What makes a good housewife? That’s a really good question. A better question would be whether or not we actually refer to women as ‘housewives’ anymore? I think the politically correct terminology these days would be “stay-at-home mom.” Whatever the case may be, I came across this intriguing – and humorous – article a couple years ago when chain mailing was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I completely forgot about it until a friend brought it up in a recent conversation. I laughed just as hard the second time reading it as I did when I first read it a few years ago. Feel free to click the link or check out the article below. It’s called the “Good Wife’s Guide” and was published May 13, 1955 in Housekeeping Monthly. It’s a little lengthy, but totally worth the read (especially if you need a good chuckle):
In my humble opinion, not myth – more like legend. There is no doubt in my mind that these types of women existed. Only stark remnants of these women exist today, and most of them would probably be 85 years of age and older. And for that matter, any modern woman that treats her husband in this manner would have been raised by a mother that treated her husband the exact same way. This type of “housewifery” could only be taught, because there is no way in hell that ANY (sane) woman would magically start treating her husband this way completely out of the blue.
But lets step back into reality and reevaluate the mythical creature known as the “1950s housewife.” This behavior would not fly today, nor would any male truly be interested a woman of this nature.
Gasp. Why, do you ask? Here’s my reasoning:
- Complacency: Realistically the list above sounds great, right? But wouldn’t you find this “housewife” to be one of the most irritating people you’ve ever met? I don’t need someone to sit me back in a comfortable chair, nor do I need someone to snuggle my feet into some fuzzy slippers. If we had a bad day at work, I want us to be able to bitch about it together. Tell me about your shitty day, and I’ll tell you about mine.
- Money: I would much rather my wife bring in a 5/6 figure salary than know how to cook my steak to a perfect medium rare. And on that note, do girls in my generation cook anymore? You can’t see me, but I’m shaking my head in disappointment. So at least bring in some money.
- Sheer Annoyance: I want a wife that is going to challenge me, not agree with everything that I say. Remember Nicole Kidman in The Stepford Wives? I mean, how hot was she? But she was also extremely annoying. And when you’re spending the rest of your life with someone, being annoying far outweighs being hot (some of you may disagree).
So if things have changed this much over the past 50 years, I could only image what things will be like in ANOTHER 50 years. All I know is that its making all of us stronger in the long run. Men can now do things that were considered “below” them in the past. We can cook, clean, take care of the kids, etc. But where does this leave women? Well I know plenty of girls that can do pretty “manly” things (home repair, work on cars, etc..). Lets be realistic. Women are plenty capable of doing many, many things. The Good Wife’s Guide seems to imply that women are only good for cooking, taking care of the kids, and keeping quiet. I would really like to believe that this a drastically inaccurate portrayal of women, whether in the 1950s or in modern day. Personally, I blame Leave it to Beaver.