1950s Housewife Trend: What’s It All About?
One of the most alarming trends that have evolved in the last few years is the “1950s housewife” movement, which sees an increasing number of women giving up their professions and freedom to care for their homes, families, and husbands’ every whim. Yet why?
Surprisingly, hundreds of people are becoming advocates for tradwives (short for traditional wives) trend in nations as different as the UK, Brazil, Germany, and Japan. Even bloggers, such as the Transformed Wife and the Vintage Mrs, have started praising this trend and providing guidance, from leveraging girlishness to obtaining what you want to create cakes using 1950s recipes.
This article seeks to explore the 1950s housewife trend and understand the reasons for its popularity and how it may affect modern society.
What is a Housewife?
During the Industrial Revolution, when people migrated from rural cultures to urban cities and women confronted new duties in society, they were responsible for creating housewife responsibilities. In the twenty-first century, the term “housewife” has come to be associated with negativity. To understand better this trend and why it appeared in the first place back in the 1950s, we’ll need to take a closer look at what a housewife is.
The term “housewife” was created to describe a woman who stays at home and takes care of the family while her husband works forty or more hours per week at an industry-based job. Whether they are stay-at-home mothers, homemakers, or housewives, the definition of a housewife has undoubtedly altered over the past century.
It is a profession that has the opposite stigma than it did in the past, whether this is due to inaccurate reality television, the prevalence of feminism in modern society, or some other idealization that being a housewife is no longer significant. In the 1930s, women were expected to stay home and discouraged from working outside the home.
They were supposed to place their family and home first, above all else, even their careers. However, by the year 2020, not only had the housewife’s job almost entirely disappeared, yet it had also begun to return.
Tradwives: A New Subculture?
You can easily find 1950s housewife content across all social media. From women posing with perfect smiles in cute vintage outfits to tips on becoming a better tradwife, this content is entering the mainstream media. By reaching other same-minded women, these tradwife influencers can grow their audience and impact other social media users as well.
However, is it possible that this trend merely makes a few tiny changes to an outdated movement and romanticizes it? These misogynistic values remind today’s women that our previous generations have depended on men and that this is a way to follow.
Although there are many subcultures, this one is concerning for several reasons. Firstly, as much as subcultures encourage diversity in society, how much do we genuinely want to see women throwing away their education and careers in the 21st century? Which benefits do women see from this trend?
Secondly, subcultures are created to build and maintain identity and power within their group. In the example of tradwives, their objective is to resign their passion and become submissive to their partners. Furthermore, their identity and entire existence depend on their male partner’s identity and existence, meaning that if divorced or single, a tradwife cannot fulfill her purpose.
Thirdly, subcultures are a result of marginalization. These newly created groups wish to resist dominant cultural values. However, tradwives are showing the opposite of resistance. For lack of a better term, tradwives are a subculture with non-traditional subcultural values.
The 1950s vs. Today
The obvious difference between these two eras is that women today have a choice. They can choose between a range of careers or being a housewife. If a woman decides to stay at home, take care of her family, and seek stability in her husband, there is nothing wrong with that. Also, if a woman decides not to pursue a degree and get married and have children instead, there is nothing wrong with that either.
Some have argued that nobody would see a problem in a trend encouraging women to get a degree, so what makes the 1950s housewife trend so controversial? The answer is quite simple. However, the issue with such a trend is the number of choices it takes away from women in modern society. As a woman, you have every right to be a housewife or a stay-at-home mum, yet when you encourage other women to do so is the point where this idea becomes an issue.
Compared to 70 years ago, it is more difficult for both women and men now. It is challenging to maintain the entire family with just one salary. Not to mention to provide a decent future for your children. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual income was $54,132 in 2022. Deciding to stop contributing financially might limit you, your children, and even your wider family in many ways, especially if this decision applies to the rest of your life.
The dreamy household where the man comes from work, and you wait for him with dinner and his favorite beer while the kids are playing in their room, today might look quite different. Your husband would need to work longer hours or even have two jobs to maintain the family, and he would come home tired and stressed. Not exactly the image the housewife trend is trying to portray, right?
It is essential to differentiate the phase from a lifestyle. It’s completely normal to take a break from work for months or even years and dedicate yourself to your family. It’s also okay if you want to be a housewife for the rest of your life. However, one woman should never impose her choice on other women.
That said, keep in mind that having options is always a good thing. Make sure that your choices are based on what you truly want and need, and allow yourself to change your mind if necessary.
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