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1950s Attitudes

1950s Attitudes

Old Sep 18th 2012, 6:21 pm
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Default 1950s Attitudes

Whilst there are many things we like here in the Bay Area, there are some attitudes that we're finding very, very hard to deal with, and I'd like to know how other Brits have managed to cope.

1) Equality. Yes, that may sound weird as we are supposedly in the "Free Love" capital of the world, but actually, attitudes towards wives in the south bay seem distinctly 1950.

Now, we are used to us both being equals in terms of education and employment, and that being by far the norm in the UK (and I suspect other parts of the US). But here, it actually seems unusual for wives (and it does seem to be the WIVES) to work. Sometimes, this is because their visa won't allow them to, but we actually had one wife say:

"Oh - I'm lucky. My husband had a good year last year and I don't have to work !!!!!"

Now, if this was 1950, I could explain that sentiment, but this is 2012 ! And it seems like EVERYTHING from child-care to gyms almost expects the wives/mums to be at home. For example, our local private gym has the bulk of it's classes on work-days at 10h00 - 14h00. Who can go to these ? (but I'm told they're always full....)

Is this some weirdness of the Bay, or has true equality not happened in the US to the same extent that it has in the UK or other parts of Europe that we know (NL, DE, FR).

2) Meal-times. Another annoyance. We're used to breakfast being non-existent, lunch being on-the-hoof sometime between 13h00 and 14h00, and evening meal being at the earliest 19h00. Our work cafe ran out of food at 12h50 the other day. I'd been in since 07h30, had a coffee and cookie around 11 (yes, I know I shouldn't) and then toddled off to find food just before the cafe shut at 13h30. I ended up driving to the local Subway which was like a ghost town at 13h40. Try Pret-a-Manger at Victoria anytime between 13h00 and 14h30 and you're in for a stampede. This is VERY different from Europe. I'm not finding that people get up any earlier here than in the UK (at least, the London area I'm from), but they do seem to head off significantly earlier in the afternoon. Again, it all seems a bit 1950s....

3) Religion. Religion is just about gone across much of the UK and Europe, even countries where there is still a state religion (such as the UK). Here, a country founded on religious freedom and separation of church and state, religion still seems to play a bigger and increasing part in society. Personally, I'm very uncomfortable with this and my faith has been questioned several times by people. When I tell them that I am a pacifist agnostic bordering on atheist, that USUALLY does the trick !!!!! Even the Boy Scouts seem to have an out-dated and potentially divisive association with one particular religion (which is handily ignored by our local Scout Council....)

Again, this is a complete surprise for us. We assumed that a high-tech area would have a high-tech and modern relationship with religion, very much along the lines of multi-cultural, modern societies found in most Western capitals of the world. But, the role of religion here, again, seems quite 1950s.


Our Conclusion - far from being the bastion of modernity, pushing boundaries and advancing thought that we assumed the area would be, we're actually finding it all a little parochial and out-dated !!!!

Do other people find this in other parts of the US ?

Is is that "old-fashioned-ness" what attracts some Brits to the US ?

If it winds you up like it is winding us up, how do you deal with it ?
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Welcome to California
I had trouble getting used to the lunch rush starting before noon here and ending by 1.30 when I first got here.
And yes it's a little bit behind with the wife thing, feels weird at first but I got used to it. Now we will be going the other way and I'll be looking for my food at noon and wondering whats going on.
I won't even comment on the religion, but our area has more churches than schools, gas stations and grocery stores combined
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

If you're finding all those things annoying in California, then don't move to any southern states!
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

If you're finding all those things annoying in California, then don't move to any southern states!
Which I would expect....

But the surprise for me is to find these attitudes in an area that, on the face of it, is all about change, free-thought, fore-front of attitudes, etc.

And I'm finding that it isn't which is surprising given the cosmopolitan nature of the area.....

And yes it's a little bit behind with the wife thing
Not a little - this is how "wifey" was in the 1950s/60s.

Now my wife is no Simone de Beauvoir, but PLEASE. We are EQUALS, not goods and chattel....
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:01 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post

"Oh - I'm lucky. My husband had a good year last year and I don't have to work !!!!!"
?
So one member of a family can earn enough that other members don't have to work, and you find something wrong with that. My wife hasn't worked since 2006, she doesn't need to. Rather than being old fashioned I am very pleased that is the case.

So people take their meals at different times. How is that a problem.

People here still attend church, and have no problems with their beliefs being part of their daily life. Why is that wrong.

So in your mind unless we are constantly being modern and casting off old ways, even if we think they are better, we are old fashioned.

I am really at a loss on how to comment on such world shattering conditions.
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Whilst there are many things we like here in the Bay Area, there are some attitudes that we're finding very, very hard to deal with, and I'd like to know how other Brits have managed to cope.

1) Equality. Yes, that may sound weird as we are supposedly in the "Free Love" capital of the world, but actually, attitudes towards wives in the south bay seem distinctly 1950.

Now, we are used to us both being equals in terms of education and employment, and that being by far the norm in the UK (and I suspect other parts of the US). But here, it actually seems unusual for wives (and it does seem to be the WIVES) to work. Sometimes, this is because their visa won't allow them to, but we actually had one wife say:

"Oh - I'm lucky. My husband had a good year last year and I don't have to work !!!!!"

Now, if this was 1950, I could explain that sentiment, but this is 2012 ! And it seems like EVERYTHING from child-care to gyms almost expects the wives/mums to be at home. For example, our local private gym has the bulk of it's classes on work-days at 10h00 - 14h00. Who can go to these ? (but I'm told they're always full....)
One of the reasons I chose to move here rather than the TAS come to the UK was I would not have to work and so would be able to raise a family. I actually think it's quite nice being somewhere that a woman keeping a home is considered a valid use of time and not scorned as being a scrounger or a 'yummy mummy'

Lx
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:10 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Wow and you are talking about SF have a 1950's attitude? What the heck is yours? We don't use the 24 hour time clock for telling time, btw. And this is the US and not the UK nor Europe.

A woman staying home while the husband works is not 1950's. It is not that she was told she was not allowed to have a job by her husband because her job is the house and kids. Her choice as an equal partner is not to work. Her husband, significant other, whatever is fine with that. I don't see that marriage or living together means that each has to contribute the same amount of money to the household and living expenses in order to be considered an equal partner.
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

"Not invented here" and "we've always done it this way so why change" is something that irritates me. I've just finished a railroad course where the attitudes there are donkeys years old - even in the rail industry which is always years behind modern technology. Train vehicles in the US are disproportionally heavier than European or Asian train vehicles because of old fashioned structural integrity rules set by the FRA which aren't actually any better than anywhere else - but result in a vehicle twice as heavy for only moderate size/power increases for cars/locos respectively.

Sometimes the lunch thing can be a practical issue with regards to other offices in other timezones and maximizing online time together.
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Wow and you are talking about SF have a 1950's attitude? What the heck is yours? We don't use the 24 hour time clock for telling time, btw. And this is the US and not the UK nor Europe.
I think I may have touched a few raw nerves ? ( I cross my 7s and use 24hr clock as I find it helps arrange things at the right time - it's a habit I picked up about 25 years ago and have never lost. It stops me getting on planes at the wrong time...)

I understand that some things are different, but it is the DEGREE to which they are different that amazes me.

Even in very family-orientated countries such as France, it is BY FAR the norm for both parents to be working.

I don't see that marriage or living together means that each has to contribute the same amount of money to the household and living expenses in order to be considered an equal partner.
Did I mention "money ?" Money has NOTHING to do with. Work is not (should not) be just about money to live by.

A woman staying home while the husband works is not 1950's.
Errr - yes it is !!!! Of our friends in the UK and France with children, not a single one of the wives stays at home out of choice. There is adequate child-care, after school programs, work place creche, etc. Again, different in the two countries (mostly state provided in France, not in the UK). It is expected that whatever your sex, you will follow a career. After all, education for a man costs the state the same as education for a women.

I am not saying something is right or wrong - I am simply stating that it is VERY DIFFERENT from how we expected it to be, especially given that THIS AREA of the US feels more European that other parts (granted, not that many) of the US I have visited.

What IS obvious is how attitudes to equality and religion (especially) have diverged between the US and Western Europe over the last decade-or-so.

I suspect a Brit that has lived here for some time (certainly since before the mid-90s) would find the UK a very different society from that which they left....
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
I ended up driving to the local Subway which was like a ghost town at 13h40. Try Pret-a-Manger at Victoria anytime between 13h00 and 14h30 and you're in for a stampede.
I don't go to Subway for the social scene, so am quite happy to visit off-peak and not spend ages in the queue. A smaller time window for the peak period is useful. All depends how you look at these things
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

People here still attend church, and have no problems with their beliefs being part of their daily life. Why is that wrong.
It's not a problem if it is private because it has nothing to do with other people. It is a problem if you take the view the "My Faith" is the "Real Faith." In fact, in a multi-cultural society with many different faiths, you probably want to avoid any kind display of religion as it may be divisive. And that, separation of church and state, is what the US was founded on ! Smart move.

I always think of the famous Alastair Campbell line when he was trying to keep Blair away from his religious beliefs:

"We don't do God."

Campbell, love him or hate him, knew that society was effectively secular, and that introducing religion would make Blair look like a nutter and therefore un-re-electable. He also knew it could be incendiary for racial tensions. Another smart move, whatever you think of the guy....
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

I don't go to Subway for the social scene, so am quite happy to visit off-peak and not spend ages in the queue. A smaller time window for the peak period is useful. All depends how you look at these things
Actually, the local Subway knows me pretty well - we usually stop there on an Saturday after soccer training. (BTW, the lunch quip was partly tounge-in-cheek, no pun intended).
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

So in your mind unless we are constantly being modern and casting off old ways, even if we think they are better, we are old fashioned
I always question. If something has been done that way since eternity, it probably means it warrants a re-think. That is the nature of science and engineering - assume nothing, question everything.

And that is what happens, for the most part, in the Bay Area. Except in a number of what I think of as important social areas, and two social areas that have changed a LOT in other countries in the last 20/30 years.

MY PERCEPTION is that attitudes to equal opportunities and religion have NOT changed anywhere near as much in the US as they have in other parts of the world. I am interested to know if this is MY PERCEPTION that is on the blink, reality, or something else.
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Originally Posted by Rete View Post

A woman staying home while the husband works is not 1950's.
Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post

Errr - yes it is !!!! Of our friends in the UK and France with children, not a single one of the wives stays at home out of choice.

Because the choice of some women you know is not the choice other woman have made, it is old-fashioned? That makes no sense! The whole objective of the women's movement in the 1960s was to give women the ability to choose to be at home with their children if that is what they wanted, and the ability to progress equally with men in the workplace if that is what they wanted. There is nothing old-fashioned about making the choice to stay home.
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Old Sep 18th 2012, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: 1950s Attitudes

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post




Errr - yes it is !!!! Of our friends in the UK and France with children, not a single one of the wives stays at home out of choice. There is adequate child-care, after school programs, work place creche, etc. Again, different in the two countries (mostly state provided in France, not in the UK). It is expected that whatever your sex, you will follow a career. After all, education for a man costs the state the same as education for a women.


I suspect a Brit that has lived here for some time (certainly since before the mid-90s) would find the UK a very different society from that which they left....
Actually I think the women I know here who stay home do it through choice, not cause they were told to do so.
I'm still home with our youngest, but would like to get back at some point.
BUT there is a huge number of people who believe (and I'm in this camp), if you are going to have kids, raise them yourself, therefore one parent works or both arrange work to look after their children and use as little outside paid care as possible.
Which parents does the most at home isn't important, but to say there are nurseries, creches, and other care you have mentioned is palming off your responsibility.
Everyones contribution to the family is valuable, not just wage earning. My education hasn't gone to waste, my brain hasn't fallen out from being home and my children all benefited from it.
Also bare in mind most people only get two weeks paid vacation per year here. So kids would be in care about 50 weeks a year, I wouldn't want my kids that institutionalized.
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