I did not expect that sentence to end "...trying to recreate and study the 1950's.", LOL! Some cognitive dissonance with the first 2/3 of the sentence.

Okay, can I geek out on a thought about the 1950s? (in America.) Something I know rather little about, but continue to have evolving opinions about. Started out more positive, now settling into "Yeah, but high standards people were held to in public doesn't mean it was great for people when they got back home, behind closed doors." And also, just the thought of so much technology suddenly (?) available to take over women's work... whose labors working at home could previously have been celebrated as awesome... and the cultural attitude of "yay, I now have technology; that means I can kick back and take it easy" and therefore probably a lot of women failing to find new purpose to apply their newly-freed-up time to.

Most interesting perspective I heard about just getting an "eye level" view of being a kid growing up as a baby boomer... was the image of already-huge classrooms, and cramming a few extra seats in the back row when more students showed up. Getting turned away from baseball teams because there were SO MANY kids trying out => there were lots of kids better than them. I wonder if rampant conformity was just a kinda-straightforward response to the then-current setup of resources. Like, you just kinda would rationally feel more "replaceable" (?) in the public sphere, at least. And everyone else looking on would also feel that, on a gut-level. Public knowledge. (Also, conformity to what you can't change in terms of external circumstances doesn't NECESSARILY mean that you're producing a generation that has greater-than-average inward conformity, in their private thoughts. Perhaps? I really don't know.)

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Yeah, wild cognitive dissonance, perfectly intentional on Stross's part!

I hadn't thought of the large numbers pressuring people to social conformity; I'd attributed it to coming home from the war, whether it was the chaos of combat or the home-front drive to support it. But the sheer numbers could've definitely played a part.

And yes, with so much technology suddenly available - after the Depression and war - I totally agree it's no surprise the 50's yielded, in the very next decade, the second-wave feminist movement.

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