WSQ: Gender and Culture in the 1950s
In the mainstream American imagination, the 1950s were an era of conformity when women strove to be perfect middle-class suburban housewives a la June Cleaver. But in reality, the 1950s were the decade of The Kinsey Report and The Bell Jar, of Cold War Communists and Civil Rights activism, and change for women.
In this engaging collection, cultural commentators explore the 1950s from the center to the margins—from Norman Mailer to Peyton Place, from suburban porn to Patricia Highsmith, and from Soviet women to lesbians in post-Nazi Berlin. Fascinating reviews and interviews include Alicia Ostriker on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Diane Wood Middlebrook on Willem De Kooning, and Ivy Meeropol on her documentary about her grandparents Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.