August 18, 2007

A British Magazine -- But The Sentiment Echoed Across the Pond

I hadn’t known, till Mary Ellen of The Divine Democrat brought it up, that today is the anniversary of the final ratification of the 19th Amendement to the Constitution, tho I had known it passed in 1920.
So, one hundred forty-four years, 1 month and 14 days after the signing of The Declaration of Independence, and after a long struggle, women were allowed to participate in government affairs.

So, it seemed this was a good time to post the magazine article my [male] cousin sent me a few years back.

Who knows? Maybe women, who had been a vital part of the work force just a decade earlier, were acting uppity and were perceived as needing a refresher course in the propaganda. See what you think--
Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955—no author attributed.
[Male? Almost certainly. Interesting, however, that no one was willing to put his name on it.]
Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready in time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon n your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, papers etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift, too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Be happy to see him.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first—remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and, as such, will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

A good wife always knows her place.
[emphasis added]
Slavery, anyone?

I noticed, too, that the children are listed with the appliances to be kept quiet. In the accompanying drawing [which is from the original article] they certainly look cowed.

Just one more note:
My mother [who is very much alive, today] was born 2 days after the 19th amendment was ratified. And I was born 27 years after that.
That sure puts things in perspective for me.


Suzie-Q (S-Q) said...

So, in 1955, did women have a life?

Needless to say, I could not fit that mold...


PoliShifter said...

During WW2 we needed Rosie the Riveter to ditch her apron and don a welding helmet to assist in the production of everything ranging from bullets to B-17's.

After the war, the powers at be decided they could not have women competing in the work place for jobs all the returning GI's would need.

Thus started the Susy Homemaker propaganda campaign and the subjection of women.

During WW2 the propaganda aimed at women portrayed them as strong people essential to the war effort.

After the war, they needed to puncture this image and replace it with the stay-at-home wife who attends dutifully to the needs of her husband.

I think reality of life in the 1950's was far different from what was portrayed on the TV shows and magazines.

two crows said...

you and me both, SQ

two crows said...

you got that right, Poli--
I was around during the :6 '50s.

and I was brought up to believe I had 6 choices:
I could be a wife&mother [all one word], a waitress serving others and making NO money to speak of], a secretary [catering to a man], a nurse [caring for others], a teacher [caring for the young] and an airline stewardess [a glorified waitress].

thank goodness there were so many of us and we stood up and said, 'uh---- NO!!!!!!!!!'

even then, I was still indoctrinated enough to go into a helping profession -- though it was better than those listed here.
still, the NEXT generation got a lot more freedom than we did.

to use one of my family quotes: 'It was a struggle but we won.'

an average patriot said...

two crows
That letter bothers me. no one is any better than anyone else. no one shoud be waiting on anyone else either unless they want to.
There are more things as far as I am concerned that women are much better at then men, Them being portrayed as the little servant to men bothers me.
You know what they say, behind every good man is a woman and to me they should often times be in the front.

two crows said...

oh, one more thing--
after more struggle, still, we've progressed from making, on average, 63c for every dollar a man makes, to 71c.

and the vast majority of single parents, most often against their will, are still women.

so, we make less money and have far more responsibility than men -- on average.

what a legacy to bequeath to our daughters.

two crows said...

thx, AAP--
we're still workin on it.
one day, it may even not be perceived as an insult for a woman to be called 'ambitious'.
[even the West Wing -- a tv show known for it's strong women fell into that trap].

personally, I don't think any one group is better at any profession than any other group.
some women make great firefighters and can carry all thar equipment more easily than some men can.
and I've known a number men who can be better mothers and teachers than many women can.

I am rooting for the day when all jobs are awarded solely on merit -- and gender, color, age, religion, sexual preference, marital state or any of the other artificial methods we use to determine fitness for a position don't even come into the mix.

but, sadly, that day is not yet.

two crows said...

all THAT equipment--
get all passionate and don't proofread and see what happens???

two crows said...

oh, AAP--
another saying back then was, 'the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.'

yeah, right.
it was a blatant piece of propaganda put out to make women happy with their lot.
of course, it wasn't mentioned but it was understood -- the _occupant_ of the cradle had better be a boy.

but the mother had no power -- any more than the wife of the powerful man did.

two crows said...

as I've mentioned on previous posts, you _don't_ want to let me get started on women's issues.
I can go on and on and on and on and on and on . . . .

an average patriot said...

two crows
Feel free to ramble on. While you're at it why don't you make ebelieve this is your site. Women are greatly under rated, in many ways are stronger than men, and greatly under rated. Where would we be without them?

two crows said...

ha! AAP-- good point!
we'd be extinct. :)

two crows said...

hnh! poli--
I was just rereading your comment and had another thought:
remember the rubber drives, newspaper drives, copper and iron drives, etc. etc. etc. of the war effort?
well -- me either -- but I've heard tell.

women were just another commodity. workers were in short supply and -- there we were, just sittin around, right?
then, when the war was over, we had to be shunted off to the side so the important people could be accommodated.

I've never felt like a used tire, before. . . but that's how the gov't saw us.

Mary Ellen said...

Hi two crows!

I've seen stuff like this before in some old Life magazines that I picked up in antique stores.

I remember when I was about 8 years old I was talking to my mom in the kitchen while she made dinner. For some reason we got on the subject of leaving your husband (I think my neighbor was getting divorced because her husband was an alcoholic). Back then, there weren't as many divorces as now. Anyway, I remember vividly telling my mom that it was good my neighbor was leaving her husband because he was a bad man. I can still hear my mom say, "A woman should never leave her husband even if he beats her." That left such an impression on me. I said to her, "No way! If a man beats you-you beat him right back!" Then she said I would understand when I get older.

And she wonders why I wanted to go into a convent!

Oh...and I didn't marry a man who beats me...he's scared I would beat him right back! ;-)

two crows said...

ha! m e--
I hadn't thought about that--
Catholic girls had an option the rest of us didn't get-- you could be nuns!
not fair! not fair! :)

believe it or not, this little S. Baptist girl wanted to be a nun, too.
tried to get my folks to send me to Catholic school when I was 9 or so. for some reason, they refused.
[they would've done well to agree-- the C schools were head-and-shoulders above the Kansas City, MO public schools.]

two crows said...

well, since I was supposed to be a wife&mother or a nurse's aide, mebbe they didn't see my education as all that important.

Larry said...

I think it is safe to assume, this goes on all over America, we just don't know it.

two crows said...

hey, larry --
well, I certainly hope it's not like it was in 1955 -- tho we know the discrimination goes on.

Larry said...

"It is not by great acts but by small failures that freedom dies. . . . Justice and liberty die quietly, because men first learn to ignore injustice and then no longer recognize it."

Charles Morgan Jr.

two crows said...

wow, larry--

btw-- check out today's [8/19] post above.
maybe something has been going on this past year after all?

two crows said...

oh and m e--
before I was born, when divorce was virtually unheard of outside Hollywood, my grandmother divorced my grandfather.
and, yes, he was an alcoholic.
he quit drinking and begged her to take him back. she repeatedly refused-- though from all I've heard, she still loved him, but she didn't trust him.

so, thanks to an exceedingly strong woman, at least I wasn't brought up with that stricture.