The fifties mom so many cherish and yearn for wasn't sacrificed to "Womens' Rights", the fifties mom died of ennui.
The grocer gave her a plucked and packaged chicken, technology cooked her dinner, Sears' braided her rugs and the government taught her children. Maytag washed the clothes and Standard Oil fed the iron horse.
What was she supposed to do?
Eureka! The floor was swept and the rugs beat, in an instant!
Housewives didn't stay home for 6000 years because men dominated them. They stayed home because they were busy. When the work finally dried up, they made tracks for new occupations. Considering how long they had stayed home, the exodus was remarkably fast.
Womens' exodus from the kitchen followed mens' exodus from the farm very closely. Men left the farm for the same reasons - technology lightened the farm work load while it offered new work in the cities.
The early women rights advocates were mostly single or weathily connected without dependent families. The early protestors weren't leaving their cows unmilked or the stove unstoked to join their sister suffragettes for the right to work in the cities. Thanks to industrialists like Isaac Singer, by the second wave in the 1960s, undergarments were even so plentiful and cheap they were burned like dried leaves. When the home didn't need them, women sought work elsewhere.
Many voices these days decry the breakup of the nuclear family. Rather than sitting on our heels blaming the vapid specter of "womens' rights", this author maintains the nuclear or even extended family can be reunited only by the thing that tore them apart...employment. The biggest target today to bring home employment is home schooling.
If parents wish to recreate the family synthesis, they (particularly mothers) must realize that the family that is busy at home stays home. Working outside the home is no more a repudiation of June Cleaver than working at home is an abdication of rights. Far from it. Following the work is the nature of humanity. Being busy at home is a shouldering of the self responsibility which rights exist to protect.
You may believe Ms. X when she says if Ward and the Beaver had been homeschooled, June would never have been an icon.
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