The 1950s Housewife Lost Herself to Cater to her Husband

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 30th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Housekeeping>Cleaning

In the struggle for women's rights which stems well over a century, some women made great strides in changing the social mores of the day. The plight of the poor is an ongoing topic in women’s issues and women’s rights. We will now turn our focus to how to be a good housewife in the 1950s.


So far we have looked at the role of women being centered on the home in the 1950's. We saw how the first lady, Mamie Eisenhower endorsed that view, and how even the media through television sitcoms perpetuated the myths. However, this lifestyle also coined the "housewife syndrome" was acculturated in all aspects of life. So strong were these social mores that they were taught to young high school girls in Montreal and in every area of the Canada and the United States.

Here are some points that were taken out of a high school textbook for a home economics class of 1954. I have included my opinion under each point in the section called note.

How to be a good housewife

How to be a good housewife taken from the classic high school home economics textbook in the 1950s;

Point 6

Keep the noise in the house down to a minimal. Your husband will not want to hear the noise of the washer or the vacuum cleaning when he arrives. Show that you are happy to see your man. Smile and let him know you are happy he is home.

Note: Eliminate all noise? Is he walking into a real home or a mausoleum?

Now that we have gotten to all the good things to do, it is time to take a look at all the wrong things to do.

The former five points were covered in the previous articles

Previous link

1950s View of Marriage:Kids Should be Waiting in Line to Greet their Father

What you shouldn't do as a 1950s housewife

Point 1

Don't complain, don't tell him about your day, don't whine, or talk about the kids. Greet him with a smile, kiss him and speak in a low voice. Make him comfortable. You should have a refreshment waiting for him, let him relax in his favorite chair, bring him his slippers, or let him lay down to rest awhile, and fluff up his pillows for him. Whatever your issues are, remember they are never as grueling as the issues he had to face at work.

Note: You know the Hollywood made a movie about this. It was called the Stepford Wives and it aired in 1975 and then again a remake was made in 2004. It was about the perfect woman and wife according to the male ego. In my opinion they were a bunch of robots (figure of speech) impersonating real women in the role of housewives. These women may have been every man's dream but gosh what a life.

Point 2

Listen to what he has to say, you may have many things to tell him, but let him talk first and get off his chest whatever he has to say.

Note: What if he is not a talker when does the woman get a chance to talk?

Here is the final point of what not to say to your husband

Point 3

The evening should be his. Don't complain if he never takes you out for dinner, or takes you out anywhere for that matter, try to understand he has had a hard time at work and he needs to be in the sanctuary of his home to relax and unwind.

"The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit."

my thoughts

Here we have the school system teaching young girls how to become good housewives, but where did they teach them how to become young women with brains and needs of their own? This whole good housewife model was for the man. Not one need of the woman was ever considered. The woman was just a maid and babysitter. She had no life of her own. She was there to serve her husband's bidding. He was king of the castle and she was his servant and bed mate.


This commentary is not intended to take away from the housewife it is an important role and one of the most important roles in life. However, it is important to bring to awareness that although a Montreal and North American woman were doing this role in the 1950s and doing it well, they did not have a life of their own.

What was there for women to do besides take care of the house, husband, and children? They had to plan when they could talk to their husband about serious home matters. Where was the spontaneity, where was the normal family life of each person just being him or herself? Why did women have to find just the right time to speak to their husbands; their soul mates? Why were women's needs not as important as their husband's? Why were women second-class citizens? Finally who cared if the women were happy as long as their husbands were?

We will find out in the next installment that one suburban housewife, Betty Friedan cared if the American suburban middle class housewife was happy because she lived that life and wrote about it in her classic book, The feminine Mystique.

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1950 Housewives, 1950S Housewife, House Work, Housekeeping, Housewife, Housewives, Womens Issues, Womens Work

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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author avatar Sudon't
30th Jul 2015 (#)

If it sounds too good to be true...

When these "life in ye olde days" things start popping up on the internet, a good resource to verify their authenticity is Or you can just assume it's bogus, and you'll be right 90% of the time.

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