22 Feb 2012

The Rebuttal: 1950s Housewives Blast 1950s Business Girl

If you saw yesterday's post, I showed you bits of an article from the March 1950 Chatelaine in which "business girl" Beverly Gray tells housewives how much they suck. In June of that year, the housewives had their chance to bite back in the article, "Housewives Blast Business Girl".

According to the magazine, over 500 housewives wrote letters in response to "Housewives Are A Sorry Lot" and Beverly Gray's phone rang off the hook with calls from irritated readers. This was all pre-Google, so women actually had to put time and effort into tracking down and stalking this lady ("You say I'm silly and leading a wasted life? THIS'LL SHOW YOU!"). I wonder how many psychotic phone calls were received by people listed under "B. Gray" in phone books around Canada:

"I've learned a lot more things about housewives I didn't know before!"
I'm sure they're all super flattering observations, too.
Seems Bev, a newspaper woman, was kind of like an early version of Canada's favourite sweetheart: the ever attention-seeking, ever judgemental Christie Blatchford. I wonder who could out-grump the other. My money's on Blatch.

The commotion was so great that Chatelaine decided to post a few pages of snippets from many of these letters rather than provide one uniformed response:
Sure, sure. If comment sections on the Internet have taught us anything,
it's that people respond to criticism with "tolerance and good humor."
The quotes from 1950s housewives can basically be placed into five different categories ...

I'll Have You Know That I Am Very Busy And Important. CRAZY IMPORTANT:
The census man rolled his eyes. "Sure thing, lady," he said as he checked the box marked "housewife."
Yeah, you heard me. I said it. PIE. They don't bake themselves, you know.

Preach, sister, preach! (Well, except for that first part.)

Business Girls Suck More Than We Do:
I think it's a rule that no one looks good on public transit.

Just wait until the Internet shows up.
... a shoplifter's dream.

... They're Also Dumb Sluts:
BOOM. Suck it, skanks.

I Feel Sorry For You Because You Can't Get A Man, Haven't Had Babies, And Clearly Don't Know What True Happiness And Fulfillment Is:

Same old disposable income, same old independence ...

... well, that and Valium.
Beverly Gray Is A Fucking Bitch With No Friends (And Is Probably A Big Ol' Lesbian):
Haters gonna hate.
Ah, good stuff, ladies. Good stuff. I have a feeling you'd fit in just fine with women today.


Anonymous,  4:42 pm, February 22, 2012  

La plus ca change, huh? SAHMs trot out these same arguments about childfree women even today.

To give the viewpoints of the housewives some credit though, the chances that a woman could get onto an interesting, challenging career track in 1950 were pretty slim.

Being a career stenographer wouldn't have been intrinsically more stimulating than being a mother and homemaker, and at the end of the day it would've all been about individual circumstances and preferences.

Come to think of it, that's not so different from our present time after all.

Vivianne 4:43 pm, February 22, 2012  

Not much has changed since the 1950s... Guess I better go tie back that wisp of hair, change my nylons and start logging hours on the news sites. Well, if I have time. You see, I'm a very important, very busy person.

So important and busy that I thought I might provide others in the same predicament with some useful tips and pointers on ending a busy day, courtesy of Good Housekeeping circa 1966. You can find them at littlepinkbookmarks.blogspot.com.

Anne 6:22 pm, February 22, 2012  

Dude, none of that sounds all too different from the stuff housewives are saying on the internet today. 1950, 2012, all the same, baby.

Meghan,  6:41 pm, February 22, 2012  

I wonder what Miss Gray would have thought about the Mommy Bloggers....

Tans 9:35 pm, February 22, 2012  

oh yeah, i was going to say the same thing about the mommy bloggers. i do love that the article mentioned a vein of humor. that vein must be microscopic because they were spewing more poison than a den of cobras.

still, interesting that in 60+ year, not much has changed.

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