RCC Honors History Project

How to be a Good Wife

Posted by mcelynrh on May 23, 2009

I think that it really means how to be a good housewife because I think that this article was written in the ’50s in The Good Wife’s Guide. Then most wives were housewives so it wasn’t really necessary to use the term “housewife.”

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3 Responses to “How to be a Good Wife”

  1. chad612 said

    Nine years later (1964!) the following Hal David lyric (with catchy Burt Bacharach music)was a Grammy-winner for Jack Jones, hitting number 14 on the charts and becoming a standard with over a hundred cover versions. It’s especially important not to “send him off with your hair still in curlers/You may not see him again” because “There are girls at the office/And men will always be men.” This is why the feminist movement was necessary.

    Hey! Little Girl
    Comb your hair, fix your makeup
    Soon he will open the door
    Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
    You needn’t try anymore

    For wives should always be lovers too
    Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
    I’m warning you…

    Day after day
    There are girls at the office
    And men will always be men
    Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
    You may not see him again

    For wives should always be lovers too
    Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
    He’s almost here…

    Hey! Little girl
    Better wear something pretty
    Something you’d wear to go to the city and
    Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
    Time to get ready for love
    Time to get ready
    Time to get ready for love

  2. dmcneal347 said

    This was an interesting magazine article. I used this in my English class when I had to do a project on woman suffrage and the poems between 1940 and 1960. The class got a chuckle, but I don’t think that they really understood the image that woman had to hold. I also had to pick out and study some women that made a significant difference around this time and one of them, which I chose, was Betty Friedan. Friedan wrote a book called the Feminine Mystique in 1963 that opened many eyes to the life of a suburban wife. She also became the first president of the National Organization for Woman (NOW). I just thought this book was interesting because she did exactly what many of the authors of the books we have read did. She went out and interview women who had the same problem as she did. It seems to be a popular theme, if you want something to change, just go talk to people with the same problems and write a book.

  3. nrohr said

    That leaves me with an interesting mix of anger and amusement. I’m confused by the idea that your entire life should be devoted to one person. I don’t deride the idea of spending your life with one person, but I do see the idea of devoting every action of your every day to the needs of one person, often times without thanks, as unhealthy and wrong. It’s so extreme. Of course a woman should care about her husband and want to make him happy, but that doesn’t need to be her only concern in the world. In fact it shouldn’t be. Women are setting themselves up for disappointment if all they do is try to make men happy. The writer of these guidelines never indicates that a husband will be surprised or touched by the woman’s hard work, but more that the woman should go about things quietly so that he won’t even notice what she did. So her entire measure of effort and energy goes unthanked. Now what does he think she does all day? The author writes that “catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.” Again, making people happy can make you happy, but if it’s your entire life’s work and it’s taken for granted, I don’t think that will ultimately lead to substantial satisfaction or fulfillment. This concept of a marriage is so extreme it’s no wonder there was such a backlash from it. This article is entirely antithetical to the notion of marriage as a partnership. “He is the master of the house?” But you’re the one who has to make it a haven of peace and tranquility for him! I also think the article puts the role of wife ahead of the role of mother and suggests little involvement from the father. And then, “you have no right to question him.” Okay, that’s it.

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