What Can Men Expect of Women Now that We’re Not in the 1950s?


This post took me a really long time to write, but I’m hoping it’ll generate a lot a lot of discussion.

This post has been getting lots and lots of comments lately and I thought I would bring it over here for an open discussion of gender roles and economics over the last 50 years.  I disagree with some of the points made in the post, where the authors, a husband and wife team trying to teach men to be more “manly” in this day and age (based on a definition of helping men to become better husbands, fathers, and better man through “virtues.”) In general, I think it is off-base, too generalized, and anachronistic.


source.  Seriously, check the source out.  Wow.

The post begins by giving a checklist of what made a good husband and wife in 1939 in America.  The authors write,

After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.

I’ve seen this chart going around for a long time now online.  Some of these female standards include: not wearing red nail polish, being able to play a musical instrument (violin, etc.), religious (sends children to Sunday school and goes to church herself,) and not having seams in her pantyhose.

Men’s merits include: remembering birthdays and anniversaries, a demerit for when they don’t come to the table to eat when  called, reading newspapers or books aloud to their wives, and giving the wife an “ample allowance.”

Whew. Men sure have it hard.  All they have to do is remember birthdays and give wives a bit of play money to be considered a good husband in 1930s society.  That isn’t to say that they had it completely easy; they did need to provide for the entire family.

The blog post goes on to say,

Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wife’s Chart seem even sillier is that a woman’s place in society has changed far more than a man’s during the last 70 years.

But it’s also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this [and they have a cartoon here about how a man saying he likes a woman that can cook is sexist.)

I don’t think this is true, at all.  There is so much generalization in this blog post that any legitimate point they were trying to make goes out the window.  For example, I could say the same thing, that men are free to flog women for shortcomings but continue to be Man Children and not live up to their responsibilities, and it would carry the same weight because I don’t have any statistics to back it up.

There, are, however, a multitude of expectations of women in today’s society that are even more than those 1950s era values that the post, however cautiously, seems to be extolling.  Here are the things that were expected of women in the 1950s in Western Countries, particularly the United States, in a list:

as evidenced by this clip (not visible outside the United States, I think), which talks about how women were encouraged through society-a similar YouTube clip echoes the idea, as does this one.

Today, women are expected by society and economic circumstances (as well as their own volition) to do the above, plus work 8-hour days because one salary is in most cases simply not enough with rising inflation, as well as rising costs for anything related to children.  This means that a woman is now doing double-duty: she is both taking care of the household (still, for the most part, a woman’s role) and taking care of the kids about 70% of the time, as well as preparing meals, etc. I would say most families I knew growing up functioned in this way.  Of course, the father is involved, too, but we are nowhere near equal levels of participation.

Amidst all this, when does she have time to be feminine in the way The Art of Manliness defines being feminine, which is continuing to look polished and being feminine (whatever that may mean) and cooking and taking care of the kids all while letting the man do his own “manly” role, however that may be defined.

I don’t have an issue with men doing man stuff.   In fact, as feminist as I am, coming from a Russian cultural background and having my dad fix everything we’ve ever owned just by reading a manual, predisposes me to certain stereotypes of what men should and shouldn’t be doing.  Men should know how to fix everything, take care of cars, and protect the house.  Women should cook, constantly be cooking for men, eat last, and be lady-like and soft, which includes knowing how to dress, AND on top of this be expected to raise kids and have a career.  And, as progressive as Mr. B and I both are, I am frequently surprised to see us taking on these gender roles without any conscious effort.

I don’t have a problem with some form of gender roles. They make a marriage easier.  I do have a problem with men expecting more of women than they do of themselves and particularly not taking into consideration the fact that women now have a double burden (sometimes by choice, sometimes not out of finances,) and about defining femininity in arbitrary terms.  Equality is all about constantly analyzing what works for you and what doesn’t.  Not about some checklist of what being feminine means to your man.

Related on the blog:

[This post took me a really long time to write, but I’m hoping it’ll generate a lot a lot of discussion.

This post has been getting lots and lots of comments lately and I thought I would bring it over here for an open discussion of gender roles and economics over the last 50 years.  I disagree with some of the points made in the post, where the authors, a husband and wife team trying to teach men to be more “manly” in this day and age (based on a definition of helping men to become better husbands, fathers, and better man through “virtues.”) In general, I think it is off-base, too generalized, and anachronistic.


source.  Seriously, check the source out.  Wow.

The post begins by giving a checklist of what made a good husband and wife in 1939 in America.  The authors write,

After having a good laugh, what Kate and I both noticed after reading through these charts was that while we could imagine a modern day woman expecting her husband to live up to most of the standards on the Husband’s Chart, if a man expected a woman to adhere to the Wife’s Chart, he’d probably be met with the look of death.

I’ve seen this chart going around for a long time now online.  Some of these female standards include: not wearing red nail polish, being able to play a musical instrument (violin, etc.), religious (sends children to Sunday school and goes to church herself,) and not having seams in her pantyhose.

Men’s merits include: remembering birthdays and anniversaries, a demerit for when they don’t come to the table to eat when  called, reading newspapers or books aloud to their wives, and giving the wife an “ample allowance.”

Whew. Men sure have it hard.  All they have to do is remember birthdays and give wives a bit of play money to be considered a good husband in 1930s society.  That isn’t to say that they had it completely easy; they did need to provide for the entire family.

The blog post goes on to say,

Now obviously some of the expectations on both charts are just silly, and part of the reason that the Wife’s Chart seem even sillier is that a woman’s place in society has changed far more than a man’s during the last 70 years.

But it’s also indicative of a new double standard that has emerged in our modern age. Women are still free to flog men for their shortcomings and expect a lot from them, but if a man has any expectations for women, the conversation is bound to go something like this [and they have a cartoon here about how a man saying he likes a woman that can cook is sexist.)

I don’t think this is true, at all.  There is so much generalization in this blog post that any legitimate point they were trying to make goes out the window.  For example, I could say the same thing, that men are free to flog women for shortcomings but continue to be Man Children and not live up to their responsibilities, and it would carry the same weight because I don’t have any statistics to back it up.

There, are, however, a multitude of expectations of women in today’s society that are even more than those 1950s era values that the post, however cautiously, seems to be extolling.  Here are the things that were expected of women in the 1950s in Western Countries, particularly the United States, in a list:

as evidenced by this clip (not visible outside the United States, I think), which talks about how women were encouraged through society-a similar YouTube clip echoes the idea, as does this one.

Today, women are expected by society and economic circumstances (as well as their own volition) to do the above, plus work 8-hour days because one salary is in most cases simply not enough with rising inflation, as well as rising costs for anything related to children.  This means that a woman is now doing double-duty: she is both taking care of the household (still, for the most part, a woman’s role) and taking care of the kids about 70% of the time, as well as preparing meals, etc. I would say most families I knew growing up functioned in this way.  Of course, the father is involved, too, but we are nowhere near equal levels of participation.

Amidst all this, when does she have time to be feminine in the way The Art of Manliness defines being feminine, which is continuing to look polished and being feminine (whatever that may mean) and cooking and taking care of the kids all while letting the man do his own “manly” role, however that may be defined.

I don’t have an issue with men doing man stuff.   In fact, as feminist as I am, coming from a Russian cultural background and having my dad fix everything we’ve ever owned just by reading a manual, predisposes me to certain stereotypes of what men should and shouldn’t be doing.  Men should know how to fix everything, take care of cars, and protect the house.  Women should cook, constantly be cooking for men, eat last, and be lady-like and soft, which includes knowing how to dress, AND on top of this be expected to raise kids and have a career.  And, as progressive as Mr. B and I both are, I am frequently surprised to see us taking on these gender roles without any conscious effort.

I don’t have a problem with some form of gender roles. They make a marriage easier.  I do have a problem with men expecting more of women than they do of themselves and particularly not taking into consideration the fact that women now have a double burden (sometimes by choice, sometimes not out of finances,) and about defining femininity in arbitrary terms.  Equality is all about constantly analyzing what works for you and what doesn’t.  Not about some checklist of what being feminine means to your man.

Related on the blog:

](https://vkblog.github.io/2010/01/04/is-it-feminism-to-pose-naked-with-a-challah/)

The first Nobel Prize in economics awarded to a woman

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