In the book “A Lesser Life” by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, there is a chapter on the “male rebellion” that occurred in the 1950s and 60s in response to men getting fed up with being providers while their wives enjoyed charmed lives at home. A snippet from “Through all my Housework in an Hour”, Ladies Home Journal, October 1960, highlights the typical day of a 1950s housewife:
It is no wonder men would get upset with this and no doubt it is stories like this one that lead men to go their own way and reject the provider role. Some may say Mrs. Crabtree deserves such a leisurely life, after all she found a way to get all her chores done at lightening speed so that she could thereby maximize her fun. Clever lady! Do men get this same luxury? If they have a 9-5 desk job, no matter how hard and efficient they are at their job, they still have to sit there till 5:00. It is said, “a woman’s work is never done”, yet with the invention of modern appliances, it really is done (at least for that day) and quick too. It is the man’s work of providing that is never truly done.
Take this same story and transfer it to modern times. No longer do women hurry up and get all their chores done to play bridge, but rather to be online with blogs and facebook. Women who spend an inordinate amount of time online–are they really any different than Mrs. Crabtree? Instead of 9-3 playing cards, its 9-3 blogging and facebooking. It is one thing if chores are done efficiently to spend time with family, homeschool, to be out with their kids in the real world, but a completely other thing so that she can play cards, be online in the fake world, or go shopping and get her hair done with the girls.
Now, there is a footnote to this story that is interesting:
Mrs. Crabtree is no doubt an upper middle class snob, so its no wonder that other women, presumably the lower class ones, took issue with this as not an accurate portrayal of the struggles of the average housewife. While Mrs. Crabtree says she may be “too content”, at the same time woman across America were getting that stirring of the famous problem that has no name.