The Canadian Teenager

In postwar Canada between 1946 and 1963, teenagers enjoyed their family’s prosperity and security, and developed their own unique subculture with music and movies as their voice. After the Second World War, the Canadian economic boom was driven by primary industries, high growth in the construction industries, and the production of consumer goods. There was a revolutionary social change with new music, new values, and new expectations. Teenagers formed their own identity and became an influential subculture.

Prosperity is the condition of being successful or thriving, especially economic wellbeing. Security is the state of being free from danger or threat. By the 1950s, only one-third of Canadians were classified as poor. Prosperity was driven by increased growth of primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, mining, fishing, and industries that harvest raw materials or natural resources. There was a high demand for products in these industries in Canada and for export. The construction industry boomed to build houses, offices, schools, factories, mines, subways, and highways, also increasing prosperity. There was a rise in manufacturing for the consumer market. Employment and wages were high, therefore buying a house and going to university was now a possibility for many people. Families were then able to purchase luxuries such as televisions, cars, record players, and portable transistor radios. The prosperity and security of postwar Canadian families enabled teenagers to become a youth subculture in society.

Canadian families were more affluent and provided their teenagers with more money and freedom. Young people adopted their own unique clothing styles such as the motorcycle look, the collegiate style, and the hippie style (4). The youth culture in the 1950s and 1960s was most identified with rock ‘n’ roll music. Teenagers related to songs that were meaningful, energetic, and less restrained. Radio stations played top 40 hits and the sales of 45 record boomed. Youth had money from their parents or part-time jobs to buy records and portable transistor radios so they could listen to music anywhere. However, rock ‘n’ roll music was alien to parents and the gyrating dance performances scandalized many people. The preacher in the video, “1950s preacher vs. rock n roll music & Elvis”, claims rock ‘n’ roll is a contributing factor to the juvenile delinquency of the day (1). He lectures that he knows how the music makes one feel, and describes the evil feelings when being sung. In contrast, a teenage girl was interviewed; who thinks the music is marvelous, limbering, and loose. The adults felt insecure about the influence of the rock ‘n’ roll music on the youth. They believed it was encouraging them to become juvenile delinquents. The music provided teenagers with a unique independent voice, which their parents’ generation could not relate to.

In 1953, only ten percent of Canadian households owned a television and by 1965, ninety-three percent owned a television (3). Television offered entertainment and a window to the world for Canadian teenagers. Prosperity had also given youth the funds and freedom to go and see films at theaters. One of the first films to represent teenage culture through their eyes was “Rebel Without a Cause.” This film was very popular because it was focused on “teen angst.” The main character, Jim Stark, was a teenager from a middle-classed family who experienced controversy with family, knife fights, and turbulent romance, in which many teenagers could relate to (2). The tension between Jim and his father was something that families were experiencing, as the new teenage subculture emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. Prosperity and security gave Canadian families the ability to give the teenagers more materials but left the adults insecure about overindulging youth and compromising their morals.

The prosperity and security of postwar Canada positively affected the youth of the 1950s and 1960s. This group of society, which had been marginalized, now had an influential voice. The increased money, freedom, and luxuries allowed the youth to become a distinct group with their own morals, music, and movies.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Moving away from home was the tempting thing to do, especially when your new home isn’t so welcoming. New Canadians (teens) felt this way coming to Canada and had to face numerous obstacles in settling into their new surroundings. New Canadians did not enjoy prosperity and security, because many teens were isolated from each other, their interactions were limited, and there were penalties teens who broke these laws.

During the years between 1946 and 1963, restricting people’s interactions was quite common. In the article the prisoner of love, Chinese people were isolated from Canadian citizens. In fact, there was a law within Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia which stated it was illegal for Chinese or Asian businesses to hire white woman. White woman who engaged in relationships with Chinese men were looked at as “worse than being a prostitute”. Velma Demerson knew this better than most. She was a victim of alienation due to her unlawful relationship (marriage) with a Chinese man. Mr. Yip (her husband) came to Canada and this was not a positive aspect to either of the two, 4 years after the Chinese immigration Act had been passed in 1915. One day while eating breakfast Velma’s father arrived at her house with two officers to arrest her, subsequently separating her from her husband and family. Ultimately, this act of isolating foreigners had a negative impact on everyone with families being broken. Prosperity and Security were far from reality for New Canadians, Teens, and families of mixed nationalities.

In addition to these difficult legal circumstances, there were social challenges that faced Velma and her Chinese husband. Velma knew that strangers and friends looked at them differently, and this bothered both of them. Velma wasn’t allowed to interact with whoever she wanted to, according to society at the time; she had to be told who she could socialize with (not that anyone wanted to). This was made even more difficult that Chinese weren’t allowed in Canada until 1915. Only after 63 years did Velma file a lawsuit against the province of Ontario, demanding compensation for the time she spent in jail just for marrying a Chinese man. After this time period of time did she expect the system of government to change so the odds could even out for her compensation. Obviously, during this time teens had to be very careful about who they be friends with. The social stigma and alienation associated with this time was depressing for those new to Canada. Security seemed only for those with white skin and prosperity was unattainable, at least in conventional forms. Teens had to be very careful about the people they interacted with. There were punishments set in place between 1946 and 1963 for those who would do so. In the article prisoner of love, Velma was arrested for being “incorrigible” which means “bad beyond correction”. She was considered “incorrigible” because, she became pregnant by her Chinese boyfriend yip at age 18. Once woman were labelled “incorrigible” like Velma, society and government showed no pity. Velma had spent 18 hours in labour in the Toronto General Hospital and despite being young and a new mom they sent with her to jail along with her newborn child. These unnecessary brutal laws really underscore the unnecessary isolation and alienation from loved ones – this further highlights that new Canadians did not experience the security and prosperity they expected when they came to Canada.

In conclusion, New Canadians (teens), who came to Canada expecting to experience and enjoy a better life of prosperity and security were severely mislead and mistaken. They did not have the same human rights as Canadians, they were social outcasts and those whom they tried to befriend and love were opposed to the idea. Their homeland in hope for a better life in Canada during these years meant that many dreams and aspirations were crushed for new Canadians (teens). It was not the land flowing with milk and honey that people expected. It did not provide security nor was it easy to prosper.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Did the 1950s Teenager Enjoy Prosperity and Security?

Teenagers prior to the 1950s had been taught to act seriously; men joined the military and women were taught to take care of a household, but teenagers of the 1950s lived in a time of freedom, economic prosperity, and new-emerging technology, which allowed the 1950s teenager to create a different, ‘wild’ image. Since Canadian teenagers of the 1950s stood just ahead of the ‘baby boom’ of postwar families, and were therefore often overlooked and forgotten, both by the media and by parents, they were left to create their own image.[1] This image was based off rock n’ rollers like Elvis Presley who sang about partying, drugs, girls, etc., which was especially emphasized by the media. But with rock n’ roll came condemnation by parents and adults alike (as is shown in the preacher vs. Elvis video) and as a result of teenagers’ rebellious behaviour, many rules were set in place by parents and teachers. Teenagers in Canada in the 1950s enjoyed prosperity at times, but were also set back by a plethora of rules and regulations, which gave them more security, despite what they thought. So it was that these Canadian teenagers enjoyed both prosperity and security, but in two very different respects.

Canadian teenagers enjoyed prosperity, firstly, because in a 1950s teenager’s standards the good life consisted of dances, rock n’ roll, and high school sweethearts, which was something they experienced. Teenagers had more freedom than they had ever before, mainly due to a lack of discipline after the war and an increase in pocket money and spare time. Saturday nights would be spent at diners or coffee bars, smoking cigarettes and dancing to the rock n’ roll music blasting out of jukeboxes[2]. Rock n’ roll became a huge part of the 1950s, as is proved in the video of a preacher arguing against the upsurge of rock n’ roll. Rock n’ roll led to the popular ‘biker’ and ‘greaser’ looks, inspired by the famous Elvis Presley who was hugely popular in the 1950s. For the first time, a generation gap began to form because of the teenagers’ longing for recognition of their generation and obsession with creating their own, ‘original’ image. Though none of the primary sources observed outwardly described the teenage desires of the 1950s, the “Rebel Without a Cause” poster, simply through the usage of the word ‘rebel’, proves that the teenagers of the 1950s were in fact, rebelling against customary standards and creating their own image. And, since the ideal life, in the eyes of the teenagers themselves, was one of rebellion and late nights at the diner listening to rock n’ roll while smoking cigars – something that teenagers experienced in the 1950s –Canadian 1950s teenagers did enjoy their own personal version of prosperity.

Teenagers also enjoyed a sense of security during the 1950s, though they did not see it as security, more as a never-ending list of rules. As teenagers became more and more rebellious and troublesome, parents and schoolteachers began to take notice. Alarm among adults was common; as they worried their kids were becoming juvenile delinquents. This led to many new rules installed at school and at the home. As well, due to the media’s emphasis on teenage ‘rebels’ in the early 1950s[3] rules began to be set on media as well. For example, in the newsletter sent to the artists of Bob Wood, Ley Gleason, and Charles Biros’ magazines, a list of twelve rules were put out ensuring that the previous example media had been making of 1950s teenagers was not to be continued. Rules like “Criminals will not be made attractive either in physical appearance or character” prove that the media had previously been making this idea of delinquency seem ‘attractive’, and when this delinquency started to be copied by youths they did all they could to stop it. This primary source shows that there was an abundance of security precautions that were placed on the rebellious teens of the 1950s. And though all these precautions did, in the eyes of the teenagers, was restrict the things they could do, they did provide more security for the 1950s Canadian teenagers by attempting to prevent juvenile recklessness.

All in all, the 1950s teenager experienced a combination of security and prosperity, through the use of rules and the newfound freedom (used to fuel rebellion and a new sense of originality in teenagers) that teenagers got to enjoy with the post-war lack in discipline. Rock n’ roll became popular in the 1950s, causing teenagers to imitate the things emphasized in rock n’ roll lyrics: dancing, sex, late nights partying, etc. Rock n’ roll was their freedom, and it was through all this dancing and partying to the tunes of Elvis Presley that the teenagers of the 1950s enjoyed prosperity; their version of the good life. But, the rules and regulations came with the rebellion and, though the teenagers did not see it that way, those rules allowed for more security. The 1950s helped establish a wide generation gap, and a new sense of what a teenager was that had never been seen before, and it was in all this new, different behaviour and rebellion that prosperity was enjoyed and security experienced.


[1] 1950s Teenagers. (n.d.). Social Dance at Stanford. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/fifties.htm

[2] Mathieson, L. (n.d.). Teenagers’ lives changed throughout the century . SchoolNet News Network. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.snn-rdr.ca/snn/old/dec99/dec99/teens.html

[3] Cox, E. (n.d.). Teenage Life in the 1950s – Fifties – The 1950s. Fifties Sixties Fashion, TV, Movies, Hair, Food, Cars, 50’s 60’s Facts and History about 1950’s and 1960’s – Clip Art and Information. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.loti.com/fifties_history/Teenage_Life_in_the_1950s.htm

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

In postwar Canada between 1946 and 1963, teenagers enjoyed their family’s prosperity and security, and developed their own unique subculture with music and movies as their voice. After the Second World War, the Canadian economic boom was driven by primary industries, high growth in the construction industries, and the production of consumer goods. There was a revolutionary social change with new music, new values, and new expectations. Teenagers formed their own identity and became an influential subculture.

Prosperity is the condition of being successful or thriving, especially economic wellbeing. Security is the state of being free from danger or threat. By the 1950s, only one-third of Canadians were classified as poor. Prosperity was driven by increased growth of primary industries such as agriculture, forestry, mining, fishing, and industries that harvest raw materials or natural resources. There was a high demand for products in these industries in Canada and for export. The construction industry boomed to build houses, offices, schools, factories, mines, subways, and highways, also increasing prosperity. There was a rise in manufacturing for the consumer market. Employment and wages were high, therefore buying a house and going to university was now a possibility for many people. Families were then able to purchase luxuries such as televisions, cars, record players, and portable transistor radios. The prosperity and security of postwar Canadian families enabled teenagers to become a youth subculture in society.

Canadian families were more affluent and provided their teenagers with more money and freedom. Young people adopted their own unique clothing styles such as the motorcycle look, the collegiate style, and the hippie style (4). The youth culture in the 1950s and 1960s was most identified with rock ‘n’ roll music. Teenagers related to songs that were meaningful, energetic, and less restrained. Radio stations played top 40 hits and the sales of 45 record boomed. Youth had money from their parents or part-time jobs to buy records and portable transistor radios so they could listen to music anywhere. However, rock ‘n’ roll music was alien to parents and the gyrating dance performances scandalized many people. The preacher in the video, “1950s preacher vs. rock n roll music & Elvis”, claims rock ‘n’ roll is a contributing factor to the juvenile delinquency of the day (1). He lectures that he knows how the music makes one feel, and describes the evil feelings when being sung. In contrast, a teenage girl was interviewed; who thinks the music is marvelous, limbering, and loose. The adults felt insecure about the influence of the rock ‘n’ roll music on the youth. They believed it was encouraging them to become juvenile delinquents. The music provided teenagers with a unique independent voice, which their parents’ generation could not relate to.

In 1953, only ten percent of Canadian households owned a television and by 1965, ninety-three percent owned a television (3). Television offered entertainment and a window to the world for Canadian teenagers. Prosperity had also given youth the funds and freedom to go and see films at theaters. One of the first films to represent teenage culture through their eyes was “Rebel Without a Cause.” This film was very popular because it was focused on “teen angst.” The main character, Jim Stark, was a teenager from a middle-classed family who experienced controversy with family, knife fights, and turbulent romance, in which many teenagers could relate to (2). The tension between Jim and his father was something that families were experiencing, as the new teenage subculture emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. Prosperity and security gave Canadian families the ability to give the teenagers more materials but left the adults insecure about overindulging youth and compromising their morals.

The prosperity and security of postwar Canada positively affected the youth of the 1950s and 1960s. This group of society, which had been marginalized, now had an influential voice. The increased money, freedom, and luxuries allowed the youth to become a distinct group with their own morals, music, and movies.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Between 1946 and 1963 World War II had finally ended and Canada was in a good economic position. Canadians were free from the war and feeling secure. The wealth in Canada was fiercely growing and prosperous. Canadian teenagers especially enjoyed security and prosperity. The article “bad influences through the ages” and the video resource shows that they demonstrated this through music, fashion and a newfound independence.

The 1950’s rock n roll was made for the teenage world. The teens wanted recognition of their generation so when Elvis Presley came out with his hits about high school sweethearts they embraced it. Music and dancing was something teenagers could feel free about, and they loved it! Adults were shocked and disgusted with such music that rock n roll was often banned. Rock n roll music was attacked with records being smashed and banned, radio DJ’s were not aloud to play certain records, and rock singers were blamed. Following music next comes dancing and this was a whole other problem. The article ‘bad influences through the ages” states that adults worried that these particular songs and dancing styles would “arouse feelings in young women that should not be stirred.” But even this grief did not stop them.

“What I remember most about the 50’s was rules…rules…rules,” said John McKeon. Rules were made for slang, hair lengths, music, but most of all fashion. After the war teens were a generations with no recognition, no adults showed interest in the very different world of the teens. Teenagers felt unimportant, left out, and ignored. But once they realized things were turning around they developed and demonstrated their image and style through fashion. Shortened skirts, slick back hair, fast cars were all the rage.

Teenagers were building their own style and image, which lead to a newfound independence. Teenagers were showing affection with one and other and “going steady.” Going out with your friends is one things but going out with a boy is another. After school or on weekends, boys invited girls out on dates. Do I say yes? What do I wear? How much affection? This is when teens showed their independence.

Teenagers were gaining recognition and building their own style and image. They demonstrated an interest in rock n roll, new fashion techniques, and independence. All of this came into play between 1946 and 1963 when Canadian teenagers undoubtedly enjoyed prosperity and security.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

After World War II, there was a rise in consumerism and overall wealth. Therefore in the period 1946 to 1963, prosperity and security for teenagers would be thriving and prosperous. The money and freedom that increased at this time allowed teenagers to be more adventurous and rebellious. Based on the articles, “Prisoner of Love” by Jan Wong and “From Waltzes to Video Games: ‘Bad’ Influences Through The Ages” by Peter Hadzipetros one can see that the teenagers enjoyed their newfound freedom but there is always a limitation stopping them from going too far from their parents. From music to dating to going out, teenagers in this time found their new independence very exciting. They enjoyed prosperity and security very much in this time period, but like everything there was a threat to it. The threat was getting into trouble or danger by their parents.

Dating for teenagers was fun and pleasant. In this time the parents gave a lot more freedom when it came to who to date. They would be able to go out on a date together and “go steady” with one another. “Velma Demerson was a teenager caught up in a great romance.” (Jan Wong) “She was 17 when she met Harry Yip.” (Jan Wong) The time they spent together was romantic and they soon fell for each other but there was a threat. “Whenever they went out, strangers have them dirty looks…” (Jan Wong) people did not consider her dating was appropriate only because the man she loved was Chinese. Velma was allowed to date, she just could not date a Chinese man. “Having sex with a non-white person was considered unclean…” (Jan Wong) Dating a Chinese person or anyone that is not white was deeply frowned upon in their society. ““Incorrigible” females from 15 to 35 could be jailed up to two years for everything from premarital sex to “public drunkenness””. (Jan Wong) That is exactly what happened to Velma, she was sent to jail for marrying a Chinese man. “Would she have been declared ‘incorrigible’ and jailed had her lover not been Chinese?” (Jan Wong) For the teenagers there was more freedom for dating but the is now a threat of danger and disappointment of being considered ‘incorrigible’ and getting locked up for loving a person of a different racial background.

The evolution of the teenager increased the development of music in 1946 to 1963. “When Elvis Presley exploded onto the music scene in the 1950’s religious leaders were horrified” (Peter Hadzipetros) Adults considered Elvis to be a ‘bad’ influence on their children. He danced and sang in a way that in their society was considered inappropriate, improper and wrong. Yet his music and dance captured the heart of many teenager girls and teenagers. Adults were, “worried that his gyrating hips would arose feelings in young women that should not be stirred” (Peter Hadzipetros) “He [juvenile court judge in Jacksonville] threaten to have him [Elvis] arrested if he shook his body while performing at a local theatre.” (Peter Hadzipetros) Adults considered his dancing to be sickening and offensive and they did not want his music to undermine the youth of America. (Peter Hadzipetros) “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac…it fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people” (Frank Sinatra) While adults found Elvis Presley’s music and dance to be vulgar and tasteless, teenagers loved it. They were crazy for this new kind of entertainment but now there is a threat of Elvis getting sent to jail for his unseemly dancing. Teenagers enjoyed the evolution of music when it came to singers like, Elvis but adults definitely did not.

Going out for teenagers did not simply mean going out, it meant going out with your friends, dancing, meeting people and partying. They enjoyed their newfound independence of prosperity and security. Teenagers adored the going out and dancing with their friends. As always there were limits placed on these new experiences. When going out there were limits that their parents put on them for safety, like a curfew. When dancing with boys or girls, they could not dance too close. From early times, people have been warning others about ‘foreign dance’. In the early 1800’s the English society warned people of the evils of the waltz, “it is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs and close compressure of the bodies…we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.” (Peter Hadzipetros) Parents would watch their sons and daughters dance making sure they did not dance too close, a limit placed on the teens ‘freedom’. Parents would wait up for their children to come home after a party to make sure they got in before curfew, again, another limit placed on the teens ‘freedom’. Teenagers enjoyed their independence but the parents were always there to oversee their risky behaviour.

During the period, 1946 – 1963 the teenagers enjoyed the new prosperity and security. After World War II money and freedom was increased and the evolution of the teenager was made. From the articles, “Prisoner of Love” by Jan Wong and, “From Waltzes to Video Games: ‘Bad’ Influences through out the Ages” By Peter Hadzipetros you can see that the teenagers very much adored their independence when it came to their life. The way teenagers acted, danced, talked changed and for the most part, teenagers enjoyed the new ‘culture change’. As always there was a threat to their happiness and limitations put on their freedom. The limits placed on them by their parents for their safety and the threat of getting into trouble or danger. Overall, during the cold war it promoted prosperity and security in Canada for the teenager.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The post-World War II era was a very controversial time for the teenager.  It was not until this time that teenagers “formed their own demographic” (Valerie Chepp, p.01). Even with all the controversy that came with forging their own path, was the average teenager prosperous and secure?  In order for the teenager to be accurately classified, these terms must be defined as they apply.  Under these circumstances, prosperity refers to the state of being cultured and security refers to said culture being accepted into society.  With this in mind, one can determine that the teenager was prosperous, but not secure, because of the several youth subculture of that time that were not accepted amongst society.  

imageThe average teenager of the post-World War II era was very prosperous.  Like today, youth of that time identified themselves with a certain subculture, typically distinguished by their physical appearance and beliefs.  There were several subcultures of the Cold War era; “Rock’n’Rollers”, “Teddy Boys”, “Hippies”, “Greasers”, “Mods”, and “Preps”, to name a few.  Although some more than others, each subculture differed fairly significantly from the next, but by far the most adverse; the Rock’n’Rollers and the Preps.  These rockers were greatly influenced by Elvis Presley, not only through his music, but through his style.  Male Rockers would dress similar to Elvis; large collars, blazers, jeans, and of course his signature hairstyle; greased up into a quiff.  Female Rockers dressed very provocatively in short dresses/skirts/shorts.  More typical of males than females, but, both sexes took on a fairly disheveled appearance.  Rockers were a direct representation of rebellion whereas Preps were more closely related to conformity.  Preps were typically of higher class which was apparent through their aura.  Girls dressed more conservatively in buttoned up blouses, and skirts or dresses that fell below the knee and hair curled only long enough to brush their shoulders.  Boys wore dress pants and dress shirts, some layering with vests and ties.  They typically wore their hair short or slightly longer and slicked back flat against their heads.  As one can see from the plethora of youth subcultures during the post-World War II era, the teenager was extremely prosperous.       

imageAlthough prosperous, the teenager did not enjoy security during the Cold War era.  Culture was typically not accepted as a suitable member of society.  One of the most exiled subcultures were the Rock’n’Rollers.  The music that inspired this culture was thought to be satanic.  The church strongly revolted against and preached about it during church services saying “And I believe, with all my heart that is a contributing factor to our juvenile delinquency of today”( 1950s preacher vs. Rock’n’Roll music & Elvis, 00:13).  Not only were teenagers not accepted by their elders, but they were not accepted amongst each other.  By examining these photos, one will notice that the subcultures do not mix.  For the above reasons, one can deduce that the average teenager was not secure.  

In conclusion, the average teenager of the post-World War II era was prosperous but not secure.  When prosperity refers to the state of being well-cultured and security refers to the state of acceptance, one can examine the images and videos above and accurately classify this demographic. It is significant to have an understanding about the social state of teenagers during the Cold War era because it was during this time that the age group made some of its biggest strides and reinvented what it meant to have youth.

Canadian Security and Prosperity- The Teenage: Primary Sources

VIDEO: 1950s preacher vs. Rock’n’Roll music & Elvis

PHOTOGRAPH: Mansfield, Ohio, Senior High School, 1941 ~ Alfred Eisenstaedt

PHOTOGRAPH: Elvis Presley in Florida, 1956 ~ Robert W. Kelley

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

During the 1946-1963, the said to be “perfect life” for a teenager, from an adult’s perspective, is one that consists of a good education, a good home life and a honest heterosexual commitment/sex-free relationship with one’s partner . This is what I like to call the “GTSS”, or “Goody Two Shoes System”. The ideal lifestyle, in the eyes of teenagers during the 1950’s, was one that consisted mostly of everything that adults felt was good for them, but with a twist of fun. “Fun” things, to teens back then, consisted of dances, Rock N’ Roll and drive in movies. The GTSS ideal was heavily pushed on to teenagers by a slue of ad campaigns and influences from parents and family members. At the time, these values were seen to be the only ones which carried precedence, and those who did not follow these values were seen as “Trouble Makers”. Although we must think, during times of war (the Cold War), with lack of economic and social stability, did this kind of proposed life style option for teenagers, offer a prosperous and secure life to them? Or did teens find themselves breaking the social norm and end up turning to things like rock and roll for fun. Based on the two Primary Sources provided to me, and other information I gathered, I believe that the system imposed did help, but was loved to be broken. The GTSS helped by A) Creating strong work ethics and B) Creating more stable, loving relationships. The fun aspect of teenage life helped create a sense of prosperity and security by C) Giving teens a stress outlet and D) Giving them a sense of power by breaking the social norm. These two completely different sides of what was seen as correct for teens, I believe, worked together flawlessly and created security and prosperity for teens.

First off, the GTSS helped create a generation of hard workers because of the heavy importance that the system put on education and honest work ethics. The GTSS gave the image that school should come first. This was done through numerous ad campaign and videos, Instilling values like hard work. This was essential for having a better future with people who wanted to succeed, in the hopes of creating a generation who talks with words rather than tanks. “Education in Canada in the 1950’s had become more important than ever, and every teenage student was pressured to bring home only A’s” (Article: Influences on the Educational System). Now we face the question of whether or not this brought prosperity and security to teenagers during this time. The answer is yes. Values such as hard work taught them how to live a responsible life effectively, creating a successful and stable world for themselves and everyone around them. At the same time, living a life completely devoted to school is hard and a major part of living a prosperous life is being able to have a fun outlet. That’s where Rock N’ Roll came in. Teens looked at this wild new crazy music as a way to relax and be relieved, momentarily, from their, perhaps, stressful duties. While Rock N’ Roll was frowned upon by adults, I believe that the success generated by the 1950’s youth would not have been possible without this equation. The primary source “From Waltzes to Video Games” is a good example of how something new, and seen as detrimental, can actually provide positive reinforcement to the lives of those who follow it. In this case, rock was an actual good outlet for teens.

Secondly, the “GTSS” helped create more loving/stable relationships. This is because sex before marriage was frowned upon under the GTSS. This created a generation of teens who valued their partners real characters rather than what they could provide for each other sexually. These loving and stable relationships, supported by the GTSS, also helped in the fun aspect of teenage life and gave teens social activities to do with their partners. Life for a teenage couple was great, things such as drive in movies, dances and cliff area hangouts were activities that reinforced the foundation of these relationships, but also provided a source of fun that a sit down dinner with your partner could not. The second primary source, a video titled “Going Steady”, is a good example of how sometimes taking a relationship slower and not having sex can be more exciting. In the video, Mary and Jeff decide to rush into things, and in turn, makes Mary feel uncomfortable. However, once the relationship was given more time, it prospered. Emotional security is one of the most valuable things to have and by following the guidelines of the GTSS and by exercising other fun activities, that emotional durability strengthens and ultimately leaves you feeling more secure and prosperous.

To end off, the introduction of Rock N’ Roll was seen as a terrible thing to many adults, but in fact was a huge aide in teaching teens to become independent. Rock n’ Roll was seen as a sin; a sin many teenagers partook. Making this choice was going directly against their parents’ rules and made some teens feel guilty and, perhaps, seeing themselves as trouble makers. To some, disobeying their parents gave them a sense of independence and made them feel that rebelling helped them become adults. Eventually, everyone will become an adult and make his/her own decisions, but, the introduction of Rock n’ Roll at a teenage time, taught the majority of the 1950’s teens how to think for themselves, creating a new generation of progressive thinking.

In conclusion, the fundamentals of the fictional “GTSS” and the positive influence of Rock n’ Roll, helped teenagers of the 1950’s lead a secure and prosperous life, through strong work ethics, stable relationships with their love partners, stress outlets and created progressive thinkers. The 1950’s were definitely one place to be!

By: Dr. Doofenschmirtz

Works Cited

Cox, Erika. “Teenage Life in the 1950Â’s – Fifties – The 1950s.” Fifties Sixties Fashion, TV, Movies, Hair, Food, Cars, 50’s 60’s Facts and History about 1950’s and 1960’s – Clip Art and Information. Loti.com, 17 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.loti.com/fifties_history/Teenage_Life_in_the_1950s.htm&gt;.

E., Molly. “The 1950’s.” Kidsnewsroom.org: providing children with a safe, kid-friendly Internet site.. kidsnewsroom.org, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.kidsnewsroom.org/elmer/infocentral/frameset/decade/1950.htm&gt;.

Powers, Richard. “1950s Teenagers.” Social Dance at Stanford. Stanford.edu, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/fifties.htm&gt;.

guesta93588. “Teenagers of the 1950s.” Upload & Share PowerPoint presentations and documents. slideshare.net, 14 May 2008. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.slideshare.net/guesta93588/teenagers-of-the-1950s&gt;.

mid-1990s, the, Canada ranked first among OECD nations. The system can be characterized as soft federalism. While the federal government has since the 1950s shouldered a significant portion of the bill for universities, universities) accounts for the limited competition, the perceived equivalence among credentials across the country. This state public system is relatively homogeneous, as a vestige of its roots in the United Kingdom, and France. ” Canada – Influences On The Educational Systems, Twentieth-Century Developments, The Place Of Education In The Society – Canadian, Public, University, and Percent – StateUniversity.com .” Education Encyclopedia – StateUniversity.com – StateUniversity . education.stateuniversity.com, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1811/Canada.html.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the 1950’s teens were jugged by elders, sheltered and society gave them a bad reputation thus made it hard for them to enjoy prosperity and security.

In the 1500’s Teenagers were jugged by their Elders. This made it hard for the everyday teen to have as much fun. Their Elders would label teens as being rambunctious and roady. In one of the artifacts in the “are to be popular” video it shows how the elders ridiculed and jugged teens and expected them to act a certain way. Saying things like “You shouldn’t act like this girl because she parks in cars with boys at night.” This makes it hard for teens to enjoy prosperity and security because if teens are constantly being jugged by their elders and parents how are they supposed to have a good up bringing. The teens of this time would probably feel neglected and annoyed because their parents maybe don’t think their cook enough. This taking about their security.

The teens were also sheltered by elders. This is showed by the artifact which is a letter from Bob Wood, Lev Gleason, and Charles Biro sent out to the editors, artists, writers and contributors of a magazine saying the things that they couldn’t expose the teens to. For example Anything Sexual, no open wounds, not criminals enjoying themselves, no blood showing from an open wound. These are just some of the examples of the things that Elders didn’t want to expose teens to. This made it easy for them to have a sense of security but it was almost too much security you can’t be secure unless you know what your safe from. If the teenagers of that time didn’t know what was out there in the world how were they supposed to grow up? Although some came from more wealthy families it made it hard for teens to enjoy being themselves if they were always being sheltered. This is why it made it harder on teens especially since this is the era where rebellion started with teens so this would maybe make them more rebellious if their parents are sheltering them.

Society in the 1950’s gave teenagers a bad reputation. A reputation for being rambunctious. They can get an image like this also from movies and Tv shows showing Teens and how they should act. In the largely popular Movie “James Deen” It shows this bad boy and hows he a rebel. This makes it harder for teens cause the media shows them doing these things even though this isn’t the case for most teens. In the Video “Are you cool” it mentions adults saying whats good and whats bad in society and showing teens how to act and essentially “be cool.” The Makes it hard for teens to enjoy prosperity and security Because when someone is being jugged and put into a category without a chance it can strip them of their rights. This could make the everyday teen feel unsecured. Although the teen could come from a wealthy or non wealthy home the way that society judged teenagers was the exact same.

In the 1950’s Teens had security and prosperity but they all weren’t able to enjoy it. Constantly being jugged by their elders is hard. Especially if it happened in their own home. Their elders would shelter them from things that would happen in our would this does give them security but too much of it, they still need to know what they’re growing up into. And lastly, Society gave teens a bad reputation because of whats expected of them from Movies, TV and expectations. These are just some of the reasons why I think Teens in the 1950’s did not enjoy their prosperity and security.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

In 1950, World War Two had just ended. The fear from the two World Wars is slowly fading and there comes a time of prosperity and security. A teenagers’ life is complicated and requires much attention due to the fact that the rules and laws are very strict that teenagers need to follow and have a lot of discipline. This is because a teenagers’ prosperity is activities that adults label as bad influences such as a very popular singer, Elvis Presley due to the messages from his songs. In order for teenagers to enjoy prosperity and security, they need to be disobedient, and take risks, but have good living habits.

Teenagers do many things that adults disagree with, but they still do it. In 1950s, comics were created a few years back and a new singer, Elvis Presley was starting to rise in the music business. Both were marked as bad influence in adults’ books. In 1940s, the US public thought comics have too much violence, drugs and unrealistic characteristic which are destroying the children’s minds with disregard for humans and glorification of crimes. Later, the senate committee was used for an experiment to inspect the effects of children and comic books. So the comic books industry ended up making a code of conduct for self-regulating the comic book’s content. This code lasted for 5 years. The other bad influence is that a new singer, Elvis Presley had risen in the music business and his songs send a message that the religious leaders think it will stir a feeling within women (teenagers mostly) that should never be stirred. In August, 1956, a judge declared that his music was undermining the youth and wants him arrested. However, Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan TV Show less than a year. Most young people enjoyed his music except one, Frank Sinatra. He felt that this music is creating negative and destruction reactions from young people. These are a few examples of teenagers being disobedient to enjoy their prosperity and security.

In the 1950s, there are also laws about many things including love. There was a news report based on a 19 years old girl named Velma Demerson. In 1950s, Canadian laws were very racist. Most mixed marriages are allowed but not to a Chinese. People believed that Chinese are the lowest of the low and whoever associates with them are as well. In addition, Velma was sent to jail for having a relationship with a Chinese man name Yip, but she told the judge she was pregnant, he forced her to marry the father with one year in slave labour. After, she got out of jail, she married Yip, and she never told her story to anyone. After 63 years, she filed a lawsuit against the government about her imprisonment and declares an apology. This is one story of a teenager who risked her life for her relationship with Mr. Yip to have prosperity and after going to jail, she can finally have her security to stay together with Mr. Yip and the family. This story proves how teenagers sometimes need to take risks to stay prosper and secure against many odds.

However, no teenagers can enjoy their prosperity and security if they have personal problems that are bothering them. This is why the parents need to teach teenagers how to live a prosperous life, solve their problems, and enforce the laws. Teenagers from any time can have these problems, so adults have to teach teenagers about it. There is a page about comic laws that is printed in every magazine published by Lev Gleason Publications in 1948 and based on what the topic; it is trying to inform every comic author about the new rules, which gives teens more nonfiction materials. In addition, many teenagers live in a place that has different questions and problems bothering them, most of them are personal thoughts. They have created these black and white films to teach kids what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. With these problems fixed, the teenagers can have prosperity life and security of going whatever their want without the being worried about their personal problems.

As a summary, teenagers can enjoy their happiness and security by being disobedient, and break a few rules, but know the good living habits. Some things adults might list as bad influence, but it is the thing that is what teenagers enjoy. So many teenagers will disobey their parents to enjoy what they like. Also laws prevent many things from happening including love, but taking the risk might actually be useful in the long run; showed by Velma and her love for the Chinese man Yip, which later can mean togetherness. Lastly, teenagers from different periods of time can have the same personal problems, and people in 1950s help to create videos to help them. This is a few factors of teenagers to enjoy prosperity and security.

Works cited

Cbc.ca. “From waltzes to video games: ‘bad’ influences through the ages – Technology & Science – CBC News.” 2011. Web. 27 Mar 2013. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/06/27/f-corrupting-youth-generations.html&gt;.

Lev Gleason Publications. A message from Bob Woods, Lev Gleason, and Charles Biro. 1948 Print.

Wong, Jan. “Prisoner of Love.” The Global and Mail, 2013: 2. Print.

YouTube. “Good Eating Habits (1951).” n.d.. Web. 27 Mar 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5Z3VTW2WK0&gt;.

YouTube. “Going Steady? (1951).” n.d.. Web. 27 Mar 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAKSX7oHBVE&gt;.

YouTube. “Are You Popular? – 1950s Educational Film on the Joys of Popularity.” 1950. Web. 27 Mar 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEo6hHnoq4&gt;.

YouTube. “1950s preacher vs. rock’n’roll music & Elvis.” 1950. Web. 27 Mar 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PdVqWuqUsI.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

New Oxford American Dictionary defines security as the state of being free from danger as well as the state of feeling safe and free from fear or anxiety. In my opinion, teenagers feel a sense of security and prosperity when adults recognize them positively without putting restrictions on things they cannot control. Throughout 1946 and 1963, teenagers did not feel a sense of prosperity and security. Back then; the prominent limitations put upon teenagers were what prevented teenagers from receiving nothing but a negative perception from adults as well as had to endure restrictions on their relationships.

First, the movie “A Rebel Without a Cause” directed by Nicholas Ray is a perfect example of how teenagers were portrayed throughout this time period. This movie takes place in 1955 and was used as a response to teenage rebellion. Nicholas decided to portray this film in an adolescent’s point of view. It is shown throughout the movie that Jim Stark (played by James Dean) is rebelling against authority. This character rebels because he disagrees with the majority of things his parents say. In my own opinion, Jim rebels because he’s so unsure of everything surrounding him. He uses rebellion to escape from the things he cannot comprehend. “Boy, if, if I had one day when, when I didn’t have to be all confused, and didn’t have to feel that I was ashamed of everything… if I felt that I belonged someplace, you know?” says Jim. This quotation from a Rebel Without a Cause shows the hesitation that Jim is facing. His insecurity is very much based on the fact that he’s not quite sure about himself, who he is as a person, and the whole world around him. If security and prosperity were prominent with teenagers at this time, then, like Jim Stark there would be absolutely no hesitation. Being called a rebel is not something a teenager wishes to be called when shaping their identity. This put a negative perception upon them.

Second, prosperity was not something teenagers experienced in the slightest throughout 1946 to 1963. In the article titled “Prisoner of Love” it states: In Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia, it was illegal for Chinese or Asian businesses to hire white women. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines prosperity as the state of being prosperous and prosperous as bringing wealth and success. This passage demonstrates the extent that discrimination went towards in this time period. Not only is hiring just Asian employees unjust towards white people, it is giving Asians a higher status. One race should never have more power than another. This example shows the deficiency of security and prosperity for whites (they couldn’t obtain a job). In this article Velma Demerson (a teenager in love with someone who was a different race than her) talks about the 1950’s, “Having sex with a non-white person was considered unclean. It was worse than being a prostitute. Even those people at the very bottom of society thought they were better than anyone associated with Chinese.” This shows the restrictions and things that were socially and morally acceptable throughout 1946-1963. The definition of security implying that you should feel safe and free of fear and anxiety is at a loss when hearing these quotes. Velma mentions a Caucasian chemist that wants to take her out. It states: The chemist took her out and raped her. She was 16. Ms. Demerson said “They never warned girls: Don’t get in a car with a guy.” She told no one. This is the prime example of how little security they had. Society is telling people to date within their race, but the irony is she gets raped when doing what society encourages. However the man she loves, even though being a different race has done her no harm. A quote from the article: Once in a while, they walked to Chinatown under cover of darkness. “It was the most romantic thing I ever did.” States Velma about falling in love with a man she wasn’t allowed to be in love with.

In conclusion, teenagers lacked a sense of prosperity and security throughout the years 1946 and 1963. Teens experience security and prosperity when they understand the type of person they’re becoming without adults recognizing them negatively, and when they don’t receive restrictions on things they cannot control. In a literal sense, security is made up of limitations. This list of limitations was prominent in this time period but is the exact reason that prevented teenagers from discovering who they were as people. By authority putting restrictions and negative perceptions towards teenagers, it’s funny how they expected them to achieve a sense of security and prosperity.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s