Facts

1.The term "teenagers" was never used before World War II. It was new to everyone and referred to the young people of the "baby boom" - a time period (1946-1964) when young men returned from the war, got married and started a family. During this time period about 79 million babies were born in the United States.


2.During this time period, the youth lifestyle completely changed. It was a time that they rebelled against the customs of an ordinary young life.Teens were easily able to rebel against their parents with the availability of cars. The way they dressed was completely different and new than any other previous time period. Boys hair was long and slicked back and leather was the new style.


3.During the 1950's teenagers were much more laid back than ever before; they didn't take their youth years very seriously. Teenage lives were changed socially. during their free time they often attended many dances, music halls, drive-in movies etc. This new way of teenage life allowed various advertising companies to promote merchandise that would interest teens. This what their allowance was spent on. During this time their was also an increase in the number of juvenile delinquency.


4.During this time period a new form of music came up--Rock and Roll. This was a mixture of Southern Blues and Jazz. This new form of music that no one had ever heard before allowed teenagers to feel like they could relate to the lyrics-- they spoke of love and romance. Elvis Presley, known as the "King of Pop," was idolized by many teenagers throughout the United States. Not everyone enjoyed rock n roll, especially, parents. Parents believed the music influenced teenagers in the wrong ways. They felt the lyrics of romance would persuade teens to make bad decisions.


5.The public and parents tried everything they could think of to stop their children's rebellion.They wanted the teenagers to stop this rebellion and come back to conformity. Local radio stations stopped playing rock and roll and school dress codes were put into place. The novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was also banned because the main character, Holden, used inappropriate language and did what parents wouldn't approve their children doing.

PRIMARY SOURCES:


Board of Education, Buffalo, New York

January 24, 1956



BOYS
ACADEMIC HIGHSCHOOLS AND
HUTCHINSON-TECHNICAL HIGHSCHOOL
Recommended:
  1. Dress shirt and tie or conservative sport shirt and tie with suit jacket, jacket, sport coat, or sweater
  2. Standard trousers or khakis; clean and neatly pressed
  3. Shoes, clean and polished; white bucks acceptable
Not Recommended:
  1. Dungarees or soiled, unpressed khakis
  2. T-shirts, sweat shirts
  3. Extreme style of shoes, including hobnail or "motorcycle boots"
VOCATIONAL HIGHSCHOOLS
Recommended:
  1. Shirt and tie or sport shirt and tie
  2. Sport shirt with sweater or jacket
  3. Standard trousers or khakis; clean and neatly pressed
  4. Shoes, clean and polished; white bucks acceptable
Not Recommended:
  1. Dungarees or soiled, unpressed khakis
  2. T-shirts, sweat shirts
  3. Extreme styles of shoes, including hobnail or "motorcycle boots"
Note: The apparel recommended for boys should be worn in standard fashion with shirts tucked in and buttoned, and ties tied at the neck. Standard of dress for boys, while in school shops or laboratories, should be determined by the school.
GIRLS
ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL HIGHSCHOOLS
Recommended:
  1. Blouses, sweaters, blouse and sweater, jacket with blouse or sweater
  2. Skirts, jumpers, suits or conservative
  3. Shoes appropriate to the rest of the costume
Not Recommended:
  1. V-neck sweaters without blouse
  2. Bermuda shorts, kilts, party-type dresses, slacks of any kind
  3. Ornate jewelry
  4. T-shirts, sweat shirts

---- This is a school dress code from a high school during the 1950's. This is an example of how the public wanted teenagers to dress; bringing they back to conformity. However, on the other hand, the dress code hoped to put a halt on the rising number of juvenile delinquents. Girls were not allowed to wear any type of pants and boys weren't allowed to wear motorcycle boots. Also, t-shirts and sweatshirts were prohibited for both girls and boys.



baby_boomer_chart.gif

---- this is a chart showing the increase in the birth rate starting in the late 40's to the mid 60's. In the red it is easy to see that the birth rate nearly skyrocketed; it was the highest it has ever been in previous decades.

Loss of innocence and emergence of identity


Before the 1950's, young adults were very conformed and stuck to the rules of their parents and what society accepted. After World War II, young men returned home and wanted to settle down. They got married and began creating their family. This is the cause of the "baby boom," which took place from 1946 to 1964 when the birth rate in the United States skyrocketed. The children that were born during the Baby Boom era couldn't be called children because of their actions, yet they weren't quite adults. The word, "teenager" became their name. These teenagers wanted to be different and find themselves. Therefor, they said no to the conformity of their parents and yes to rebellion. They changed their outfits from proper clothing to slicked back long hair and a lot of leather. In their spare time, teens liked to go to dances, hang out with friends at ice cream parlors, and go to drive- in movies.Then, a new form of music came out; Rock and Roll. Rock and Roll defined the teenage identity; it was a new form of music that teens felt they could relate to because it spoke of romance. While these teens were having fun and enjoying life, their parents as well as the public were not at all satisfied. They felt this new change in their children would lead them to an unsuccessful life. To stop this, they pushed for rock and roll to be banned from the radio stations, and to put a school dress code into affect. The 1950' s was time of change for the youth of America that society didn't accept too well.

Citations:


Escovar, Matthew. "rock and roll.
" In Winkler, Allan M., Charlene Mires, and Gary B. Nash, eds. Encyclopedia of American History: Postwar United States, 1946 to 1968, Revised Edition (Volume IX). New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2010. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE52&iPin=EAHIX215&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 15, 2011).

Goldberg, David
E. "teenagers, post–World War II." In Winkler, Allan M., Charlene Mires, and Gary B. Nash, eds. Encyclopedia of American History: Postwar United States, 1946 to 1968, Revised Edition (Volume IX). New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2010. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE52&iPin=EAHrIX260&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 15, 2011).

Board of Education, Buffalo, New York. "Dress Code for High School Students in New York." American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?
ItemID=WE52&iPin=E14091&SingleRecord=True (accessed November 15, 2011).