Modern life has improved since the 1950’s. This period is quite memorable for a lot of things, the more famous of which being the flared trousers Elvis Presley, the icon of rock and roll and pop music, brought into style. There were many positives and negatives of living in the 1950’s, but it is clear that modern life has been a great step forward from those times. Firstly, the general aspects of life such as money, crime, racism and drugs, were viewed very differently in the past. Secondly life today may not be as simple as the 1950’s, but huge leaps have been made in technology, medicine and education.
Finally, the word ‘community’ has developed a very different definition to the past, as we have overcome the racial, religious and gender inequalities that separated us as people; modern life has improved in leaps and bounds since the 1950’s. In the 1950’s certain aspects of life including money, crime, racism and drugs, were viewed very differently compared to the modern day. Petrol prices could be found on the McDonald’s loose change menu, and a kid could go down to the corner store, empty his pockets and buy the groceries before walking the way home safely.
Drugs and smoking were regarded the same way we would a morning jog today: harmless and good for the system. Racism was just a part of life: the blacks sat at the back of the bus, the whites at the front, and that was that. Nowadays, if petrol was that cheap, the earth would be run dry and pollution levels would greatly increase due to mining and car exhaust. Crime rates may be much higher than the innocent 1950’s but along with with the higher stats the modern police force is further advanced and more successful than the past.
Racism is still a part of our lives, but there is a general understanding that no matter the colour of our skin, we are equals, and opportunities for ‘blacks’ have been improved far beyond better seating positions on buses. Thank goodness times have changed – while we may not be living as simply as before, the modern day is aware of saving the planet, good health and human rights; other areas of living have also been greatly improved during the last half century, especially education, medicine and technology.
The frontiers of science and technology have taken education and medicine far beyond what the 1950’s could have dreamed of. Without internet and mobile phones, the 1950’s must have been a quiet life: but consider the fact that technology today is enabling our world to communicate faster and better than ever before. Most schools have access to computers, such as Friends, with each individual person owning a laptop that is vital for their education. Education can now be more efficient and fun with the new technology spreading world-wide.
A leap in technology is supporting a huge economy and has opened up many job opportunities as well as developing frontiers such as science and medicine. Polio scares rocked the 1950’s with over 257,455 related deaths, but thanks to medicine advances nowadays polio is just a term many people confuse with a pool game (Marco Polo! ). In the 1950’s the life expectancy was much, much lower than it is today – is that a wonder with the many cigarette adverts that declared the health benefits of smoking?
Medicine has been advanced to the point of bringing people back to life after death, and is often one step ahead of what nature throws at us. This is evidence that modern life has improved greatly since the 1950’s; but our culture has also developed to be stronger, more equal and empathic than the 50’s. The definition of community has greatly evolved since the 1950’s: community in the 1950’s went by the motto love thy neighbour, except the neighbours who don’t believe in your religion or those of different race; the term community in the 21st century is referring to equals who share their culture with one another.
Children stayed children for longer in the 1950’s, neighbours new everything about each other, a hello was said to every passer by on the street and it is said there was never a greater time of peace than in those years. However, amongst the idealistic community life, it was black and white: literally. Blacks were discriminated far beyond what is accepted in Australian communities today, with over 50% of families living below the poverty line as a result of racism.
Without the many new laws and rights other races are now entitled to (that have developed since the 50’s), many people would still suffer unjustly, and blacks would still sit at the back of the bus. Religion could lower your worth just as quickly as the colour of your skin: schools only taught by the Bible, and ‘good’ people believed in the Christian faith. Discrimination against women was also still in practice. An obedient wife was not to be unished, but the occasional wife-beating was completely in-line with the law. The phrase ‘kitchen bitch’ may have originated in the 1950’s, where the women were expected to work around the house, doing the everyday chores such as cooking for their husbands. Many women did not begin to demand recognition for their rights to work until much later, and in modern times, women are regarded as equals in Australia. The 1950’s were the calm ‘after’ the storm, the storm being World War II.
Peace may be a word which is almost lost to the entire world, with conflict present at all times in many countries, such as Iran and Afghanistan. This may be the only aspect of life that has worsened since the good ol’ 50’s, but even so, the countless improvements to our beliefs, everyday life and sense of community balances this issue. In conclusion, though the 1950’s are remembered as a peaceful, simple and straight-forward period of time to live in, behind the scenes racism, lack of knowledge and inequality ruled.
Modern times have greatly improved on these factors and many others since the 1950’s, with gender equality, medicinal knowledge, and new technology being just a few of the more major developments. Nevertheless, the past was vital in shaping our daily lives and culture today, and it’s impossible to brand the 1950’s as a wasted part of our history; our modern world evolved out of the 20th century. It is clear to see that life today has greatly changed since the 1950’s, for the better.