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Friday, July 17, 2009

The Successful Housewife

Awhile back I stumbled onto a film from 1955 called: "Why Study Home Economics?" Despite the slightly cornball performances, they are cute really, I thought the message was worth sharing. As the film makes the case for home economics, it describes the role and purpose of the housewife.

"Your success or failure as a homemaker will be determined by your ability to develop good family relationships"
  1. Preparing food for the individual needs of your family,

  2. Knowing how to distinguish between fabric types, or how to choose and construct clothing to meet the individual needs of your family,

  3. Learning to distinguish between furniture types and quality,

  4. Understanding the principles of money management, how to use most advantageously whatever income you have,

  5. Guiding a child's physical, mental and emotional development,

  6. Teaching children money management, to take responsibility for their decisions, and how to adjust to social situations,

  7. Developing democratic practices within the home,

  8. Taking an active part in community affairs to protect the interests of your family or sharing your education with others.
And finally that silly subject of home economics, which has been eradicated from many schools, or trivialised beyond recognition. I guess it needed a more compelling mission statement, although to be honest, I can't really find fault with the existing one:

"Home Economics shows you how to use all of your education to improve your living conditions."

I mean, do you know how much money the world spends on economists who spend their days trying to figure that out?

And I kind of wish that more people had those money management skills up there in that list.

And if a housewife is responsible for developing democratic practices within the home, cannot it also be said that she is responsible for nurturing and developing the very principles that this nation was founded upon? That with her success or failure, so goes the nation as well?

This video, made in 1955, says that the housewife should "participate in community affairs to protect the interests of her family". That sounds like as good of a description of politics as any others I've heard.

So what world were these women living in? Did they not get the memo?
Anna Quindlen, in her introduction to the most recent paperback edition of The Feminine Mystique, proclaims that this book changed her life and that of millions of other women who became engaged in the women's movement and "jettisoned empty hours of endless housework and found work, and meaning, outside of raising their children and feeding their husbands. Out of Friedan's argument that women had been coaxed into selling out their intellect and their ambitions for the paltry price of a new washing machine came a great wave of change in which women demanded equality and parity under the law and in the workplace." Source

In fact, the more reading I do in the newspapers of the 1940s and 1950s, the more it seems like many of the claims of the feminists about the supposed drudgery of the life-housewife missed the mark.

Perhaps women should consider the current state of affairs in the US and pay a little more attention to protecting the interests of their families. Because I can promise you one thing, nobody else, whether private citizen, politician or government bureaucrat is going to do it for you.


1 comment:

MaxMomFL said...

This is a great post. In fact, your whole blog is wonderful. No just because I find myself agreeing with most of your sentiments that I have read so far, but also because you have a very good way of expressing yourself and making your writing interesting. I don't know why you don't receive more comments.