To some people the 1960’s were the best of times: to others it was a period when many things went wrong in society Essay

The 1960’s was a time of change, especially for teenagers, but for some people the changes were good but for some they were bad. There were two main groups of people who each had separate views about society. The liberal minded teenagers, middle/working class people, women and homosexuals, and the conservative minded older generation with traditional ideas, the establishment – the monarchy and politicians – and the church.

The Married Women’s Property Act was introduced in 1964, the Matrimonial House Act in ’67 and the Divorce Act in ’69. These bills gave women equal rights with the husband over possessions and the house, equal standard of life and fair treatment in a divorce for men or women. This was good for women and men because they could divorce from unhappy marriage easily and fairly and good for women because they could gain more from life. This was bad for conservative minded people because they thought that having a family and marriage was becoming less and less important.

In 1965, the Death Penalty was abolished and this meant that incorrect convictions where people had been sent to prison for something they hadn’t done could be released. Liberal minded people thought that this was a fairer system, but conservative minded people felt that this justice system was too relaxed and would lead to a breakdown of law and order. Also, tax payers had to py for the upkeep of more prisons.

In 1967 the Abortion Act was passed so women could get abortions legally and safely. Pregnant women were desperate to get rid of a baby so they went to backstreet, illegal abortionists. The conditions in which the illegal abortions were performed were dangerous and so were the processes. Making it legal was good for liberal minded people, especially women because they were safer due to new procedures. It was good for teenagers because it gave them more sexual freedom along with the introduction of ‘the pill’. The church didn’t like abortion because it was a against religious beliefs, the older generation felt there was too much freedom for children and other conservative minded people thought that British society was breaking down and that there was too much immorality, especially sexual immorality.

Also in 1967, the Homosexuals Act was introduced which allowed gay people more sexual freedom: homosexual practices were made legal in private as long as they were over 21 years of age. This was good for homosexuals and liberal minded people because people were getting what they wanted. The church disagreed with this act because of religious beliefs and conservative minded people disagreed with this act because they felt that traditional ideas of a family were being forgotten.

Many changes in the media sparked up different views from conservative minded people and from liberal minded people. New radio stations started to play new songs and put forward new views. These radio stations were illegal and were broadcast from offshore, but teenagers loved these stations because they were commercial and they played nothing but pop music. Examples of these pirate stations were Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline. But the older generation of people with traditional views, the establishment and the church had other ideas: they disliked the pirate stations because they thought that they were un-educational and immoral.

Magazines started being printed and aimed at younger generations. These magazines included Private Eye and others which were satirical and made fun of the establishment and politics. The establishment did not like these magazines because it was the subject of the satire, but on the other hand, liberal minded people liked the magazines because they believed that any one could have their own views and the magazines expressed these views. Television also started changing in favour of liberal minded people because it was showing more pop music (Top of the Pops) for teenagers and more cultured programs for elders. Teenagers loved this because they were getting what they wanted to see, but older, more traditional people did not like the change because they thought that it was immoral or un-educational.

Fashion in the 1960’s changed in favour of younger people. Clothes and their styles became more extravagant through the influence of designers such as Mary Quant and shops such as Bazaar. This new fashion was great for designers and retailers because they were selling more clothes and earning more, and for young people because they could express themselves by their clothes and have original fashions. The older generations did not like this fashion because they thought that these new clothes and new ideas were ridding Britain of its smart culture.

Above everything else which happened in Britain the 1960’s, change was the most prolific event. This change affected everyone, whether they realised it or not. There were changes to suit many people: young women and men, teenagers, middle and working classes, homosexuals and all liberal minded people because they were getting what they wanted and what they believed they deserved. But there were also changes which annoyed and aggravated certain people: those with traditional ideas of a family, the older generations, the establishment and the church because of religious beliefs and because they wanted to keep an educated, sophisticated society. Overall the view of the change in the 1960’s depended on who you were and what place you had in society.