Life seemed simple and innocent in the 50's, didn't it? Most moms stayed at home while the fathers worked and it was still safe to play outside all day and sometimes into the night without checking in at home unless you were hungry. I think many of us, the baby boomers, look back wistfully the simplicity of life back then but if you think really, really hard about it, was all of it really that good?
If you were an unmarried, divorced, or widowed woman back then you absolutely couldn't expect to be paid the same as a man even if you were fortunate to be hired to an equal position. The labor ratio for male/female was 5/2 and married women who insisted on working were considered to be less a true woman since they weren't available to care for their husbands as well as a wife who didn't work. Minimum wage was a whole $1 (that hasn't changed much).
Polio killed almost 12,000 of our children in the 50's before a vaccine was available nationwide to stop it.
Many families had bomb shelters and there were pamphlets distributed to tell us how to survive radiation fallout.
People of color had few or no rights and couldn't drink from the same fountain, attend the same public school, or sit in the same dining room as a white person. More than 50% of black families back then were below the poverty level.
Spousal abuse, including spousal rape, wasn't considered a crime.
Many human subjects, a lot of them uninformed minorities, elderly people, persons with mental retardation, terminal patients, and prison inmates were used in experiments involving radioactive materials which have led to today's treatments for cancer and for diagnostic tools. In the 50's these experiments weren't as strictly regulated by the US government as they are today.
I turned 5 during the last year of the 50's so I really only remember the carryover of many of these events into the 60's but I think life was probably better then because we never actually knew much about this stuff going on until we heard about it as adults. These days we're bombarded instantly with so much of the worst in the world that we're becoming immune to it.