Books · Retro Housewife: A Salute to the Suburban Superhero · Uncategorized

Retro Housewife Intro. pt. 2

I split the introduction into 4 parts (each one page of the introduction. I think its necessary to read the introduction to really understand the contents of the book, and where it’s coming from.

This is Page 2 –

Retro Housewife is a rose tinted look back at those times, a window into a world that existed in Life Magazine layouts, advertisements for household appliances, &, to a certain degree, many real – life suburban homes. Daily life is less complicated, everything moved more slowly, and people are happier – or at least seem that way.

During the workforce shortages brought on by World War 2, women marched out of their kitchens and into their husband’s paycheck earning places, symbolized by Rosie the Riveter and her “we can do it” slogan. An astounding 60.2% of women work outside the home during the war, a large number nearly approaching modern census figures.

They sure got sent back home and in hurry. By 1948, the number of American women aged 16 and older in the labor force head shrunk to less than 33%. In the pre-dawn of the Eisenhower error, the country was poised to live out the most idealized family – value of chapter of the 20th century.

Women married at an average age of 20 in 1950, men at 23. Divorce was rare and hard to obtain (the rate in 1950 was 2.5%, compared with nearly 50% today). Marriage counseling was a new – Spangled notion. My goodness, if your family was well fed and live in the flawlessly painted Rambler surrounded by a weed free, mowed and edged lawn, why would you need therapy?

Obesity was also rare, despite a much more fatty diet, because the retro housewife expended so many calories on her daily routine, toting baggage from the neighborhood shops home on foot and being active from dawn till dusk.

Median family income double during the boom years of the 1950s, an impossible dream for most families today. Compared to the penny-pinching, all-for-one patriotism of the 1940s, the 1950s – a period during which spending on advertising quadrupled – ushered and a culture of commercialism, with status more directly connected to buying power. Women were the primary consumers and thus the top Target of product promotions.

Tillotson, Kristin. “Pg. 2.” Retro Housewife: A Salute to the Suburban Superwoman. Portland: Collectors, 2004. 1. Print.



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