Were Old-Fashioned Women Happier?

Were Old-Fashioned Women Happier?

There is an interesting article in the Daily Mail about a woman who just turned 60 years old and compared herself to her mother back when she turned 60 years old. This woman, Liz Jones, is beautiful and puts me to shame (since I just turned 60 years old) if we were measuring only by appearance. She is in perfect shape and looks amazing for her age but at what cost? (She has spent a TON of money on herself to look this way!)

Dr. John MacArthur defines women like her perfectly. (Yes, this was written in 1996 but is still relevant for today.)

“What kind of woman is the prototype of the ‘90s woman?  What is the modern super-woman supposed to be?  Maybe something like this: she works, builds her own career, demands equal pay, refuses to submit to her husband, demanding equality with him in everything, has an affair or two, and a divorce or two.  She exercises her independence, relies on her own resources, doesn’t want her husband or children to threaten her personal goals, has her own bank account.

“She hires a maid or a cleaning service, eats out at least 50 percent of the time with her family or without them, makes cold cereal and coffee, the standard breakfast for her family, quick frozen meals usual dinner fare, or she calls Domino’s Pizza, expects her husband to do his share of the housework. She is tanned, coiffured, aerobicized, into body-building shape, shops to keep up with the fashion trends, makes sure she can compete in the attention-getting contest, puts the kids in a day care center, makes sure each has a TV in his room, or a radio, or a CD player so they can be entertained. She is opinionated, demanding, wants to be heard, eager to fulfill all of her personal goals.”

This is how Liz Jones admits to living her life except she never had children as many are choosing to do today in the 21st century. She followed the feminist mindset and did life her own way. Her mother, on the other hand, was an old-fashioned wife and mother.

“She would no more have worn a swimsuit, or put on sun cream, than fly to the moon. Having had seven children, she had no desire to look young or thin. In this photo, she already had a full set of false teeth and grey hair. Normally, she wore glasses.

“My mum was born on December 23, 1919, and in the photo she is 60. She has shortish grey hair that has never been dyed. She is wearing a touch of red lipstick, and a smudge of mascara from an ancient block she had to spit on. She is wearing a home-made shift, and her head is tilted towards the sun – it would never occur to her to hide from it.

“Her toenails are not polished; she couldn’t reach her feet by this stage, as she suffered from arthritis. My dad had to help with the stockings, and place a built-up shoe on each foot. You can’t tell from the photo she had already had a hip and a knee replaced. She was in constant, excruciating pain. And yet she is smiling.

“My mum had never heard of grooming, except when it applied to horses: her beauty routine extended to using Pond’s cold cream and letting any make-up ‘wear off’. She had never had a massage. She owned one handbag, one pair of shoes. She never drank water, still or fizzy, but subsisted on tea and Rich Tea biscuits…Having endured rationing, she certainly never dieted. She never owned a pair of trainers, a tracksuit, or jeans.

“I had always imagined that, turning 60, I would suddenly look like my mum, which terrified me. Now I’ve arrived, I realize what should have worried me was not turning out like her – loved, happy, content – at all… I know I will continue to battle to keep the years at bay. Why? Because I’m not where I should be: I’m single, not secure, not loved. I can’t relax. I have to keep trying.

“Passing 40, I panicked, lied about my age again, and hurriedly married a younger man who cheated on me. When I told my mum what he’d done, all she would say was: ‘Just be patient, darling.’ It wouldn’t have occurred to her not to forgive, not to expect a man to provide, to chauffeur her everywhere, to map-read, to book hotels and holidays, to nurse her when she could no longer walk.

“When, coming round from the breast surgery, I phoned my husband, he replied with a distracted: ‘Who’s this?’ It’s not just women who’ve changed; men have changed with us. As we’ve demanded less they’ve given up, retreated.” (I disagree with her here. Liz’s mom probably didn’t demand anything of her husband. She was reaping what she was sowing. She served him. He served her. This is an eternal principle.)

“It had seemed a good idea at the time, being so very different from my mum, rebelling against her lack of vanity, ambition, selfishness…My mum was content with her lot, she lived in the moment, she didn’t put off life, thinking: ‘As soon as I’m eight stone… As soon as I’ve bought that new house…’

“My overriding feeling, as the Big Day came and went last week, was that my generation of women was sold a lie. We were told our mothers’ lives were disgracefully submissive. We were told we must battle our bodies into submission, land a career in order to hold all the power.”

There is only one reason that Liz’s mom lived a much more satisfying and fulfilling life than Liz did. Her mother lived a selfless life and Liz has lived a selfish life. May we all become more like Liz’s mom and less like Liz by learning to live a selfless, self-sacrificing, and self-denying life. In giving our lives away, we will find the life that Christ tells us to pursue, to be like Him, because the servant of all is the greatest of all!

 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Mark 8:36

20 thoughts on “Were Old-Fashioned Women Happier?

  1. Since they were able to be free to be women, and not a male copy, then probably! I adore the beautiful dresses they wore, even working class girls! the simple, yet elegant patterns are amazing, and I wish more women dressed up nicer like past women! Women like my 90 year old grandmother are the last of the true ladies! She was a content homemaker, and devoted to her husband, even now he’s passed on. She says, “I’m STILL married”! An attitude many modern radical feminists no longer have…. I aspire to be a woman like her: strong, gentle, caring and ever devoted to her home and family… Career beings one level of satisfaction, but it will never compare to your love of family! The women who were devoted to their husbands, cherished their children, and dressed and acted like ladies are going to be a thing o the past unless we raise our daughters right!

    1. On our dying bed, we will not think about how much money we made, what kind of career we had, or about our co-workers, no, we will think about our family and those precious children that we poured our life into.

      My mother’s favorite thing to do in her last years of life was to watch her great grandchildren play. She would hobble to the living room so she could watch them. She brought so much joy into her life and would give her a big hug when they left. What can be better than this!

  2. The lie was first told and propagated in the indoctrinations of the government institutions of education. Her story is a sad and increasingly pervasive one.

  3. Wow, that was such a tragically beautiful piece. Beautiful in the truths it admits, tragic because the author has realized such truths so late, after having sacrificed her life on the altar of false gods. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Yes, she was very bold to be as truthful as she was, Diana, and I am sure received a lot of backlash for doing so. I applaud her and pray that it opens many women’s eyes to what they should value most, their families.

    1. I am sure she took care of herself but without a ton of money and time, Paula. She probably bathed often, brushed her hair and teeth, and dressed in the morning (not wearing her pajamas all day). She probably spent little money on her clothes or personal pleasures. She invested her life into those things that truly matter, her family and others.

  4. Liz’s life doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL!!! Her mother’s life sounds like the one that would make me happy. Like my Grandma’s, but my G’ma liked to look pretty. Not for the world, for my G’pa! Going to the gym wasn’t necessary. The house and garden offered more exercise and was a double bonus in living beautifully.

    When all that was done, she’d bathe, put on a fresh dress, fix her hair, & put on a little make up. My g’pa came home to a shining home, a glistening garden, wonderful smells in the kitchen, fresh roses on the table, & his beautiful bride. Though I knew nothing of the Proverbs 31 wife back then, as I read about her the first time many years later, my g’ma was the first thing that came to mind. I always remember my g’pa’s praising her.

    I later asked my mom if that was how it was growing up, as well, or if it was only after the kids were grown. My mom said she was always like that.

    My g’ma only had an 8th grade education, but she was one of the smartest women I ever knew!!

  5. Liz’s mum describes my mother-in-law so very well. Her whole life has been one of service to her family and community. Never a thought for herself. Christmas comes and we say “Mom, we want to get you something. What would you like?” We will inevitably hear “Oh, I don’t need anything.” She will wear the same winter coat for years and years, sew it or patch it up…and spend her money to fill the church food pantry or take meals and clothing to a family in her community that she finds in need. She always knows who just had surgery, just had a baby, or has been sick or out of work. I have learned so much from her about what it truly means to live a life of service. Our family is so blessed by her. I’ve never been fond of that saying “Well behaved women never make history”. Well, she might not “make history”, but the way she lived her life will impact our family for generations to come. That is the sort of history that matters.

    1. Amen! We are encouraged from a young age to live a selfish life and pursue “our” dreams but never give thought to the emptiness of this type of life. It’s completely opposite of how Christ has told us to live.

  6. My mother was a selfless woman who had eighteen children. Finding a woman who does not believe in birth control today is quite a feat. I’d guesstimate fewer than 5% of the women in America actually obey God’s dictate that children are a blessing and not to be avoided due to finances. We have a nation of selfish men and women and we are destroying ourselves. 200 million American children have been eradicated by birth control and abortion since a rogue SCOTUS illicitly legalized the twin evils. All of our enemies, combined, have killed fewer than 2 million Americans. And so Abraham’s Lincolns words of long ago ring true. He spoke these words at 28, and only had one year of second grade for a formal education.

    “How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

    At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

  7. we should all take care of our health as much as possible. however, the ones who are botoxing and having surgeries for cosmetics just end up looking so silly. also, sometimes all the emphasis on youth enhancements produces a very immature, foolish way of living. not the example we need for our young people.

  8. Speaking of old fashioned which most of the women back then were real ladies compared to the very horrible ones that we have out there today unfortunately. Gee Wiz, it certainly has a lot to do with it as to why so many of us good old fashioned men are still single today.

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