The 1960s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

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The 1960s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

Rachel Carson
Andre Courreges
Betty Friedan
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
Timothy Leary
Malcolm X
Benjamin Spock
Robert Venturi

Rachel Carson (1907–1964) In 1962, marine biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson published The Silent Spring, in which she warned of the hazards of environmental pollution. She spotlighted the dangers that pesticides and other toxic materials pose to plant, animal, and human life. Testifying before a U.S. Senate committee on environmental hazards in 1963, Carson argued that people should have the right to be free from poisons introduced by others into the environment. Despite attempts by the pesticide industry to discredit Carson, her views prevailed, and in 1970, the federal government formed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Andre Courreges (1923–) In 1963, fashion designer Andre Courreges revolutionized the fashion world with youth-oriented designs. He spotlighted pants and short skirts, and snow-white designs. Courreges also introduced the first of what he called "space-age" designs: crisply cut clothes, featuring plenty of white, and his trademark short white boots. In 1967, he added see-through minidresses and clothing with cutout spaces that exposed women's bodies. With designer Mary Quant (1934–), Courreges is credited with creating the miniskirt.

Betty Friedan (1921–) During the late 1960s, countless American women were trying to find more for their lives than the roles of wives and mothers could offer. They demanded equal rights and opportunities. Betty Friedan authored The Feminine Mystique (1963), which became one of the women's movement's bibles. In the book, she bared the falsehood of the "feminine mystique": that family and career did not mesh in women's lives. Friedan was also one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929–1994) Before Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, first ladies were viewed as matrons who quietly supported their husband's every action. Occasionally, a president's wife such as Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) established her own identity as a social or political advocate. However, the wife of President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) was a new kind of first lady. Jackie was young. She was stylish. She was elegant. She became a model of style for millions of American women.

Timothy Leary (1920–1996) Timothy Leary, at one time a lecturer in psychology at Harvard, became one of the gurus of the hippie/drug culture when he urged America's young to "turn on, tune in, drop out." In particular, Leary encouraged the use of the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). As the U.S. government stepped up enforcement of drug possession laws, Leary spent the late 1960s and beyond evading jail. After eventually serving various prison terms, Leary became a social commentator and lecturer.

Malcolm X (1919–1965) Malcolm X was a prominent figure in the Civil Rights movement of the early- and mid-1960s. A member of the Nation of Islam, often called the Black Muslims, Malcolm encouraged his followers to follow militant racial separatism instead of the nonviolent tactics and integrationist demands of fellow civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. As Malcolm continued to become more popular with the people, the inner circle of the Nation of Islam became jealous and suspended Malcolm in 1963. Malcolm was then assassinated by three Black Muslims in 1965 while giving a speech in New York.

Benjamin Spock (1903–1998) During the 1950s and the 1960s, American mothers regularly consulted the Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946) by Benjamin Spock. He also was one of America's most prominent voices of protest against the war in Vietnam. In 1968, Spock was put on trial for allegedly attempting to hinder the military draft. While on the witness stand, he asked, "What is the use of physicians like myself trying to help parents bring up children, healthy and happy, to have them killed in such numbers for a cause that is ignoble?"

Robert Venturi (1925–) In 1966 Robert Venturi created controversy with the publication of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, in which he lambasted the reigning giants of architecture. Venturi argued for architecture that spotlighted creativity and variation. Modernists rejected older forms and ornamentation; to Venturi's way of thinking, it was entirely appropriate to incorporate these forms (which included everything from wall ornamentation to Roman arches and Corinthian columns) in contemporary design. Venturi's unorthodox approach placed him at the forefront of postmodern architecture.

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The 1960s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers

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The 1960s Lifestyles and Social Trends: Headline Makers