The 1960s was a decade of contrast, marked by revolutionary change and outdated practices. As we reflect on the progress we’ve made, it’s intriguing to note the norms once accepted but now deemed inappropriate. Here’s a list of some norms from the 60s that would raise eyebrows in today’s society.
Back in the 60s, it wasn’t unusual to see people lighting up cigarettes in offices, airplanes, or even hospitals. The health risks were less publicized, and society was yet to understand the hazards of secondhand smoke.
Casual Workplace Harassment
Sadly, inappropriate comments and behavior were often brushed off as “office banter”. Many women had to endure unsolicited advances and crude remarks without the support or understanding we now expect in modern workplaces.
Strict Gender Roles
Household expectations in the 60s were distinctively divided. Women were commonly confined to the role of homemaker, while men were the primary breadwinners. Such rigid delineations seem archaic in our more gender-progressive age.
Formal Dress Codes
Imagine wearing a full suit and tie just to go grocery shopping or having to don a dress just to lounge at home. The 60s held strict standards for everyday attire, a stark contrast to our current casual styles.
The Civil Rights Movement was at its height in the 60s, challenging the systemic racial barriers of the time. Segregation was an institutionalized norm, a dark period that we now look back on with regret and resolve.
Not Wearing Your Seatbelt
Seat belts were available, but rarely used. Riding shotgun without any safety restraint was the norm. Today, with the emphasis on road safety, such practices would be unimaginable.
Lack of Recycling
Environmental consciousness was yet to blossom. Single-use items, like bottles and cans, often ended up in the trash instead of being recycled, a practice almost unthinkable in today’s eco-aware society.
Treatment of Mental Health
Mental health was not only misunderstood but stigmatized. Treatments and interventions were often inhumane and lacked the compassion and understanding we champion today.
Teachers, parents, and authority figures were rarely questioned or contradicted. This often led to the suppression of individual thoughts and feelings, especially among the younger generation.
Limited LGBTQ+ Rights
The LGBTQ+ community had limited rights and faced significant societal discrimination. The Stonewall riots in 1969 were a turning point, paving the way for the rights and acceptance the community deserves.
Advertisements often perpetuated stereotypes and had no qualms about making outrageous claims. From promoting harmful beauty standards to making false health assertions, ads were unchecked and unapologetic.
Lax Food Safety Standards
Food processing and safety regulations were less stringent. Many products on grocery shelves would fail to meet today’s safety and transparency standards. This disregard often led to health risks and misinformation for consumers.
Gendered Toys and Marketing
Toy aisles were distinctly divided: dolls for girls and trucks for boys. Modern toy companies now emphasize inclusivity and break away from these gendered stereotypes.This shift not only offers variety but also promotes a more inclusive worldview for the younger generation.
Cold War Paranoia
The tension between the USSR and the US induced a widespread fear of communism and nuclear war. Duck-and-cover drills were a staple in schools, a grim reminder of the era’s geopolitical tensions.
Cultural Appropriation in Fashion
Borrowing elements from various cultures without understanding or respect was common. This insensitivity is now rightly recognized as cultural appropriation, and many such trends from the 60s would be deemed offensive today.
Sparse Sexual Education
Sexual education was minimal, if it existed at all. Misconceptions were rampant, and there was a considerable lack of understanding about reproductive health, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted infections.
Overt Sexism in Media
Women were often portrayed in media as submissive, dependent, or solely as objects of male desire. Such depictions are now criticized for perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
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