Friday, March 6, 2009

6 March 1955 "Housewife or Executive?"




I have been unexpectedly busy today and feel bad that I did not get to my blog. So, I am going to post this article that is part of a larger piece I want to discuss in my next blog. I think it is really fitting concerning the idea of the homemaker as a real career woman. It is interesting to see that it was even an issue in 1955. Perhaps those woman who did choose to go 'back to the home' were actually chastised even then by their fellow WWII Rosy the Rivetor compatriots that wondered why they would do it. Obviously, by what the article demonstrates, many men did not view it as a career either. I found it odd, actually, as I believe many people today would think that in the 1950s it would have been considered a real job, but it appears that was not always the view. So, here is the piece that is part of the larger article. Read it if you have a chance and comment on it and then tomorrow I will be adding more info from the piece.



15 comments:

  1. Have a good weekend 50sgal!

    I thought about you today as I was grocery shopping. I was in the aisle with the cleaning products, and they had a gallon sized jug of a generic cleaner with pine oil! I imagined you buying it, decanting it into smaller bottles with your labels on them, and happily storing them away for future use. :)

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  2. I wish I has this article yesterday! We went back to have our taxes done (and going back one more time), and I started asking about deductions. I said, "If I work for myself, can I deduct my expenses?" They said, "Yes." Me: "Well, I'm a housewife. If my vacuum cleaner breaks, and I have to buy a new one, isn't that a deduction?" The Marines started laughing and said, "A homemaker is not a job, otherwise, every family in America would be rich. They'd deduct their flat screen TVs, their couches--" Me, inturuptuing: "No, no, no! That's not what I'm saying. Those tools are not essential for me to get the job done. If I have to clean the house, a vacuum cleaner is part of that. I don't need a new sofa to run a household, nor do I need a TV." Them: "Do you get a paycheck for this job?" Me, now angry and blushing slightly: "No." Them: "Then you can't deduct it. Nice argument though. Best one we've heard in looong time."

    ::shrugs:: I tried.

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  3. Hairball-funny you mentioned that, as yesterday Vintage friend and I were in the cleaning ailses for some time. Smelling contents, comparing ingrediets etc. I showed her how a bottle of 'spray and clean'murphys oil soap is the same price as the 'old-fashioned' bottle, which is concentrate to make much more. The clean and go bottle is just premixed for the same price! But, as a consumer culture now, we just don't look closely at what we buy, we listen to the all seeing advertising machine and then just buy what is easy. I also notice all the cheap and concentrated forms of cleaners are at the very bottom or at the top where it is hard to reach (unless you are tall like me or course) so you buy more at eye level, which is the expensive product.
    Emer-I would have loved to watch you trying to tell, what I am supposing, is a large marine, that being a homemaker IS a job. It is true, why can't we deduct cleaning products and machinery for the home. It is a business and our paychecks our the money we save our family by being home!

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  4. loving your blog!!
    all of us at www.happyhousewivesclub.com
    wanted you to know!!
    xo, kelly from HHC

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  5. Thanks so much kelly AND happyhousewives!

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  6. I chuckled at the mention of Mary Martin's performance as Peter Pan. This is a true story, but your readers must promise not to spread it around. Let's leave this in the fifties; shall we? When I was about three (1958), the Peter Pan movie with Mary Martin was on TV. My parents thought I was safely watching it in the living room while they were in the kitchen. Mary Martin (Peter Pan) assured me that if I thought happy thoughts, I could fly -- or was it that mischievous Tinker Bell? At two and a half to three, I was always full of happy thoughts and great confidence in what adults told me. So, I started at one end of the living room and ran full speed toward the other end into a flying leap. Alas, I not not quite reach my goal altitude. Instead, I crashed through a rocking chair, breaking the slats and turning the rocker upside down upon myself. My parents, needless to say, came running in when they heard the crash and were shocked to find me under the rocking chair. I do not remember the crash, only running and leaping and a happy moment of feeling as if I really could fly. My parents had the rocker repaired, and it's still at my father's house.

    Anyhow, I'm a genuine mid-century antique, circa 1955, myself, so I am quite interested in your experiment.

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  7. P.S. The homemaker in your article looks cute in her jeans, and I'm sure you do, too. However, I can remember the time (albeit more like the very early 60's) when my mother and her friends really did wear shirtwaists and necklaces when cleaning -- a la June Cleaver. I wonder if that was a later fashion?

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  8. Elizabeth-welcome and what a wonderful story!
    Elizabeth-maybe it just depends on the day. Most days when I am set and ready to do a certain cleaning task I am in my 'work clothes'. But if I have gone out marketing or shopping and come home, like the other day, I sometimes do not change but just put on my apron and go. I swept and mopped the kitchen floors in my full skirt, petticoat and heels without even realizing it. Or maybe in the early 60s they were influenced by June Cleaver, you have to remember I have not OFFICIALLY seen her yet, as I believe Leave it to Beaver came out in 58 or 59.

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  9. my favourite quote in that article is "Between 7am and 11 pm, no sky high tycoon or strong laborer works harder that a size 10 blonde with two children".

    I'm going to emrboider that on an apron

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  10. "I also notice all the cheap and concentrated forms of cleaners are at the very bottom or at the top where it is hard to reach (unless you are tall like me or course) so you buy more at eye level, which is the expensive product."

    Yep. Anybody that thinks they don't do that on purpose is very naive.

    I hate the pricing schemes like 8 for $2.18. They know that most people will not stop to calculate out the cost per item and that is why they do it that way. They hate people like me who shop with two calculators so I can keep a running total on one and calculate the true cost per item/ounce/whatever on the other.

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