Why would a feminist who fought her way almost to the top in a male-dominated profession relish being a 1950s-style woman? After all, weren’t the 1950s the ultimate in feminine repression? Here is why I love being a modern retro woman:
#7. The ubiquitous gelatin concoctions: Yes, I know everyone makes fun of it but gelatin is useful for more things than just “Jello shots.” I don’t use it all of the time but you’d be surprised by how many delicious recipes there are that use gelatin. Sometimes you just need a little gelatin to hold things together.
#6. The great clothes: Seriously. Have you seen what “they” are trying to get us to wear? Ill-fitting-poorly-made clothes that are designed for young women who want to emulate a prostitute. No thank you. I prefer modest but pretty clothes designed for women that fit well, thank you very much.
#5. The “We Can Accomplish Anything” optimism: Pessimism and cynicism are the rule of the land these days. And, if we let it, the toxicity of that attitude pervades all aspects of our lives leaves us emotionally paralyzed and unable to find solutions to problems. I have been pleasantly surprised by how optimistic and positive I feel now that I’ve stopped watching television, limit my radio (even my beloved All Things Considered and Morning Edition on NPR) and Internet news reading. My mind is free to be optimistic and find creative solutions to road blocks that show up in my life.
#4. The homemaking as
viable noble career option. Conventional wisdom says that women had no choice but to be a homemaker (or teacher or nurse) in the 1950s. That is simply not true. For example, both of my grandmothers, my mother, and my mother-in-law all had successful careers. In fact, my maternal grandmother was a successful businesswoman, owning three beauty parlors, as they were called back then, on Los Angeles’ Westside. But they viewed themselves as homemakers first. By most measures, I’ve had a successful career in Higher Education but it was never as satisfying as being a homemaker is to me.
#3. The ability to be ultra-feminine. I’m not “girly.” I am ultra-feminine and love, love, love being a woman and all of the rights and responsibilities that go with it. To me, “girly” gives the impression of never having grown up and diminishes our contributions as women. I get to bring beauty to the world around me. I get to be sensuous without being overtly sexual. I get to be nurturing. And, for most women, the ultimate in femininity is the ability to give birth and raise children. When I was a young woman, I was told that in order to be successful, I had to act like a man. *Phht* I’m much more successful being true to myself…an ultra-feminine woman.
#2. The “traditional” value system. In some ways, I feel like our society has careened out of control. The notion of community and greater good has given way to every man for himself and nobody willing to come to “win-win” solutions anymore. Thrift has given way to debt. Personal responsibility has given way to entitlement (yes, I’m also talking to you, college students, who show up an hour or so late for class because you were out clubbing the night before instead of doing your homework and then wonder why you don’t get an “A” in the class). As for me, I prefer to incorporate Coach John Wooden’s teachings about making “each day a masterpiece” into my life.
#1. I am a “help-meet” to my husband. I know it seems almost blasphemous for a feminist to use the phrase “help-meet” and perhaps the term “wingspouse” would be a less controversial term. But the point is that my new career as homemaker enables me to work with The Mister toward our mutual success. Consider this: there was a time when a husband and wife worked together to make a farm or a small business a success. We are simply doing the same thing in a modern world. I love that our lives are much more integrated now which has led to a deeper and more satisfying relationship. Yes, I still have my own interests and activities but I’m also using what I learn in ways that will help The Mister be successful, too. Additionally, we are also much more clear about what our respective “jobs” are in the enterprise known as our little family. We both are working toward our mutual success in all aspects of our lives.
What about you? What entices you to be a modern retro woman?
To your fabulous Technicolor life!
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