Previously published in Examiner
Part one of the housewife series
So far we have looked at the role of women being centered on the home in the 1950's. We saw how the first lady, Mamie Eisenhower endorsed that view, and how even the media through television sitcoms perpetuated the myths. However, this lifestyle also coined the "housewife syndrome" was acculturated in all aspects of life. So strong were these social mores that they were taught to young high school girls in Montreal and in every area of the Canada and the United States.
Here are some points that were taken out of a high school textbook for a home economics class of 1954. This Montreal examiner has included her opinion under each point in the section called note.
The following examples are taken out of a standard curriculum of the 1950's
How to be a good housewife
Make sure dinner is on the table, your man is hungry when he gets home. Have dinner waiting; it will be a warm welcome for him. Plan ahead and figure out the dinner the night before. You will be showing him you are concerned about his needs and are thinking about him.
Note: This point seems fair enough. However, there must be room for days that just went wrong and dinner is not waiting on the table. What happens if a child gets sick, the furnace breaks, the basement floods, the roast get burnt or the woman is just plain tired?
"Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when your husband arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in 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. His boring day may need a lift."
Note: The above-mentioned quote was left in tack. What women who has just dealt with screaming children has time to freshen up with makeup? How many of these women would be gay (synonym for happy or cheerful). How unreal can this view of marriage bliss get?
The points to becoming a good Montreal housewife in the 1950's will continue in the next article.