LIFE devoted its special Christmas edition of 1956 to a "state of the nation" look at "The American Woman: Her Achievements and Troubles". The image of an FBI typing pool, above, was spread across two pages of the magazine.
The sexes were still, apparently, at loggerheads, and women's lib a way off yet ...
But LIFE laid the facts on the line:And this is what the 20-year-old American woman looked for in a prospective husband:
One of the featured women was Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who used a state-of-the-art Royal portable typewriter:
The only mention of the trade name Remington was for this electric razor. Cars were ENORMOUS - but very beautiful:
Howard Johnson's looked far healthier than McDonald's (and no doubt was), but spaghetti dinner from a packet? And sausages with maple sugar syrup? Yuck!
Women's fashion, like typewriters, had reached its zenith, and some of the "typical" young women of California, Texas, Paris and Israel packed rifles, but were eternally stunning nonetheless:
Still, it seemed that for most, a women's place remained in the home, albeit with all mod cons:
Yuletide punches looked absolutely delicious - I'm going to try these 60-year-old (and more) recipes this coming Christmas: