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Marriage Advice from the 1950′s [POLL]

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I stumbled onto an article this morning from MentalFloss.com that shares advice for women on how to achieve wedded bliss from the 1950′s. I now understand feminism.

Thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in my lifetime the sexes have generally been treated equal. I grew up with Title IX implications in school, and women joining all male military institutions.

In today’s society, it is difficult for the wife not to work in order to keep up with the Jones’s. With the median income in the United States in 2012, at $51,371, both husband and wife are working to make ends meet and save for retirement.

The advice I read in today’s articles includes the following seven tips on how women can keep their men. It shares passages from ‘modern’ books on the subject of love and marriage sixty years ago:

1. Don’t Talk

2. Bad Cooking Will Lead Your Man to Seedy Saloons

3. Be the Hot Steak, Not the Cheap Pork Chop

4. Don’t Be a Sexual Vampire or a Frigid Franny

5. Pink Panties are a Must

6. Let Him Have a Little Fun Now and Then

7. Your Husband is the Boss of You

Each of these tips references advice from credible authors of the time, on what men expect from their wives.  Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer offers this advice from his book Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage:

“If [the husband] is intellectually inclined, and from time to time seeks to explain little things to her so that she may have at least a bare knowledge of what it is that interests him, and, without the slightest comment, she takes up again the fashion magazine she laid down when he commenced to speak, we may be pretty sure that there is going to be a ‘rift in the lute’ sooner or later in that house.”

The image in my mind is one of absurdity. It’ difficult for me to even comprehend living life as a second class citizen. I was brought up to find my own way. My mother taught me to be independent, educated and work hard.

I can’t even fathom the idea of staying at home, with my main purpose as preparing a perfect dinner on the table for my husband. As Dr. William Josephus Robinson suggests bad cooking could lead him to stray.

Bad cooking is responsible for dyspepsia, dyspepsia is responsible for grouchiness and irritability, grouchiness and irritability lead to quarrels and squabbles. And bad cooking, which is the usual thing in the average American home, has been responsible as much as any other factor for driving the husband to the saloon, and to other places. And when she does cook, she should cook, and not be, as somebody said, a mere can opener.

Dr. Robinson’s comments on the bedroom are hard to read, as young woman who spent her twenties reading Cosmopolitan magazine.

Just as the vampire sucks the blood of its victims in their sleep while they are alive, so does the woman vampire suck the life and exhaust the vitality of her male partner—or “victim.”

 

It is to be borne in mind that it is particularly older girls—girls between thirty and fifty—who are apt to be unreasonable in their demands when they get married; but no age is exempt; sexual vampires may be found among girls of twenty as well as among women of sixty and over.

The more I read, the more my jaw dropped. In recent years, I have begun to dream of a day when I might marry, stay home and raise children with the goals of a clean house, dinner on the table, and a happy home. I have longed for the idyllic nostalgia of that idea.

I feel like there must be a balance between the two. We’ve reached a place in our society where women have the opportunity to be as educated as their husbands. Women no longer need to cower to the head of the household due to ignorance or to keep the peace.

I had never truly appreciated the feminist movement. I had always taken my equality for granted, and seen it negatively as a way of making women more masculine. Now I see it gave us options.

Thanks to the feminist movement we can choose to stay at home or work, and receive an equal wage. Women  can retain our femininity and keep our men without adhering the male chauvinist advice of our past.

 

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