Is She a Person or is She a Wife? Domesticity and Identity in the 1950s

Sometimes things are difficult to identify. Just ask these men who auditioned to play Jerry Seinfeld on broadway: Many historians have noted an important movement in the 1950s concerning women’s identity. The movement I am referring to is the decline of the woman’s role as a “producer” in the home, and her switch to playing the role … More Is She a Person or is She a Wife? Domesticity and Identity in the 1950s

The Male Apron

There is a magazine that I, being a man who can hardly dress himself, had never heard of before beginning my embark on a study of women’s history. It is dynamic. It is iconic. It has been around for over 100 years. It is Women’s Wear Today. This so-called “bible of fashion,” with so many … More The Male Apron

Gender Stereotypes in African American Marriages

I recently stumbled upon an advice book with an interesting title. Fighting for Your African American Marriage. The back of the book said the authors understand “how stereotyped gender roles can undermine and demoralize [African-American] marriage[s].” So, in a blog about domesticity and prescribed gender roles for women, I thought this would be a good … More Gender Stereotypes in African American Marriages

Mrs. Santa Claus

In light of the holiday season, a little Nat King Cole analysis seems appropriate. On the flipside of the Cole’s 1953 single, The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot, was a cheery song about the wife of Santa Claus. It reveals assumptions and stereotypes relating to gender in the 1950s. An analysis of the song in … More Mrs. Santa Claus

Eleanor Roosevelt’s It’s Up to the Women: A Work of Social Feminism?

One contradiction I found in Carl Degler’s At Odds was his opinion of Eleanor Roosevelt. “She asserted no feminist ideology or outlook,” says Degler. Later, though, he says that FDR’s presidency gave Eleanor a “larger arena in which to assert her social feminism.” A social feminist, according to Degler, is one who asserts that women … More Eleanor Roosevelt’s It’s Up to the Women: A Work of Social Feminism?

Being June Cleaver

Mention the history of womanhood, motherhood, feminism, families, or anything of the sort in America, and you’re bound to have someone mention the 1950s. In the post-war, baby boom era, an incredible retreat to the home was seen across the Unites States. Marriages skyrocketed, many women returned from the workforce to being housewives, allowing their … More Being June Cleaver