As I was perusing the old gardening book that I recently acquired, I made another interesting discovery.
I found this old newspaper clipping which—judging by the author’s thumbnail picture—is probably from the 1950s. Although, Ruth Millett was a popular columnist from the ’30s through the ’60s, so it could be from the ’40s. The article is titled, “Follow Six Rules, and Homework is Happy Job.”
Some of the ideas that are postulated would be a bit disturbing to many women today (even though Ruth Millett was actually seen as a feminist of the time!). While there is no disputing that this article was written by a woman, I have read about articles and books of a similar nature, meant for women, that were written by men. So, I sometimes wonder when I come across articles and books that supposedly were written by women, how many were actually authored by or re-written by men. That is a completely separate topic, so I’ll save it for another time.
Most of the article doesn’t seem very problematic to me (though it is obviously designed to keep women from seeking a job outside of the home). However, there’s one line that I was particularly bothered by: “think of marriage as your job, and look on the job of housework as the time you put in earning the right to be a married woman.” The part that stuck out to me was, “earning the right to be a married woman.” Is that a right that should need to be earned? To me, that statement is akin to saying “earning the right to your husband’s love.”
I used to wish I had been born in an earlier time, simply because I have always been drawn to all things vintage and antique. But then I come across little hints of what life was like for women at the time, and find myself thankful that I don’t have to endure the mistreatment that resulted from the pervasive undercurrent of chauvinism in society. Although many women still face similar societal attitudes today, it is nowhere near as pervasive.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this topic? Perhaps I read too much into that line? I think not, given the countless other articles and advertisements of that time period (in everything from good housekeeping, to local newspapers) that I have come across. Have you come across similar articles? Does anyone know more about Ruth Millett that they would like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts.