Stereotypical gender roles are something that plague the female population, but praise males in that women have traditionally been seen as housewives and had fewer rights for many years—that is until society granted equal rights. Despite the legal recognition of equality, the damage was already done and irreversible.
Women are still seen to be responsible for certain things in life—particularly in the home—leading many women to feel pressured to take on these responsibilities and roles at the expense of others that they may desire to take on. However, women do not need to succumb to this stereotypical gender role.
10 steps to being the perfect 1950's housewife
- According to various guides on how to be the perfect housewife, dinner must always be ready as your husband walks in the door (so that your husband knows you care), and it is preferred that you always make his favorite meals.
- You must also look refreshed, clean and well put together (i.e. makeup and hair done nicely). Your duty when he walks in the door is to be perky and excited; make pleasant conversation because he had a hard day at work.
- When he comes in, cater to all his needs with a smile and do whatever he desires; your reward is the pleasure of doing everything for him.
- You are to listen, and he talks first, his conversation is more important because he works.
- Never question where your husband is, or was, even if he doesn’t come home all night. He deserves to do as he pleases because he works hard and his work is stressful. You can also never get angry at him.
- You must always speak in quiet, soothing voices, and take his shoes off while he sits and rests.
- Your job is also to take care of the kids and keep them quiet around the house. They are to be seen and not heard. They are also supposed to be well-behaved, and it is your job to make sure that they are.
- Keep him comfortable at all times, light a fire for him in the colder months and always listen to what he says.
- The house is a place of peace, order and tranquility, so don’t ask questions or judge your husband.
- The house must always be spotless.
Back in the 1950s, men were the masters of the house, and women were essentially slaves to their husbands. They had to do what their husbands said, not speak their minds or give their opinions, and they had to do all the housework. Women were subservient and submissive.
In today’s day and age, more women have jobs outside of the home, and are no longer limited to nursing, teaching and secretarial work. Today, women are able to do any job and have equal rights. However, a lot of women still feel pressured by their husbands, society or mothers to be the ‘ideal’ wife and housewife.
The modern day housewife
Thankfully, the role of a housewife has evolved. Women can wear what they please, there is less pressure to have the house spotless daily, to manage the kids, not to question or talk or to be the perfect cook who has dinner ready right on time.
Women are allowed to be opinionated and have a say in life. However, the typical housewife in our day and age still cleans, cooks and does all the work for the man who has the stressful day at work and they typically do take care of the kids. How to be the perfect housewife has evolved, but the purpose, role and ideals of a housewife have stayed almost the same.
Women should not feel like they have to do this. Traditionally, the role of women was to be baby-makers and then nannies in a sense, housemaids and the chefs of the house.
I am not saying that all women need to stop doing this and conform to the modern world that allows women to have all the freedoms and liberties men have. I am a firm believer that women should do what they please and what makes them happy, even if it is being a housewife. However, there is a pandemic where women feel like this is their only option after having children or getting married because it was and still is the presumed role of women.
Despite the major growth women have had throughout the course of history, the world still influences and, in a sense, pushes women to take the traditional route. Women are still not truly seen as men's equal. This remains an issue and women need to realize not only what the issue is, but also that they have options. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below!