PDF Domestic Discipline in the 1950s

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Or so I thought. According to this researched and thorough guide to s cleaning schedules , s housewife cleaning took about three hours every day and involved daily cleaning of the bathroom, kitchen, and living room, sweeping the floors, and doing at least one load of laundry.

Burning question of the day: 1950s newspaper clipping shows how far women's rights have come

Again, I tried. I really did.

At first, I even thought it was kind of fun. But then, I decided to tackle my bathroom. Some tub scrubbing here, some toilet cleaning there My shower walls were filthy!

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What kind of housewife was I? What kind of human being was I? I began obsessively scrubbing them and was 45 minutes late to put my laundry in the dryer, which then set back my schedule, leaving me getting started with my actual work several hours late in the morning. By the day's end, I was too exhausted to fold any of the laundry.

In fact, it's still laying in a hamper in my room. I kept spot-cleaning the kitchen and bathroom for the rest of the week, but I found that doing any other housework and maintaining my actual job fell somewhere between masochism and impossibility. Conclusion : No one needs their bathroom cleaned every day, unless that bathroom is in a Starbucks or something. Fifties etiquette advice fascinates us so because it seems so straight-up bizarre, it feels like it was written to advise folks on another planet, not another decade.

Tip your soup bowl? Put your cherry pits in a spoon? Is it because we didn't have cable yet? That stuff's funny, sure — but what about etiquette advice that offered broader ideas about how women should conduct themselves around their men? Well, it turns out that most of it amounts to "shut your pie hole.

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Again from that sage, Mrs. Dale Carnegie , here's some advice on keeping the marital peace:. Robert H. Since my boyfriend would immediately see through my suddenly showering him with compliments on his virility "My, how healthy your boner looks today! I practiced holding my tongue about the kind of dumb crap that usually bugged me.

For example, when he had to move some beach chairs from a closet to put away his air conditioner, I tried to phrase my request as a question — "What are we going to do about these beach chairs, I wonder? I don't know if my backing off on the nagging made any difference to him, but it did make me feel like less of a dick. I noticed that the nagging didn't seem to make any difference in how he acted — it just made him feel yelled at and made me feel mean.


So that was a net positive. But it certainly didn't feel "extremely feminine. Like you're in a douche commercial? Conclusion : Quitting nagging is good because nagging is rude, not because it makes anyone feel like "a king.

Discipline During Adolescence (1958)

Getting s relationship advice for my life was confusing, because, by s standards, my relationship — a long-term, committed, unmarried domestic partnership — basically didn't exist. So I decided to just go with "married" for this experiment — especially since the only sex advice for unmarried people in the '50s basically amounted to: "Don't have sex, and also, go get married.

So as a married '50s housewife, how was I supposed to conduct myself in our relationship? Well, for starters, according to all of the sexual advice of the day, I'm "frigid" because I can't have vaginal orgasms. Try to read this assessment of marital frigidity without bursting into laughter:. My devotion to the project was not intense enough to undergo the counseling that doctors of the era recommended for women who couldn't have vaginal orgasms , so I moved on to the era's other sex advice. William Josephus Robinson actually a kinda progressive contraceptive advocate had this to say about doing the wifely duty :.

So if you like sex a lot, keep it to yourself; if you don't like sex at all, also keep that to yourself.

I Spent a Week As a '50s Housewife, and Here's What My Pretty Little Head Learned

What the hell was I supposed to do with that? I had already let it slip a few years ago to my boyfriend that I liked sex — like, on the night we met — so that cat was pretty much out of the bag. What the hell was I actually supposed to do to make love, '50s style? Well, I did have some ruffly pink panties. Also, despite what people tell you, oral sex did exist in the '50s , so don't worry — we ended up doing just fine. So all of this is how I ended up running around the last night of my experiment, furiously busting ass through my grocery store, trying to figure out what the hell "Dream Whip" was.

Discipline was strict in schools, as boys got a caning and girls got slapped on the knuckles with a ruler. Children were expected to be quiet and well-behaved at school. Detention was given for many misdemeanors, and children were never meant to speak back. On the bus, it was expected that boys would give up their seat for a woman or anyone senior in age and also give up their places in line for the bus. You could never leave the table at dinner time without asking permission first. When wearing a hat, it would be suitable etiquette to take it off when going indoors, into a shop or when talking to a lady on the street.

I Spent a Week As a '50s Housewife, and Here's What My Pretty Little Head Learned

A child would be taught to say, "I would like," and was taught never to say the words, "I want. Today, many look back at the '50s and see the corporal punishments that adults inflicted on children as unnecessary and unfair. Negative influences on children that did not exist in the '50s, such as violent video games and movies, are of continued concern. It logically follows that we can choose to pick out the "good" parts about what it was like to be a child in the s and avoid the "bad" parts and integrate them into what it means to be a child today.

A healthy dose of discipline and structure and a general respect toward society are all important lessons we can take from the discipline of the s.