Why Were Women in the 50s So Bored?
Betty Friedan is the feminist who convinced women in the 1950s that being married, raising children, and being homemakers was boring and depressing. The problem is that the homemakers of the 50s grabbed ahold of her teaching hook, line, and sinker. They agreed with her! Homemaking was too easy for them. They didn’t feel productive. Dusting, vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, sending their children to public schools, and popping frozen dinners in the oven weren’t fulfilling them in any way. So along comes Betty with her cry of discontentment, and the women bought it and left their homes for greener pastures.
I am in the process of reading Rebekah Markle’s book “Eve in Exile.” It is excellent so far. I am hoping to make a few posts from it. This being the first one.
Here is a quote from her book:
“The women in the ’50s were not being actively oppressed like, for instance, women in Muslim cultures often are. They were, however, suffering under the soft oppression of not being thought capable of anything very impressive, challenging, or important. Housewives of the ’50s were expected to keep the house tidy, keep the children tidy, keep themselves tidy—and that pretty well covered it…The 1950s picture of an ideal housewife was one in which a woman’s intellect played no significant role. That truly is a suffocating position to be in, but if the women had wanted to change that, they could have done it by actually deciding to accomplish impressive, challenging, and important things…The women of the 50s genuinely needed to be liberated, that much is indisputable.”
Before the 50s, women’s work in the home was very time-consuming as she wrote. In order for their families to survive, they needed to work hard. They had no time for pity parties like the women in the 50s had. Now, that the women had all of the modern conveniences that made homemaking far easier, they became dissatisfied. Was it because their intellect played no significant role, as Rebekah wrote. Did they need to accomplish impressive, challenging, and important things? Did they really need to be liberated? (Now, to be fair to Rebekah, I haven’t read past this chapter, so I am just giving my opinion on these points.)
What did the women in the 1950s need? They had this radical feminist brainwashing them to believe that their lives were boring and oppressive. They needed more! What they needed were the older women teaching them the great value they had in their homes as help meets to their husbands, raising the next generation of godly offspring, and making their homes a haven for their families. They needed to be taught that these were God’s perfect will for them! They could still study their Bibles, read any books they wanted, and develop their minds rather than watching dead end soap operas and listening to lies from Betty.
Older women have failed the young women in many ways. The problem is that the older women of the 50s had no older women teaching them that godliness with contentment is great gain, to be thankful for the Lord’s many blessings poured upon them, and that the joy of the Lord is their strength. They weren’t taught to be thankful for running water and clean sanitation while they scrubbed the toilets. They weren’t taught to be thankful during each meal they prepared for the food the Lord had blessed them with. When they changed another dirty diaper, they should have given thanks for the precious life that the Lord had entrusted to them.
This is what the women in the 1950s needed. They needed to understand the value of their roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers. They needed to learn that whatever they did, they were to do all to the glory of God. They were just where God wanted them to be. Betty Friedan was just one of Satan’s agents convincing women to leave their posts, and sadly, the women believed and are still believing her.
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
13 thoughts on “Why Were Women in the 50s So Bored?”
I appreciate your work. I very much had a lack of godly, contented, stable older women influences. It took me a long time to find my way back to the Lord and my calling. I started my family a bit older and my husband and I work to raise our children better.
I find the correlation of modern appliances and conveniences to the phenomena of “bored housewives” interesting. I never made that connection! To think it contributed to making society spiritually and physically unhealthy in the generations to come!
“Why Were Women in The 50s So Bored?”
In no small measure because foolish men invented technologies that made women’s domestic lives easier, creating lots of idle time, idle minds, and thus the inevitable discontentment.
In my family’s case, it wasn’t the women that bought the bologna, it was the men who saw a second income and a new boat. My mom told me at a young age how much she loved being a homemaker. She wasn’t bored because she was taught every sort of handiwork. She made all our clothes, quilts, etc. After my father abandoned us, it was when she remarried that things changed. My stepdad was always chasing the biggest and shiniest new toy. He died 6 mos ago and he hadn’t changed in the 52 yes. I’d known him. My mom was sent to work because his friend’s wives were and they had bigger homes, 2 cars, a pool, a boat etc.
10 yrs. (He eventually got all that…in addition to 2 of his 3 kids going the drug route. I wanted to go live with my grandparents, which I did for most of my young life. They saved me).
When I was engaged, my aunt picked up that I had an old fashioned man raised by greatest generation parents. One night when we were washing dishes alone in the kitchen, she told me that if my husband wanted me to stay home full time, that it was a blessing and to do it. I already knew that from living with my grandparents so long. I never saw 2 more content people.
I’m so glad you are reading this book and will comment on it. I started it, and loved it, but didn’t get far because I wanted to read your books first, and that is what I’m doing now!
Feeriker, I don’t think it was foolish of the men to invent technologies. I think as Lori said, the women were not taught by older women to love their husbands, children and to be busy at home. They farmed out their children to the public schools and would have been so much better homeschooling them like the majority of Americans did just 50-100 years before them. That would have kept many of them from being bored.
They also could have looked at the Proverbs 31 woman and developed their own cottage industries.
I suppose that their husbands, who got on the bus every day for a 8-hour day at the factory or office had really exciting, fulfilling lives!
What I don’t understand, is how are women even bored these days… even with the modern conveniences? Well, I guess I did struggle a bit with boredom when I was young married, but I found things to do! Now I’ve been married for about 3 years, with a one year old baby, and there’s certainly no boredom! Some days I feel like I hardly have enough time to do everything I need to do! I need to prioritize what’s most important.. Anyways, thank you Lori for your encouragement and insight, given to us younger women!
My Nan was a good, Godly woman who raised her 6 children in the 50s. Her husband was in hospital with TB for a year, so she moved herself and the children (only 3 at that time) to her family farm. They had no electricity, no running water, and of course no refrigerator or dishwasher or washing machine. Her days were very full.
Later, in the late 50s they moved to town and had both indoor plumbing and electricity, but my father was 14 (he was born in 1950) by the time they got their first fridge. She never had a dishwasher, not ever. Not even when she was old. Dad was 9 when she first got a washing machine.
She used to tell me about those early years and she said they were hard, but good years. Full of hard work, but simple.
She was a young, unmarried woman during WW2 and she had to work, as most women in NZ did because the men were away at war. The women had to do everything. My Nan said this stirred up discontentment in women – during the war their roles were so different to before and after the war. During the war, they had been so needed, but after the war it was the men who were the heroes and the women weren’t so important any more. They were expected to fall back into their feminine role of housewife. My Nan loved being a housewife, but many of her friends did not. She remembered clearly the discontent.
Bored? Sure there’s passing moments of that … then ya find something to do.
As for new boat, provided by the wife’s income (while she can barely afford to buy herself a hairbrush, while at the grocery store) now we know how feminism came to be – it was a bait and switch job, for sure.
Debbie in Kansas USA,
I agree with you that many, many husbands have bought into wanting their wife to work outside the home for more money and toys. Many want the second income as much as the wife. They have also been mislead to think that the work a wife and mom does within the home is not as important as a career that earns money.
My husband at one time was wanting me to go back to college to get a degree once our children got into high school so I would have a degree to go back into the work force to earn money for our retirement once our kids graduated high school. I kindly showed him that I wouldn’t be working to earn money for retirement because every penny that I would earn would in reality only be able to go towards paying off the college dept that we would accumulate for me to go to college. So glad he was able to see that plan would only hurt us financially in the long run.Also, after realizing this and him trusting God to provide for our retirement, God has blessed my husband with several pay increases at his job to match what I would have probably been making it I had gotten a degree and went back to work!
From what I have observed with regard to the second income and more toys, it’s a rare family that hasn’t run up massive amounts of debt with high payments for the extras.
It’s usually not that they have cash free and clear to buy these things, but instead they have an increased credit line due to the second income.
Also there is the added expenditures related to a second job: car, gas, clothes, convenience foods…
But again it seems that we have multiple generations of women who have been raised to really believe the messaging. Some young women are learning what matters. Many are not.
My 26 year old DIL is at home with a 4 year old and a baby. But she doesn’t really value her role. It’s a lack of Faith. An understanding of a higher meaning to life.
The 50s was also when birth control was introduced. When women have fewer children that are eventually sent to school, they may find themselves bored at home! Although I am sure there is always plenty to do even with a couple children in school and modern appliances. The church always has needs—older people or the sick who need to be visited and encouraged, families in crises that need help or meals, younger women that need to be mentored, etc. People always ask me what I plan to do once my kids are grown (well, I will be well into my 60s when my youngest turns 18!), I always tell them that, Lord-willing, I hope to serve others in the church in a different capacity than I did during the season of motherhood (with young children).
Blessings to you, Lori. Thank you for continuing to speak the truth.
I just started reading Eve in Exile. I can’t wait to read more.