Retro Housewife
December 18, 2009 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Retro Housewife
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies (96 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I am speechless.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:16 PM on December 18, 2009


Retro webdesign.
posted by exogenous at 6:19 PM on December 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


We spent the 80's and the 90's trying to do it all. Now we are tired, overworked and want to offer a different life plan. We want to stay home, take care of our kids, our husbands and give them the attention they deserve." This site may not be for everyone, but if you want to be a retro housewife, you have come to the right place! Welcome!

a). Tell your husband to get off his lazy ass
b) Give your kids chores
c) You deserve attention, too
d) ...you know what? Never mind. Life is too short to deconstruct this shit. Lemme just say...that is some damn fugly web design.
posted by emjaybee at 6:20 PM on December 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Senor Cardgage is quick with the antidote!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:21 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I do like to dress up to clean though. There would probably be something for me on this website, if I could actually look at it directly.
posted by padraigin at 6:22 PM on December 18, 2009


Ouch!

That site could use some tidying. Where's the dust-mop?

I do like to dress up to clean though.

I dress down, because after the house is clean I'm a filthy mess.
posted by bwg at 6:30 PM on December 18, 2009


I took a short cruise through that...whatever it is and got the Retro thing (sort of) but the mix of retro (c. 1997) web design and Retro (c. 1950s) content are hurting my small brain because I want it to be satire but I don't think it is.

After further review I'm horrified; it's not satire.
posted by dolface at 6:32 PM on December 18, 2009


I thought it was a joke at first, but someone put way too much time into that for just a joke. It's definitely poking fun at itself, still, but overall I think it's serious.
posted by Forktine at 6:34 PM on December 18, 2009


"Retro Housewife: The site that questions whether "Having it ALL" i.e. (Fab Career, Marriage, Children) was such a good idea in the first place! What is so bad about making a home, and maybe enjoying life with hubby and kids a little more? Bringing home the bacon, frying it up in the pan, and never, never forgetting romance...I mean who does that really work for? "

*backs away slowly*
posted by autoclavicle at 6:36 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


That link in the middle to the Homeland Security Live Alert color level is helpful, though.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Needs more kitchen computers.
posted by khedron at 6:39 PM on December 18, 2009


Wow, some people here are really supportive of the choices women want to make.

Signed
A Man Whose Wife Would Probably Rip His Face Off If He Suggested She Go To Work While He Stays Home Because She Really, Really, Would Hate That
posted by DU at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2009


You people are obviously not Ladies Who Lunch.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2009


So let's take some time each day to appreciate our boys! You don't have to build him a life-sized statue of himself, just send him off with a kiss in the morning, even if you are mad at him! You'll get something much better in return!

Kiss me and I'm all yours.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:46 PM on December 18, 2009


Wow, some people here are really supportive of the choices women want to make.

Really. Sure, let's make fun of the horrible, horrible, web design, but if some women are happier being housewives that's fine with me, I'm glad they're able to make that choice.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


*writes long response to DU*

*deletes it*

Ah fuck it. This is lame. I'm off.
posted by emjaybee at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, some people here are really supportive of the choices women want to make.

Signed
A Man Whose Wife Would Probably Rip His Face Off If He Suggested She Go To Work While He Stays Home Because She Really, Really, Would Hate That


I'm a stay at home mom who, as alluded to above, has been known to clean the toilet in dresses and heels. That doesn't mean I think it's okay to make it into some kind of dogma, as this site's doing. I'm a feminist. How any family operates is a choice, absolutely, and snide implications that trying to "have it all" is a bad idea or is somehow part of the problem of society? Not helpful.
posted by padraigin at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2009 [19 favorites]


Nice people garden. It's a fact. That doesn't mean that all people who garden are nice, but there is a better chance that they will become nice if they keep up the gardening. Don't ask me why, God made it that way.

The retro housewife takes pride in her family garden as an outlet for her creativity and a source of beauty for herself and her family. The retro housewife does not waste her husband's money on a gardener, except perhaps for the heavy duty work not befitting the lady of the house. Instead, our retro housewife creates a soothing garden. A Garden which is a pleasing to the eye oasis for relaxation, recreation and gracious entertaining.
I'm confused. Is it supposed to be Landover Housewife or is it supposed to be tips for today's stay-at-home-moms? It is really hard to tell. I am guessing real because the satirical, over-the-top presentation is too painful for anybody except the smugly "proud to be a 'simple' housewife."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:47 PM on December 18, 2009


DU, I'm pretty sure (based on your other contributions to the blue) that you don't believe that and get why some of us are creeped out by the site.
If not, please accept my apologies and feel free to MeFi mail me if you'd like to discuss it further.

On preview: what most of the posts above mine and below yours said as well.
posted by dolface at 6:49 PM on December 18, 2009


Dogma?

From the site: This site may not be for everyone, but if you want to be a retro housewife, you have come to the right place! Welcome!
posted by DU at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2009


I'm a subscriber. Retro House Hubby, that's me! However, I do not wear the French Maid's outfit.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:52 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is awesome.
posted by vapidave at 6:56 PM on December 18, 2009


French Maid outfits are passé anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:58 PM on December 18, 2009


I support women and men whose work is homemaking (versus wives of houses), but this site makes me say ick. Some samples from the Retro Housewife "Creed" --

# Do not try to be the same as men; we are women and big shoulder pads in our suits are not going to change that.
# Stop defining worth and value in Male terms; Appreciate the men because they ARE different, love yourself because of the beauty, gentleness and common sense you add to the world! Love THEM because they will kill the spider for you, change your flat tire, and when given a little appreciation and encouragement, will spend a good part of their lives providing for you and your children.
# Appreciate the power of female sexuality; who was the genius who decided that feminine wiles were something bad anyway? If a little cleavage, wiggle of the hips or the perfect shade of lipstick gets your flat tire changed, broken washing machine fixed or helps you close the deal of the century, then aren't we smart! We are using our god-given talents wisely!


On second thought, ick, ick, ick, ick!
posted by bearwife at 6:59 PM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]


Retro Housewife

I have a folder called this on my hard drive and it's not like this site at all.
posted by empath at 7:05 PM on December 18, 2009 [18 favorites]


Wow, some people here are really supportive of the choices women want to make.

Except this site isn't about choice. It's about wishing that women never had to make a choice, and longing for those days.
posted by autoclavicle at 7:06 PM on December 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sadly, far too many women still can't "Have It All" because they're making sure that their husbands do "Have It All". That's the kind of family I grew up in, and my mother was one unhappy housewife. And after she dropped dead of heart disease at 64, my father hasn't been happy since. We canmust do better.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:07 PM on December 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's about wishing that women never had to make a choice

Cite?
posted by DU at 7:09 PM on December 18, 2009


French Maid outfits are passé anyway.

Yup. I once offered to show up at a ex's hotel room door wearing a French maid outfit. He said he found French maid outfits cheesy and not a turn on. I then offered to show up dressed as a *real* maid, complete with cart, cleansers, polyester overall, and rubber gloves. He groaned (with impatience, not with desire), and told me to "just show up". I was a little huffy at the time that he rejected my efforts to be playful, but now I realize that I should have been happy that he didn't have a fetish for the subjection of women.

Moreover my friend's suggestion of showing up in a trench coat with very little underneath worked quite well and didn't require any special efforts in terms of costuming.
posted by orange swan at 7:11 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Cite?

The bottom of the page, which I quoted above: The site that questions whether "Having it ALL" i.e. (Fab Career, Marriage, Children) was such a good idea in the first place!
posted by autoclavicle at 7:13 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The bottom of the page, which I quoted above: The site that questions whether "Having it ALL" i.e. (Fab Career, Marriage, Children) was such a good idea in the first place!

I think the "fab" and exclamation point indicate this is tongue-in-cheek. It doesn't actually say it's a bad choice and I think other elements point out that they are saying their way is another choice, not a dictum from on high. I'm getting more of a "pink 50s steampunk" (steampink?) vibe from this site than an ultra-conservative nutjob one.
posted by DU at 7:17 PM on December 18, 2009


I'm against this site. There's no section in it for the Retro-Male-Housewife.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:33 PM on December 18, 2009


If a little cleavage, wiggle of the hips or the perfect shade of lipstick gets your flat tire changed, broken washing machine fixed or helps you close the deal of the century, then aren't we smart! We are using our god-given talents wisely!

Except trading on your sexuality gets you...bupkis in later life. Better to learn how to change a flat tire yourself than turn into a hip wiggling, cleavage-baring 60 year old. This has always been the major flaw of using looks as a power base; beauty fades, money and education don't. It's great to be a retro housewife up until you get traded in for a younger model and then you realize your marketable skills --how to clean a toilet while wearing high heels-- aren't going to give you a comfortable old age.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:34 PM on December 18, 2009 [20 favorites]


*sigh* The site design made it difficult for me to wade through it enough to really suss it out, but... ok, I'm a card-carrying feminist, but for the past few years, I've also been a housewife. I quit my job to go back to school, but when people hear that I don't work, their brains tend to glide right over the student part and focus on the housewife thing. These years have been great - my time as a housewife coincided with my daughter starting school, and I've been able to get involved with her school, and do some volunteer stuff that I wouldn't have had time to do otherwise. But damn if I haven't caught some shit from some so-called feminists. I've been called a sell-out because I've been financially dependent on my husband. I've been told I'm not a real feminist. Fuck that noise. I'm a feminist because I believe women should have choice and agency over their own lives. I chose this, it's made me happy, and I've gotten a degree out of it (or rather, I will on 12/31). Stay-at-home moms shouldn't have to be apologetic about their choice, and I've seen too much of that.

So my point is, whether this is conservative nutjob or "pink 50s steampunk," there's a grain of truth in it. I know a lot of punk rock fulltime mommies, and I swear, this stay at home gig is almost like an act of rebellion against the 2nd waves who try to tell us the "right" way to be a feminist. I swear that's why so many of us knit.
posted by Ruki at 7:34 PM on December 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


You people are obviously not Ladies Who Lunch.

Hrm. I'm not sure I'd WANT to be one of the Ladies Who Lunch.
posted by hippybear at 7:35 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moreover my friend's suggestion of showing up in a trench coat with very little underneath worked quite well and didn't require any special efforts in terms of costuming.

Your friend is very wise, and hopefully gives advice to many, many people.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:35 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


ouch... and, arrogant, and not too smart, and bad web design, and didn't geocities die or something?
posted by HuronBob at 7:36 PM on December 18, 2009


This nuclear family bullshit will all be moot in the free collectives come the Glorious Day. We may keep the French maid's outfits though; have to run that one by the Committee.
posted by Abiezer at 7:36 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


And why a French maid? What's wrong with the other professions? Where are the DMV clerk costumes? The firearms instructor? The DNR regional director? The FDA agricultural grains specialist? Someone out there must find an electrical engineer costume sexy, right?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:42 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


If a little cleavage, wiggle of the hips or the perfect shade of lipstick gets your flat tire changed, broken washing machine fixed or helps you close the deal of the century, then aren't we smart! We are using our god-given talents wisely!

Right. Also, learn to suck dick, skillfully. Women for generations have used this skill in a variety of professional settings - to get ahead in Hollywood, or to keep their secretarial position, or to advance in the boardroom. Men used bareknuckled tactics of power plays, women used bare breasts. Men and women are different, let's celebrate the difference! Yes, these were skills made necessary by the economic and social power positions women found themselves, but then again, those were wonderful times, and we shouldn't dismiss them. Civil rights were not acknowledged, and equality was but a laugh, on the other hand women knew their place as did minorities, crime was low, which is much better all things considered compared to what happened to the neighborhood once minorities moved in and women got uppity in the workplace... now, where was I? Oh right, I fell asleep with my 1950's era Reader's Digest in my lap.
posted by VikingSword at 7:52 PM on December 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, fellas, it appears the jig is up.

Don't cry, boys; we all knew it was only a matter of time before they realized they'd been "liberated" into twice as much work.

We had a good run.

*HAMBURSPLOSION*
posted by Sys Rq at 7:55 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wow, what a hurricane of snark.

You know, it really strikes me that if she likes living that way, cool. Good for her. We have room for both housewives AND career women in the world. And house husbands, too.

It's not like she's a threat to you; you don't have to emulate her. You don't have to be happy about just doing housework and taking care of kids, and few men expect that anymore. I think that's very unlikely to change if a few women prefer the older styles of life.

If anything, you folks beating up on her are more repressive than she is; she's doing what she wants, and you folks are telling her she's wrong to live that way. What's the difference between that and telling a woman she shouldn't want a career?
posted by Malor at 8:17 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The problem I primarily have with this site-- aside from the fact that the design is godawful and hard to read-- is that it's packed full of ads. The page entitled "Honey do you think I'm fat and other stupid questions", which purports to be something about self-acceptance and whatever actually opens like this: "If you are fat: Medifast - $50 off any purchase of $275 or more! Use Coupon Code: DEC31C good until 12-31-09". WTF?
posted by jokeefe at 8:18 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyway, if I feel like vicariously living the Homemaker Queen fantasy for a while, I go to Pioneer Woman instead.
posted by jokeefe at 8:20 PM on December 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


> I'm getting more of a "pink 50s steampunk" (steampink?) vibe from this site than an ultra-conservative nutjob one

"Steampink"?

DU, I think you may just have started a new meme.

Like steampunk wasn't already a battered zombie horse anyway.
posted by Decimask at 8:23 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


...?

....!!! 111

ra ra ooo ra ra ra.

ga ga ooo ma ma.

ga ga ooo la la.


Damn that is fucked up.
posted by Kloryne at 8:30 PM on December 18, 2009


...learn to suck dick, skillfully...

posted by VikingSword at 7:52 PM on December 18


Epenisterical.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:33 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The problem I primarily have with this site-- aside from the fact that the design is godawful and hard to read-- is that it's packed full of ads.

She isn't a stay at home mom. She's a work-from-home SEO spammer. Or maybe the chief of an empire of SEO spammers.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:43 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, call me when there's a site that caters to the "house husband". My spouse has been getting into sweater vests and bow ties recently, and needs advice on how to keep them clean while doing the dishes, vacuuming, and making meals.

The personal is political, and it's naive to assume otherwise.
posted by muddgirl at 8:57 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, the Pioneer Woman site that jokeefe linked to above is marvellous. I found Ree's site last year when I Googled for a risotto recipe and have been a fan ever since. She's a relaxed, funny writer with a great sense of design, so the site is a lot easier on the eyes and brain than Retro Housewife. And while she obviously loves her life as a homeschooling, stay at home mom, she doesn't needle anyone else for making a different choice and she doesn't play the long-suffering victim.
posted by maudlin at 9:17 PM on December 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ree is relaxed? I find her a weirdly self-conscious writer. And her references to feeding the menfolk and her "Marlboro Man" bother me as much as this site does.
posted by runningwithscissors at 10:01 PM on December 18, 2009


How is a woman who wants to be called a 'housewife' not being a dickhead? If you work at home, you are working at home- giving that situation a label that screams 'socially retarded' isn't funny, cute, ironic or anything other than stepping on a big fat landmine of terminally stupid.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 10:13 PM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ree is relaxed? I find her a weirdly self-conscious writer. And her references to feeding the menfolk and her "Marlboro Man" bother me as much as this site does.

I don't mind the "self-conscious" part of her writing style, it seems like she's poking fun at herself more than anything else.

And really, in addition to "homemaking" she's a extremely popular blogger, a bestselling author, an accomplished photographer and a great teacher to her kids. It seems like she's has a fantastic career while also enjoying "homemaking", and that's great. If she gets pleasure out of feeding her husband I don't see anything wrong with that.
posted by kylej at 10:18 PM on December 18, 2009


She's a work-from-home SEO spammer.

ding.ding.ding. We have a winner!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:57 PM on December 18, 2009


How is a woman (gay) who wants to be called a 'housewife' (queer) not being a dickhead?

we're takin' it back, baby.

And good lord shame on anyone who would shame us for not feeling enough shame that we're housewives. The women I know who are housewives don't want to be anything else. A lot wish to god they could quit their tiresome boring jobs and stay home.

What is so offensive in that?
posted by esereth at 11:06 PM on December 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


If anything, you folks beating up on her are more repressive than she is; she's doing what she wants, and you folks are telling her she's wrong to live that way. What's the difference between that and telling a woman she shouldn't want a career?

One is morally correct and the other isn't? The problem isn't that she wants to stay home because it makes her happy. If that was all it is, then god bless 'er and pass the feather duster.

The problem is that she's advocating the position, basically, that women are the weaker sex, that trying to have a career and a family is bullshit, and that chicks should rely on sex appeal to trick men into doing stuff for them. This is the exact kind of fucked up shit that results in a society where women aren't respected by men as equals. I would like to get there someday, the fight is ongoing, and as far as I'm concerned Miss Thing is fragging the officers.
posted by Diablevert at 11:37 PM on December 18, 2009 [16 favorites]


this thread needs some donna fargo
posted by pyramid termite at 12:22 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


A lot wish to god they could quit their tiresome boring jobs and stay home.

What is so offensive in that?


Well, other than the fact that it naturally supposes you are going to rely on a partner (almost always a husband, though sometimes another woman) to materially/financially support your choice? And that maybe rather than just 'opting out' it is more beneficial for the whole of society/your community to agitate for work condition that are beneficial to all not just women who want to quit their job and stay at home?

And I say this as a woman who is currently a SAHM to a school age child due to the fact that there is no work for me where I live so I am working from home while I wait until September when I start teacher training, so please don't start on the 'it's fine for you working women/whatever' rubbish this usually descends into. I find the whole 'I choose to stay at home therefore it is still a feminist choice' thing is often only skin deep. And sites like this do not help.
posted by Megami at 3:27 AM on December 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


There's a line of magnets featuring this type of 1950s kitschy art I find hilarious and satirical. On my fridge there's one featuring a red robe clad woman cheerfully caressing a stove. It says "and sometimes we pretend that I'm his slave" -- high-level sarcasm in the quietalittlewild household. Gives me a good ironical laugh when I'm, for example, taking out the pre-cooked bacon to nuke (10 seconds per slice)!

I view this entire site in the same way.
posted by quietalittlewild at 4:12 AM on December 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love those magnets!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:02 AM on December 19, 2009


This person is a twee idiot.

As the official spokesperson for America's employers, I would like to thank her for removing herself from the workforce
posted by jeoc at 8:06 AM on December 19, 2009


Takes all kinds, I guess. I don't really see it becoming a Movement, mind you, any more than masochism is a movement (unless you count the Libertarian party).

HAMBURGER
posted by Pragmatica at 8:37 AM on December 19, 2009


That link in the middle to the Homeland Security Live Alert color level is helpful, though.

If serious, this is all I need to know.
posted by Partario at 9:01 AM on December 19, 2009


And why a French maid? What's wrong with the other professions?

My mother led me to understand that my father found her old nurse's uniform particularly, uh, appealing. She was a nurse during the late '50s and into the '60s, so her uniform looked a bit like this one, only with a shorter skirt and the traditional cap. In the photos we have of her in it, Ma did look pretty hot.

I wasn't particularly keen to hear more details from Ma, of course. But it does help me understand why my dad rolls his eyes at the scrubs the staff at the nursing home wears.
posted by magstheaxe at 10:16 AM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I fantasize about "staying home". Of course, my fantasy doesn't involve depending on a man or even being married at all. I imagine I've come into a million dollars or so and think about all the things I'd do: adopt a child, finish the renovations on my house, finish the novel I'm writing, hit the gym every morning and getting into terrific shape, do all kinds of great volunteer work, etc. Not having to work a nine-to-five job would be wonderfully freeing and I don't suppose there are many people who have full-time jobs who don't dream about it.

I do/have known a blessedly few women who really think they are entitled to be able to stay at home because a man/the universe at larger owes them that, even though they have made no effort whatsoever to get their finances in shape to do that and weren't even prepared to live simply. Some man was just supposed to come along, pay off their debts, buy them a house, and pay all the bills they ran up and if they didn't get that they'd whiiiiiiiiine about the prospect of having to work and take care of a child. Fortunately, at least among the women I've known, this atttitude is very rare.

A much larger problems is all this politicized criticism of mothers or fathers who have jobs or who are full-time homemakers. It's a choice every family has to make individually, and regardless of what you choose you are not some shining example of manifest destiny. These sweeping statements about what everyone or other people should do really irritate me. Decide for yourself, speak for yourself, and be aware that you neither have to defend your choices nor are you called upon to critique others'.
posted by orange swan at 10:21 AM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


A couple is a team, and how they choose to divvy up the responsibilities of managing the home/paying the bills on it is entirely up to them, I think.

I posted the website because it looked....interesting...not for any political reason. Snark on!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:09 AM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


megami
I don't understand how the "feminist" choice to stay home is "skin deep." Could you elaborate on that a little? Does that mean no woman truly wants to stay home with her small children?

I am relying on his paycheck. But he wants his very small children to thrive, and he's relying on me to facilitate that. I'm good at it. I like it, its in my biology to care for them constantly.

We rely on each other to get by. That's why we got married. An arrangement making survival possible for the whole of history.

I'm just....baffled. How could anyone be mad at me for this?
posted by esereth at 11:11 AM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


You guys are getting awfully worked up over a stupid LARP site.
posted by Lazlo at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2009


Ruki: "I've been called a sell-out because I've been financially dependent on my husband. I've been told I'm not a real feminist. "


There are many, many households where EVERYONE is dependent on EVERYONE ELSE in the household to bring in income, do work, cook, etc. The ideal of a completely free individual who depends on no one is a very privileged one.

Ya, ditto, although I am not by any means a housewife (heh) but I am somewhat dependent on my husband. He is, to some extent, dependent on my income as well. When I was out of work for a few weeks, both of us were very affected. But he makes a lot more money than I do and has access to benefits that I don't have, because I'm an under-the-table worker, whereas he's in a very male-dominated field with high pay. So, if I have a child and anyone stays home, it will be me.

"Blah blah blah you need to be an independent woman because of feminism" tends to be stupid classist crap. However, it is silly to ignore the gender and class issues that lead to my having an under-the-table job without benefits.

It's not necessarily in my "biology" to care for my children 24/7, nor is it the only way to ensure that my children will be happy and healthy. That kind of idea and terminology bothers me in the extreme. Especially because I work in childcare--and I have (and still do) work my ass off to provide good, nurturing, and even loving care to the little ones I'm with. The children thrive and are happy and healthy, even though Mom isn't there 24/7.
posted by kathrineg at 12:19 PM on December 19, 2009


Considering:
Turns out that A.D.D. is short for Amphetamines are the Drug of Distinction. I popped a few of the submarine shaped mother’s itty bitty helpers and followed it with a cup of Peet’s coffee. (Hard workin’ hausfraus do not, repeat , do not drink instant.)
...it's all faux-retro parody.
posted by Robert Angelo at 2:58 PM on December 19, 2009


It makes me really unhappy to think that feminism-- which is, partly, about personal fulfillment-- could be degraded to a kind of discourse where "workplace good, home bad". Homemaking is only "bad" if it's compulsory and there are few other options. As a personal choice staying home to care for children is a productive and even a noble one. I think part of the force of the idea that staying home is some how not worthy of respect comes from the same idea that the only people who are actually contributing to society are those who work 9-5. Not the artist, or the SAH mother, or those others who pursue vocations that are labours of love.

And, historically, it's only really been a slice of upper class women who have been compelled to stay at home. The vast majority of women have always worked, and even those who were full-time housewifes were so for only a period of years before moving on to part-time jobs or other kinds of paid work. So don't diss housewives, or homemakers: some of the finest, hardest working women I've known have been stay-at-home moms. It's a choice I totally respect.
posted by jokeefe at 3:55 PM on December 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


And why a French maid? What's wrong with the other professions?

I like to show up to my special friend's home nude beneath my lab coat, with a mortar and pestle and a bunch of those stickers that say "For Vaginal Use Only" and "For Rectal Use Only".
posted by little e at 4:45 PM on December 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a stay at home mom who, as alluded to above, has been known to clean the toilet in dresses and heels.

Say hi to Wally and the Beav for me.
posted by jonmc at 4:48 PM on December 19, 2009


What a lame site.

St. Alia probably enjoyed the thread.
posted by afu at 10:26 PM on December 19, 2009


As a personal choice staying home to care for children is a productive and even a noble one.

What about the personal choice to stay at home to keep a nice house for the husband? Is that OK as well?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:15 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: definitely poking fun at itself, still, but overall I think it's serious.
posted by Eideteker at 6:59 AM on December 20, 2009


St. Alia probably enjoyed the thread.

And rightly so.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on December 20, 2009


What about the personal choice to stay at home to keep a nice house for the husband? Is that OK as well?

Doing what you want to do, even if Metafilter members will snark at you for wanting it, is fine.

Doing it because you think other people want you to do it, isn't.

I think it's a safe assumption that this is really what she wants, since she's put up a web page to argue for her approach to life. If she were to listen to all this snarking and go try for a career, she'd be just as repressed and forced into social expectations as the women who stayed home in the 50s because that was the thing to do.

You're committing the very crime you decry, trying to force her to fit into the mold YOU have for what women should want out of life, instead of listening to and respecting what SHE wants.

Her choices don't force anything on you; just like gays should have the right to marry, and the Mormons should be allowed their polygamous relationships, this woman should be allowed to set up a Nuclear Family and dress in kitsch and greet her husband with a kiss at the door and dinner waiting. Our comfort level with that arrangement is irrelevant.
posted by Malor at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2009


megami
I don't understand how the "feminist" choice to stay home is "skin deep." Could you elaborate on that a little? Does that mean no woman truly wants to stay home with her small children?


Okay, fair call. What I find to be 'skin deep' is women who stay home, and can stay home, because they have a man bankrolling them. Of course there are women, most maybe, who want to stay home with their small children. But there are probably many men who want to as well, but don't, due to the way society is constructed. And there are many women who don't want to stay home, but do, because they think that is what is expected of them by society.

Also, being dependant on a man to bankroll your lifestyle is not empowering. I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but if I could give just one, true, from my life example of what I am getting at: I have a smart, calls herself a feminist friend. Met her husband while she was finishing her Masters. They agreed she would be a homemaker. Soon had child. Mother stayed home to raise child, and planned to homeschool. The only job she ever had was working part-time at a bookstore while at college. But she and husband agreed on how they were going to divide the share of work inside and outside the home, and raising her child is an important job, no? So all is well. She chooses her choice etc. etc.

Well, all great until he decides actually, he loves someone else, and wants to spend his time with that other woman. Now my friend is stuck in the shitty situation of putting up with this, because the only other option is to leave, with her child, and support herself (where she lives the child support would not be crash hot). She has no real work experience, and being a great homemaker, wife and mother is counting for nil in today's economic climate. So how empowering was that choice?

I would love a society where we could all make the choices we want, including staying home and being a homemaker if that is what is our hearts desire. And while you have no way of knowing if what is say is true, let me tell you that I actually participate in politics to try and bring about a society where this is possible. But at the moment it is not, and I stand by my statement that relatively privileged women choosing to be homemakers financially supported by their husband is not empowering for women in general, and if they are in a situation like that I outlined above, not empowering for themselves. Maybe your definition of feminist is different than mine, but choosing to be solely dependant on a man doesn't quite fit with my definition.
posted by Megami at 2:07 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Megami, that was actually the argument against staying at home-- that economic dependance put women at risk and closed down their options. During the early 70s there was a meme making the feminist rounds that "every woman was just one man away from welfare". This apprently opened many eyes, though of one can both understand and totally agree with the eye-rolling (not to mention alientation) that went on amongst working class women who have never taken for granted the luxury of such support from the men in their lives.

So the economic vunerability (and the resulting lack of autonomy) of middle-class women was a big incentive towards the opening of the workplace, the equal pay laws, etc. For me, however, a woman's personal choice is hers alone. I can think she's foolish, or have no respect for it, but it's up to her; what her wider responsibility to "women in general" might be is something she will have to work out herself. It would be nice if we were all in solidarity with our sisters, but given that women are just human beings with various needs and desires and motivations, it's idealistic to hope for. I would probably feel less than charitable, to put it mildly, faced with meeting a woman rich enough to stay home and do nothing, but I'd likely judge her more for being an idly rich person than for being a woman who'd decided to be wholly supported by her husband.

I seem to be mellowing in my old age, however, so ymmv.
posted by jokeefe at 2:27 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I stand by my statement that relatively privileged women choosing to be homemakers financially supported by their husband is not empowering for women in general, and if they are in a situation like that I outlined above, not empowering for themselves. Maybe your definition of feminist is different than mine, but choosing to be solely dependant on a man doesn't quite fit with my definition.

But it would be OK if she were a lesbian and her wife were supporting her, I guess.

The living and financial choices of the small section of society that can afford to have a partner of either sex stay at home is neither empowering nor disempowering to anybody else. They're outliers. Part of my definition of feminism is that, as a woman, I don't let other people's choices tell me what's empowering or not for my personal situation, nor do I let them tell me that I have a duty to live my life as an example to others. I lived through the 80s; the "feminism: ur doin it rong" straitjacket is no more appealing than the retro housewife straitjacket. The whole interfeminist firing squad about women who stay at home or not is such a privileged clusterfuck that it's no surprise to me that third-wavers despise second-wavers who go on and on about it.

And I couldn't get past all the ads to decide whether the originally-linked site was Landover-style parody or not, even with Adblocker engaged. I shudder to think what it would have looked like with a different browser without some portion of the ads removed.
posted by immlass at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2009


Oh, three minute edit window, if only you existed. Oh well.
posted by jokeefe at 2:28 PM on December 20, 2009


Or what immlass said.
posted by jokeefe at 2:30 PM on December 20, 2009


And I couldn't get past all the ads to decide whether the originally-linked site was Landover-style parody or not, even with Adblocker engaged. I shudder to think what it would have looked like with a different browser without some portion of the ads removed.

Like a colorized Winston Smith poster, pretty much.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:48 PM on December 20, 2009


How is it YOUR business if someone is or isn't empowered in her relationship? Help her the fuck out, help her get food stamps, give her a ride, lobby for better child support guidelines, or STFU and mind your own business.

If a woman can't afford to feed herself and her child unless she has a man, that's a systemic problem. Not a problem with that woman's self-disempowerment (wtf). Victim blaming has no place in a constructive dialogue about marriage, gender roles, child-rearing, or bad web design.
posted by kathrineg at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back in the old days, used to be that if a husband decided he wanted to leave his housewife-and-mom for a new gal, the price he paid was continuing to support that wife and that child (alimony AND child support.) Society was at least in theory set up so that a man couldn't shirk his responsibilities, since it was a given back in that day that a mom did stay home with the kids-for that matter, that "a woman's place" was in the home. (Yes, Virginia, at one time people really believed that.)

I wish this society was more supportive of stay at home moms, myself-I reflexively want to slap anyone who suggests they are a "drain" because the truth is they do a very hard job that NEEDS doing-but at the same time, sadly, I believe every woman needs some sort of career because you just never know.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:53 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Society was at least in theory set up so that a man couldn't shirk his responsibilities, since it was a given back in that day that a mom did stay home with the kids-for that matter, that "a woman's place" was in the home.

This is only true of a certain (well-off, white) privileged group. My grandmother worked until she was 65, and she had 6 kids. No one told her that her place was at home because no one wanted her (or her husband or her kids) to starve.

I could do without people repeating this "women didn't work" trope thoughtlessly as though the middle-class experience as seen through the filter of pop history and sexist advertisements is representative of the reality of the time.
posted by kathrineg at 3:59 PM on December 20, 2009


Kathrineg, the way it worked usually in our working class group was that women stayed home till their children started school then got a job. There were a few who were in the work force before then-my greataunt did home child care for one such family (this was back in the early 60's.) OTOH my great grandmother worked at the mill in the early part of the 20th century-that same greataunt(her daughter) used to bring her little baby sister to the mill for her mother to nurse the baby.

But by and large the expected thing was for women to stay home with their children. Working women were considered outside the norm, and not the ideal. In fact, the opposite of today-whereas there are still quite a few women who stay home, they are considered not the norm.

Those of us who lived during that time may very well have had working mothers but I can assure you that "women's place is in the home" was most definitely the accepted trope. I lived thru it. I was a latchkey child back when there were very few of us.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:39 PM on December 20, 2009


PS by the way it absolutely was true back in the late fifties and early sixties (my early childhood ) that women could "only be" nurses, teachers or secretaries. Those were the only professions we were supposed to aspire to. No lie.

For those of you who are in your twenties, you have NO idea just how far we have come. Because even I have a hard time getting my mind around the fact our choices were so small back then.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:42 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would love a society where we could all make the choices we want, including staying home and being a homemaker if that is what is our hearts desire. And while you have no way of knowing if what is say is true, let me tell you that I actually participate in politics to try and bring about a society where this is possible. But at the moment it is not, and I stand by my statement that relatively privileged women choosing to be homemakers financially supported by their husband is not empowering for women in general

So, in other words, because you want women to be able to stay home if they want, you're upset that a woman is staying home because she wants to.

Might I suggest that your thinking is, perhaps, a mite confused?
posted by Malor at 5:27 PM on December 20, 2009


This is not a woman who is simply writing about her choice. Language about "having it all," "shoulder pads in our suits", and "try[ing] to be the same as men" is a clear and direct slam on women who work outside the home and seek political equality.
posted by transona5 at 5:52 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


^ Yes this
posted by kathrineg at 7:14 PM on December 20, 2009


Yeah, she can stay home all she wants, and I sincerely hope that it makes her happy. It sounds like it probably will. But that doesn't mean she's entitled to slag off any woman who is attempting to do something different.

She seems to think that what makes her happy should make every woman happy, and that people who think differently are deluding themselves. The arrogance in assuming that other people can't *really* be happy because they don't like the same things you like is really weird.

It seems like in her world, there's no such thing as women who'd love to stay home with the kids but can't afford to in this economy, or women who genuinely enjoy the mental or physical challenge of having a job (let alone a career!). It's a pretty narrow view, and her snide comments about anyone different from her aren't going to convince many people of her opinion. I don't feel obliged to give her opinions on running a household much respect when she can't extend the same courtesy to mine.
posted by harriet vane at 10:08 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Back in the old days, used to be that if a husband decided he wanted to leave his housewife-and-mom for a new gal, the price he paid was continuing to support that wife and that child (alimony AND child support.)

You mean the "old days" as in within living memory, right? Because a hundred years ago there wasn't alimony and child support. Not in the codified, enforceable by law way there is now. Marriages split up all the time, and very often it was a matter of a man simply disappearing and leaving the wife and children to fend for themselves. That's why we have alimony and child support laws in the first place.

PS by the way it absolutely was true back in the late fifties and early sixties (my early childhood ) that women could "only be" nurses, teachers or secretaries. Those were the only professions we were supposed to aspire to. No lie.

For those of you who are in your twenties, you have NO idea just how far we have come.


God yes. We're the same age, me and St. Alia, and this is the absolute truth. It was a very, very different world.

As far as the "Retro Housewife" site goes-- assuming it's more than just a collection of ads, the thing that rubs me the wrong way is not just the idea of staying at home, as I've already said. It's the nostalgia around the whole thing that bothers me, a kind of longing for "simpler" times. Do not want, thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 11:09 PM on December 20, 2009


Harriet Vane probably said what I wanted to say more eloquently than I did.
posted by Megami at 11:49 PM on December 20, 2009


Marriages split up all the time, and very often it was a matter of a man simply disappearing and leaving the wife and children to fend for themselves

In my own grandmother's case (who also had 6 kids) it wasn't a case of the man running off, her husband died. Because he was a minister and it was the 50's, the family had only a very tiny widow's pension to live on-- not enough to provide for 6 children. So grandma went to work in bicycle factory where she worked for the next 25 years.

My own mother reveled in being a SAHM-- she was a Girl Scout leader and a Sunday school teacher, gardened, canned, baked, and sewed. But, Dad wanted out. Fortunately for her, he waited until she went back to nursing school and got her degree before he took off. So many, many women I have known have wanted to be SAHMs but could not swing it financially-- they long for the lifestyle and envy the few women who manage to have it. I am passionate about woman being allowed the chance to enjoy taking care of the kids and the home if they can, but I recognize the ease at which the choice can evaporate and leave the woman stranded in a bad place economically.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:42 AM on December 21, 2009


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