Philobiblon: Do You Want Your Wife to Work?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Do You Want Your Wife to Work?

A fascinating pamphlet from World War II America: Do you Want Your Wife to Work, from the GI Roundtable Series It is a curious melange, showing clear signs of being assembled by a committee, lurching from extremely reactionary to entirely reasonable:

But women are not made only for having babies. They have hands and brains and even in a man-made world have acquired innumerable skills. Women, therefore, have capacity for a work function similar to that of men. It would seem that the core of the "woman problem" consists of the difficulty in combining an outside job with homemaking and motherhood.

Plus ca change ...

Then there's: Can War Marriages be Made to Work, containing the remarkably sensible advice:

The "fifty-fifty" marriage, the kind in which neither husband nor wife orders the other around but in which they share equal authority and parallel responsibility, seems to have the best chance of success. There are persons who like to be bossed and others who enjoy bossing. If such individuals happen to pair off, the marriage may be a success. But in general American women are not by temperament or by training inclined to play the role of door mat in marriage any more than American men.

Reading that, I couldn't help thinking that large parts of fundamentalist America would today find that simple statement unacceptably radical. Would it appear in an official federal publication today? I doubt it.

Found on the wonderful History Carnival No XXIII, just up on Old is the New New.

Expect to see my history blogroll augmented soon ...


Blogger TW said...

I think you should look at a number of publications from the Cooperative Extension Service in particular. Those government publications often contain such hair raising statements.

1/15/2006 10:26:00 pm  
Blogger ~Dawn said...

Wow, wonderful post. Thanks for bringing that out to the open. Such horrible 'un-patriotic' sentiments from our government. HA!

This is one aspect where I wouldn't mind the fundies wanting to go back to the 'good' days of yester year.

1/19/2006 11:13:00 am  

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