Women at Home: Changes in the Private Sphere

  • Rochelle Gatlin
Chapter
Part of the The Contemporary United States book series

Abstract

The ‘frustrated housewife’ began receiving media attention in the early 1960s. In 1960, three years before Betty Friedan would call women’s work in the home ‘The Problem That Has No Name’, Redbook magazine ran an article entitled ‘Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped’ and invited readers to respond. The editors were shocked to receive 24,000 replies. It appeared that working-class as well as Friedan’s middle-class women were suffering from the nameless malaise. One-third of the blue-collar wives questioned by Mirra Komarovsky wanted employment ‘simply “to get out of the house”’.1 But in the absence of a political movement which could interpret individual discontent as a collective phenomena, women’s problems had indeed been rendered ‘nameless.’

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Mirra Komarovsky, Blue-Collar Marriage (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1967), p. 60.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Helena Z. Lopata, Occupation: Housewife (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 47–8.Google Scholar
  3. Helena Z. Lopata, Occupation: Housewife (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), pp. 47–8.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Sheila Rowbotham, Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1973), p. 76.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gerda Lerner, ‘Just a Housewife’, in The Majority Finds Its Past: Placing Women in History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 139.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lillian Breslow Rubin, Worlds of Pain: Life in the Working-Class Family (New York: Basic Books, 1976), pp. 60–7; Edwin O. Smigel and Rita Seiden, ‘The Decline and Fall of the Double Standard’, in Jean E. Friedman and William G. Shade (eds), Our American Sisters: Women in American Life and Thought (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1973), p. 289.Google Scholar
  7. Edwin O. Smigel and Rita Seiden, ‘The Decline and Fall of the Double Standard’, in Jean E. Friedman and William G. Shade (eds), Our American Sisters: Women in American Life and Thought (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1973), p. 289.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Helen Mayer Hacker, ‘Women as a Minority Group’, Social Forces, XXX, 1 (October 1951), 64.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Komarovsky, Blue-Collar Marriage, p. 338; Rubin, Worlds of Pain, pp. 192–4; Susan Sheehan, A Welfare Mother (New York: Mentor/New American Library, 1976), p. 16.Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Jessie Bernard, The Future of Marriage (New York: Bantam, 1973), pp. 29–32 and 52.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Mirra Komarovsky, Women in the Modern World: Their Education and Their Dilemmas (Boston: Little, Brown, 1953), p. 172. Emphasis in the original.Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    Shere Hite, The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality (New York: Dell, 1976), p. 229; Ruth Herschberger, Adam’s Rib (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), pp. 96–8. Originally published by Pellegrini & Cudahy, New York, 1948.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    As quoted in Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Men and Women of the Corporation (New York: Basic Books, 1977), p. 110.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976), pp. 277 and 279.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Muriel Nellis, The Female Fix (New York: Penguin, 1981), p. 2; Mary E. King, Judith Ann Lipshutz and Audrey Moore, ‘Health and Fertility Issues and the Dependency of Wives’, in Jane Roberts Chapman and Margaret Gates (eds), Women Into Wives: The Legal and Economic Impact of Marriage (Beverly Hills, California and London: Sage Publications, 1977), pp. 132–5.Google Scholar
  16. Mary E. King, Judith Ann Lipshutz and Audrey Moore, ‘Health and Fertility Issues and the Dependency of Wives’, in Jane Roberts Chapman and Margaret Gates (eds), Women Into Wives: The Legal and Economic Impact of Marriage (Beverly Hills, California and London: Sage Publications, 1977), pp. 132–5.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bonnie Thornton Dill, ‘“The Means to Put My Children Through”: Child Rearing Goals and Strategies Among Black Female Domestic Servants’, in La Frances Rodgers-Rose (ed.), The Black Woman (Beverly Hills, California and London: Sage Publications, 1980), p. 113. As late as 1975, whites were twice as likely as blacks to be college graduates.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Alice S. Rossi, ‘Life-Span Theories and Women’s Lives’, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, VI, 1 (Autumn 1980), 15 and 23.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lopata, Occupation: Housewife, pp. 167–72; Joann Vanek, ‘Time Spent in Housework’, in Nancy F. Cott and Elizabeth H. Pleck (eds), A Heritage of Her Own: Toward a New Social History of American Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), pp. 500–2.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Edith M. Stein, ‘Women Are Household Slaves’, in Aileen S. Kraditor (ed.), Up From the Pedestal: Selected Writings in the History of American Feminism (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1970), p. 352. Originally published in American Mercury, LXVIII (January 1949), 71–6.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Doris B. Gold, ‘Women and Voluntarism’, in Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran (eds), Women in Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness (New York: New American Library, 1972), pp. 534–5 and 552.Google Scholar
  22. Originally published by Basic Books, New York, 1971. G. William Domhoff, The Higher Circles: The Governing Class in America (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1971), p. 35.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Stephanie Gervis, ‘Women Speak Out for Peace’, The Nation, CXCIII, 23 (30 December 1961), 524.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Daisy Bates, The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir (New York: David McKay, 1962), as quoted in Gerda Lerner (ed.), Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1973), p. 422.Google Scholar
  25. Gerda Lerner (ed.), Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (New York: Vintage/Random House, 1973), p. 422.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rochelle Gatlin 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rochelle Gatlin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations