peak in marriages, came a swell of baby making.Towards the late 1940s, marriage rates, most notably in America, reached peak levels. As author Beth Bailey notes in her book , “…the average age at marriage plummeted.In 1890, the average age at marriage had been 26.1 for men, 22 for women; by 1951 men were marrying at an average age of 22.6, women at 20.4.” Couples often married before finishing college.The large Baby Boomer generation came out of this era, with “more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off.” happened, the average woman married around 19-20.“In those days, a man had to marry a woman in order to have sexual access. Hormones often won the day so there were a number of out-of-wedlock births then but not nearly as many as there are today.” stated. And society has no right to stand in their way.” The 1950s was an era of birthing.Previous convention said a chaperone was needed in order to engage in courtship, but these "wild young people" (as one publication referred to them) bucked tradition.