1950s-style marriages: all the ‘rage’

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“Hoards [sic] of women are calling for a return to 1950s marriages.”

Well, that’s what the Herald Sun tweeted earlier this week.

Suffice to say, the statement has been met with some, er, controversy. And not because the Herald Sun doesn’t know the correct use of the word ‘hoard’.

It’s talking of course about marriages where the husband comes first: when he’s handed a pair of slippers and a cold beer upon putting his briefcase down at the door and dinner is on the table at 6.30pm sharp.

The tweet followed stories about traditional wives, or ‘tradwives’ – yes, the topic is so hot it has its own abbreviation. Tradwives are women who “actively embrace subservience”. It’s being framed as a backlash against feminism. And, to help women who support the ‘movement’ show off their ‘housewifelieness’ online, it even has its own hashtag – #tradwife.

The face of this ‘movement’ is Alena Kate Pettitt from the UK who recently told the BBC that her role in marriage is to spoil her husband “like it’s 1959” but still have time to publish blogs, run a website and show the world how amazing a wife she is.

And though Ms Pettitt has her supporters, the movement has its share of detractors.

“‘Hoards [sic] of women are calling for return to 1950s-style marriages where ‘husbands always come 1st’ & dinner is on table by 6.30 every night,” says the Herald Sun.

‘Just b/c Scott Morrison & his anti-women government may want this, doesn’t make it true,’” tweeted one Twitter user.

“Even if this were true which I seriously doubt it is. What is stopping them? They are perfectly free to put their husbands first, wait on them hand & foot, turn a blind eye to the philandering etc. Has Bettina Arndt taken over the Editorial role at the Sun?” tweeted another.

“Conservatives wish the Stepford Wives was a documentary,” said another.

And there are some serious comments about the negative effects of such a movement.

“They have no idea of the labour market impact. Health and education sectors for a start would cease to function if large numbers of women withdrew from employment,” tweeted another user.

“Near 3 in 5 Australian women are still ‘concerned about the loss of traditional values’. That is a fair whack of women potentially holding other women back, and not supporting men to bloom in caring roles,” tweeted another.

The tweet has been called a cheap (or should we say cheep?) attempt to dredge up a feminist vs tradwives debate, but the feminists don’t seem to be having any of it.

“There is literally nothing stopping these women if that’s what they want to do. Thanks to feminism they get to choose,” said one social media user.

“As a feminist, if that’s what these women want, then they are free to do that. That doesn’t mean they get to dictate how the rest of us live our lives,” tweeted another.

According to Women’s Agenda:

“Rather than simply a backlash against feminism, the tradwife phenomenon needs to be understood as a symptom of – as well as a reaction to – the increasing insecurity of our times.

“Even relatively privileged women therefore find it difficult to live up to the popular feminist ideal of “work life balance”.

“And the reality is that only a certain proportion of two-parent families will ever be in a position to have one parent staying home to manage the household for an extended period of time.

“Not to disappoint the men who dream of returning to the 1950s, but could this growing micro-trend actually be just another way women are seeking to make their own choices?”

What do you think of this movement? Is it something you would like to see more of or will it set back women’s rights?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 52
  1. 0

    ““As a feminist, if that’s what these women want, then they are free to do that. That doesn’t mean they get to dictate how the rest of us live our lives,””

    The above tweet says it all as far as I’m concerned. Australia is a free country and that means that we are all free to make our own choices in how we live our life.

    • 0

      Sort of, Horace – it should have read the opposite – “if that’s what those women want, it doesn’t mean we get to dictate how the rest of them live their lives”

      That’s the valid point for discussion in modern society… the tail of the puppy at the back of the sled pack whipping the entire pack along…

    • 0

      Anonymous is now Houdini IV

    • 0

      Now Houdini X! (I’m reserving X for a special occasion) and in pitched battle with the ‘moderator’ and Leon over ideological attacks on people’s views and accounts.

  2. 0

    Well – the pressure on sickciety created by this ‘equality’ of forcing women to work etc, had to boil over at some time. Many are smart enough to work out that under the MADIF -the Mandatory dual Income Family, prices of everything have gone through the roof, and it is now mandatory that two work or that a single income be enormous, just to cater to the simple requirements of life. A far cry from the 1950’s, where a ‘single living wage’ for a family was won after some serious fighting by the Union movement (RIP).

    As I’ve said before – the Union movement (RIP) actually rescued women and children from dire working conditions in dangerous and heavy work, and eventually, following the sacrifice of many thousands of men in wars followed by the demand from the general populace for a better go, women were left safely at home to raise balanced and decent children while men continued to manfully shoulder the dangers and sweat.

    ‘Feminism’ was always about a disgruntled minority – surprise, surprise – mostly from the group already in nice spots in life – the classical French Revolution ‘middle class’ the bourgeoisie – who had the time and inclination to sit in smoke and wine-filled bars and screech the plight of the poor woman at a time when only 2% of people ever got to uni etc. ‘Education’ has not proven to create ‘equality’ – it has instead become a force for installing permanent inequalities in society, and has, in many areas, become just a waste of time, energy and money as well as a provider of hefty incomes and personal power for such wonderful things as working out how many ‘genders’ there might be etc.. **rolls eyes** – AND, rather than providing ‘equality’, it has generated an even worse situation for the majority due to the aforementioned skyrocketing prices etc.

    Good to see many women are finally waking up to the reality.

    • 0

      Who Dini III – you are obviously one of the very angry, uneducated males in our society who blames everything on the education of females. For your information when a female married in the old days she became a cleaner. A very uninteresting job. Just about everything about housework is cleaning. When you come home from work you can’t have a very interesting conversation with someone who is mainly a cleaner. Yes there are a few other skills involved in being a housewife but a lot of it is just cleaning and it is constant. I could go on with a lot more but the likes of you will never understand so I won’t waste my time. The world has moved on Who Dini III for the better and you need to do the same. By the way we can tell the type of person you are by your choice of photo.

    • 0

      Not a good reader, huh? I’m educated in Economics, Refugee issues, Terrorism/Counter-terrorism, National security issues, Asian Pacific issues (both kinds), and in hands-on security work as well as computer programing and a number of other small adjuncts to solid work… and I have been mistaken for a professor at times….

      Cleaning house instead of labouring in the industries was hard work? How many options were there for EVERYONE back then, not just women.

      It’s not the education of women per se that is the issue I posted – it is that this complaining, this victim mentality stuff used to gain personal power and profit, this drive for Accredited Victim Status that has spread to every other disgruntled group in society regardless of facts, came from the already well-positioned middle class, and was not a popular movement at all.

    • 0

      I consider myself pretty much a feminist, Hardworker, but surely it’s common sense that if one on the partnership, man or woman, goes out to work the one who stays in the house does the cleaning and the cooking. Yes, cleaning is mind stunningly boring but so are a lot of jobs.

    • 0

      Well Anonymous if you undertake all the jobs/career you have listed you do too many to provide the singular focus required to be effective on any one of those designated career paths.

    • 0

      Depends on your essential abilities, Olde… as someone said – I’m a man of many parts… though you will note that most components involved in my list overlap in forming a contiguous whole which provides **gasps** a holistic view of the issues both national and international.

      Each of those separate strands are part of national and international security issues… even analysis of global warming etc are part of that… it’s a very broad disciplinary area…

    • 0

      Gee Houdini, thanks for putting my mind at rest. I bet that you even write your own character reference.

    • 0

      No need… salt of the earth..

      As for ‘climate change’ – I still want to know why a small Solomons sand island can disappear underwater due to ‘warming’ etc – yet the coast of Queensland across the same ocean doesn’t rise one mm…… erosion anyone? However, in the global security context, such things occurring and being of concern to the locals are very real issues for consideration here – as regards the stability and security of our region and its people.

      Just an example…

  3. 0

    Ms Pettitt is obviously ignorant, uneducated and very unobservant. Women’s positions in the western world have improved because our men now see us as individual people, not slaves. The reasons we have moved on is because some of us don’t want to just survive in a marriage we want to live and that requires money. Many women have returned to the workforce not only to protect themselves in case their marriages go belly up but to be a more interesting person and to have a better lifestyle and give their children more opportunities. Can you ever really trust a partner? Many women, and men, have discovered they can’t, with devastating consequences. If you don’t have any skills and can’t get a job and are older by the time this happens you will find yourself in a very bad place as many of the older generation have discovered. Don’t be fooled by what these really stupid people say. Life is much more interesting when women stand side by side as equals with men. Don’t go back to what DIDN’T work in the past.

    • 0

      Man – jes’ one day o’ dat Woman’s Oppression dere Lord, afore Ol’ Rastus pass off dat mortal coil – jes’ one day o’ dat easy job in dat big house dere ‘steada workin’ dis here cotton fiel’ in dat hot sun wit’ dat Overseer dere an’ his whip… jes’ one day, Lord – Ol’ Rasatus’ll say hello to St Peter wit’ a smile!

      ‘women treated as slaves’ – you ARE an ideologue, aren’t you? They were the best kept slaves ever in the good cases – there are always a few cases of real abuse and neglect – my family was one of them but that’s another story – but generally women had the good end of the stick when the work was hard, hot, sweaty, dirty and dangerous. Now it’s all apple pie and sweet cream they expect it all without the real effort required.

      86% of marital relationships are broken up by the woman – hardly gels with ‘their marriage going belly-up, does it – and let’s be honest, they get the lioness’ share of everything when they decide that 86% of the time to bail out on the family. “Can you ever really trust a partner? Many women, and men, have discovered they can’t ” – 10% mark so far …

      You reckon those men who toiled daily in the heavy industries, then getting maybe 2 years in retirement before karking it were doing more than ‘survive in a marriage’ and were living it up?

      You mean men universally didn’t do anything to give their children better opportunities etc in life? Wow – that’s a stunning revelation.

      Where you bin, Laden? You must be one of those indoctrinated firebrands who know so much, since it is spoon-fed to them by fellow ideologues.

    • 0

      Hardworker, I grew up in one of those ’50s households (and my Mum loved bringing up her children). My Father was in the Army and was away from home on average 3 months a year.

      Mum worked hard, and we children all had to pitch in. We considered our Father was the one who had it hard as he was not able to fully participate in the upbringing of his children.

      We all grew up strong and straight and after my Father retired we then saw our parents marriage go from strength to strength. It was a marriage of equality and from what I can see many of my contempories have the same mindset of equality within their marriages.

    • 0

      Well, Hardworker, as you have felt it necessary to assume you know all about other people; (“Who Dini III – you are obviously one of the very angry, uneducated males in our society who blames everything on the education of females.” and “Ms Pettitt is obviously ignorant, uneducated and very unobservant”), allow me the privilege of describing you. A sad old woman embittered because at least one husband walked out on you, you lack the necessary skills to find a cushy job and you want to be superior, not equal to men.

    • 0

      Three months! Regular teacher’s pet… they must’ve thought the sun shone out of his Rsole…

    • 0

      And then they sent him off to Vietnam several times and finally a cushy job in Singapore for a few years.

    • 0

      Singapore? Hardship posting – I hate the tropics…

  4. 0

    It would be difficult to go back to the ‘traditional’ marriage of the 1950’s now, even with a stay-at-home wife. There are so many men who work long hours or who are in non-traditional 9 – 5 jobs. Dinner at 6.30pm wouldn’t work.
    Women are now used to earning a good salary and to suddently become totally financially dependent on a man would be difficult. Perhaps that’s where the feeling of subservience comes in.
    Also marriage in the 1950’s was necessary for having legitimate children and social acceptance whereas
    marriage nowadays is optional and living together unmarried is not condemned and children born to defacto parents are no longer looked down on as bastards.

    • 0

      You are correct – there is a balance somewhere, but don’t ask me to say where it is – what I do know is that it does not lie with continued affirmative action and special treatment, but with genuine equal treatment for all instead of all the special props and crutches needed to put women into the workforce and retain and return them there. All those things are Welfare writ large, and are a serious burden – see PPL and childcare – on the budget. Abolish those and the politicians might stop trying to suck the last few drops of blood out of retirees.

      A sudden return to 1950’s values of ‘a single living family wage’ would not work anyway due to the escalated costs of everything…

      One of the problems is that the added stresses of modern life, including that need for two incomes just to survive, causes many marriages to break down and thus to destroy the financial stability and progress of many couples – 50% divorce rate and easy divorce mean – as I alluded to yesterday – that the more ‘patriarchal’ social groups are literally eating modern Northern European Aussies alive in areas such as the housing market etc, and that ‘core group’ that effectively built this nation is being swept aside and pushed into poverty in many cases.

      Not good at all. So it appears to me that one of the best things would be careful choice of a ‘mate’, and perhaps a few changes to our current divorce system, which costs far too much and destroys the social and economic ability of far too many, and often for not much more reason than “I don’t feel validated any more” (meaning – I don’t feel like playing as part of the team any more)…

      Oh, and Hardworker? Past GF of mine is a professor in chemistry – been that way since the 1970’s when you poor girls had nothing, but she managed through a lot of hard work… she went to England to work…

    • 0

      I don’t recall my 1950’s mother mowing the lawns, fixing the car, painting the (weatherboard) house, lifting furniture, climbing hydro poles, making roadways, concreting, fencing, driving heavy machinery, or anything as physically demanding. Dad did that, after he finished his 45 hour working week. Mum was always there for the kids and we had a modest home. She communicated with our teachers, took a part-time job when we were older to buy a few ëxtras”, and was happy filling in her day with domestic duties having time to read, sew, tend her flower garden, or do whatever else took her fancy. She was never a down-trodden “chattel” and always said her piece. Dad was the hard worker of the two, tasked with paying off the mortgage and financially making sure we were all warm, fed, schooled and clothed. I think people who crave for the 50’s know they are nowadays being overworked, over-ambitious for worldly goods, holidays, cars etc. but they can’t connect the dots that even today, one wage equals a choice between time for family, with lots of material sacrifices, just as it did in the 50’s.

      Today’s women are a bunch of whiners and harpers who expect men to provide huge financial, emotional and physical strength. No wonder there’s an increasing cohort of males who will never commit to a woman, and many I know won’t even let a woman move in with them because they know it won’t be long before they lose everything. Welcome to the modern women’s world of greed and feigned hardship. And yes, I’m a woman who also worked when my kids were at high school so I’ve seen and heard first-hand from bleating female colleagues how they’d love not to work as was the case in the 50’s but nowadays want everything provided for them, one way or another.

  5. 0

    I thought feminism and the fight for “women’s rights’ was all about empowering a woman to choose her own path through life and equal opportunities to make it happen (eg education, workplace, etc). It was about women controlling their own life, contraceptive pill in the 1960s allowed women to control even their fertility, meaning they were able to control when or even whether they had children at all.

    Why then, when some women choose a ‘traditional’ way of family life and their role within it, do others immediately try to tear them down. And it’s mainly other women doing this, denying another woman the right to make her own life choices.

    Hypocritical much!

  6. 0

    I doubt that traditional marriages would work in this day and age. Men often work shifts or unemployed. Society is changing within the workforce

  7. 0

    I doubt that traditional marriages would work in this day and age. Men often work shifts or unemployed. Society is changing within the workforce

  8. 0

    Playing subservient wife and playing house is making a comeback because we took the Wendy House out of the kindergartens. No woman in my family ever stayed home playing mother and then whining they were dependents without enough income or savings. It’s very childish.

  9. 0

    The “Glory Days Of The 50’s” more like the struggle of the 50’s.
    Typical family would be Mother and Father and seven plus children living in a very modest 3/4 bedroom home, usually the 4th bedroom was a utility room.
    This home would only have 1 that’s right 1 bathroom and no Indoor Dunny (Out doors Pan), if you were lucky maybe built in wardrobe in 1 to 2 bedrooms.
    Luxury of fridge that had a small Freezer that would Frost up every week, couldn’t risk keeping food for more than a week so weekly shopping.
    Washing machine this Marvel Invention, instead of washing by hand or the Old Boiler.
    The other Marvel the Hills Hoist.
    My mum did about 3 loads of washing per day, the nappies took up most of the washing line, in between bad weather and the dirt road outside(most suburbs only had tared Roads connecting them).
    Shopping no car no public transport to the few shops in town (some towns had even less).
    Lugging supplies home was something else with little ones as well (green grocer only one to deliver one day a week no phone so in person order that morning.
    Cocking meals, cleaning the house, washing cloths and children, taking them to school until the oldest can.
    Paying bills, remember cash only (No Credit Cards, Banks not in every town Post Office was for letters, parcels and Commonwealth Bank if you had an account with them.
    Post Offices had Money Orders or you Had to have Cheque Account and pay at least 1 week before due date or pay at the Premises before Due date Cash only.
    My mother like many were capable of far Greater Education wise and did well until married life with children.
    Would have she, gone down this Path Knowing what it was going to cost her health wise, the money struggles, the angry children and never going on a holiday/break.
    I believe there were more than enough Challengers to deal with and they did for the love of the Family.
    Be thankful we are Past that Era.

    • 0

      This was 20ks from Sydney.

    • 0

      You take me back Chris BT – we were 3 kids but we also had gran and pop with their own minds about how things should be done. Oh the days. Never again would I want to be in a situation like that. Made my life easy, not having any kids helped tremendously. Jee whiz, you opened a can of worms there for me. I shudder just reading your post. But thanks just the same.

    • 0

      How many men who took on jobs in the industries etc to maintain a family – and at a time when you paid full fee for university etc unless you got a scholarship somewhere – “were capable of far Greater Education wise and did well until married life with children”?

      Just asking……….

    • 0

      This was post WWII era jobs not readily available, there were some luckier than others.
      This so “Called Glory Era of the 50’s” had many hardships, returning soldiers, mass migration and Fear of
      Mostly women were shone when Married by Employers, no need of further education as well.
      Men took what work that was available and did further education at Night Like My Father Did.
      Prior to WWII you had the Great Depression so unless your Family was well of schooling if at all would be primary
      school at best.
      I’m stating this was an Era to which most of us can only read about for our Parents Predicament.
      As stated none of the Flash Trimmings of Today.
      How many Men were Shone from jobs when Married, mostly were considered a more Reliable Employee than a single man
      to which had its good and bad outcomes.
      Yes education to a higher level than needed was a Luxury and a Dream to which was beyond most.
      Glorifying the 50’s is a nonsense, as most were in survival Mode.

    • 0

      Have to agree with what I perceive to be your general thrust, Chris.. there was no ‘golden age of the 50’s’ for anyone – so Leon’s comparison and assumptions about men etc are totally falsely based.

      Ante up, Leon… give us the references etc about how men would get up, go to work in the steelworks, finish, come home on the bus, and then have dinner… well – it must have been tough for Mum to make that dinner after the old man just spent eight hours pouring hot molten steel…

      My father was born in 1919 – he worked during the Depression, and then did the WW II stint in the Pacific, dumping supplies from aircraft after escaping the Infantry….. he finished his schooling, in the country, at about age 14… wasn’t much good with Maths, which many jobs required… but he still managed to retire #5 on the seniority list of the NSWFB.

      Times WERE vastly different…. it is simply not possible to draw parallels between today and back then… and utterances to the effect that ‘men had it so good’ are fatuous to say the least.

      Reminds me of that line in Hamburger Hill:- “Do I look like I’m kicking back in the country club with a cold one while you 4A Boos are out humping the boonies?”

  10. 0

    Been there, got a T-shirt. No thanks.

    Good women these days appreciate the improvements greatly from previous years.

    Greedy younger women would have no idea of how well off they are these days yet some still complain.

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