If you’ve ever read my blog, you probably already know I tend to throw myself into things.
Between my husband, my son, and I we own at least 20 Star Wars shirts, and in the last year I’ve acquired 3 Star Trek shirts and a costume. (Side note – I also own a Leia’s Bikini, but I’ve never worn it.)
So, after watching the first 2.5 seasons of “Mad Men” in less than a month, I’ve become a little obsessed with the 60s again. I’ve loved the 60s for a long time – starting in high school For one, there was my obsession with Marilyn Monroe (which I suppose is more 50s than 60s), my love of 60s tv and music, and even fashion and style.
However, watching “Mad Men” has given me a peek at that world and even though it is just a tv show, there are several things I’ve gleaned about how life would have been in the 60s…
1. Everyone smoked- They smoked at home. They smoked at work. They smoked in restaurants, cars, hotels, and airplanes. Which meant everyTHING smelled like smoke – furniture, cars, carpet, clothing, hair, skin, and breath. Blech. I have a really bad reaction to being around smoke, so living in that time period would have surely given me full blown asthma. Women smoked when they were pregnant.
2. Women had to really fight for what they wanted – Women were expected to work at home, and those who did work outside the home were mostly secretaries, teachers, nurses, or air hostesses. Those who did work their way up to something considered a “man’s job” made much less and had to really be her own advocate. And I know that women still fight for equality today, but it’s a very different world for a woman today than it was in the 60s.
3. Being gay was like having the plague. I feel like today we’ve come so far, even though we still have a long way to go. So many people were closeted because they were afraid of being who they truly were, or what would happen to them if they were out.
4. Segregation. I can’t wrap my head around separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, seats on the bus, lunch counters… Horrible. Again, I know that things aren’t perfect, but they aren’t like the 60s.
5. Men were pigs. I hope that “Mad Men” universe is exaggerated, because the way men treated women was awful. Women were objects, plain and simple. Women were expected to show off their assets and be open to being hit on (or worse) by men at all times. I’ve been treated like crap by guys, but being told what is wrong and right with my body by some man I just met is ridiculous.
6. Everyone was drinking and driving. I don’t suppose there was really a law for that. In one episode they do test Don’s blood alcohol level, but he’s merely fined. I can only imagine there were a lot of accidents on the road back then.
7. Later in the decade, the threat of our young sons/brothers/husbands going off to war was very real. The thought of my son going off to war would paralyze me.
8. People smacked their kids – and other people’s kids. If one of my friends or relatives smacked my kids I would turn into the Hulk.
9. 60s underwear. What the women wore on a daily basis blows my mind. It actually looks pretty sometimes, but boy does it look uncomfortable!
10. Medicine. Watching Betty Draper give birth sounds just like my own mother’s experience in 1969 – horrifying. Being so drugged up you don’t remember giving birth, waking up with a baby in your arms you’ve never seen, having to do it all yourself while the husband waits in the waiting room (probably smoking), and using awful instruments like foreceps? No thanks! Add to that the fact that doctors smoked while working, things weren’t as sterile, and technology and knowledge in general was lacking. I have no doubts that if I gave birth to my children in the 60s, I might have one child with big health problems and all of my children would have lost their mother after the third child was born.
So, I’ll still watch my shows from the 60s, listen to 60s music, and occasionally wear something inspired by the 60s, but I’ll continue to be glad to live in the decade that I do.