Undated: Housewife syndrome

Three years before Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique," the major media are busy reporting on the disenchanted American housewife, particularly those who are well-educated and/or living in the suburbs. The traits -- frustration, exhaustion, emptiness -- are collectively called "housewife syndrome."

On weekday afternoons, NBC broadcasts the "Purex Special for Women," dramatizing such topics as "The Cold Woman" (frigidity), "The Trapped Housewife," "The Single Woman," "The Problems of the Working Mother," "The Glamour Trap" and "Change of Life."

From The New York Times: "Many young women -- certainly not all -- whose education plunged them into a world of ideas feel stifled in their homes. They finish their routine lives out of joint with their training. Like shut-ins, they feel left out. ... No one, it seems, is appreciative, least of all herself, of the kind of person she becomes in the process of turning from poetess to shrew."

From Newsweek: "A good education, it seems, has given this paragon among women an understanding of the value of everything except her own worth."

Even the Journal of the American Medical Association takes note; this synopsis of "Change of Life" appeared in its TV listings: "The worries which beset women at this point in their lives -- fear of mental illness, loss of attractiveness, loss of husband's love, loss of usefulness to children -- form the focal point of the program. The necessity of a change of attitudes and values is stressed so that the menopause may be faced with confidence and serenity."

* "The Roots of Home" (Time magazine, 1960): @
* "Tiddely-Pom" (Time, 1962): @
* "The Intelligent-Housewife Syndrome": @

1 comment:

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