Two interesting articles appeared within a day of each other on the World Wide Web this week. The New York Times reported that over the course of the last 50 years, the number of overweight American women has grown dramatically, the conclusion being that as an increasing number of women leave home to enter the workforce and take on sedentary desk jobs, they neglect household chores which burn loads of calories. The report is being touted as “controversial,” as most studies that say what people don’t want to hear are.
The Telegraph, though, says the 1950s housewife is making a comeback “on catwalks and in popular culture.” For example, viewers find Betty Draper, a main character in AMC’s Mad Men and the quintessential domestic diva (think of an icier June Cleaver, with the same polished, classy look and ladylike lifestyle), to be appealing. She mentions once off the cuff that she has a degree in anthropology from Bryn Mawr, although the focus of much of her at-home discontent is brought about by a distant, deceptive, carousing husband, not the laundry.
Did women in the 1960s rebel against the housewife profession because it was really so awful, or because they wanted to show that they could? Staying at home in your pajamas ‘til noon, vacuuming to your favorite song, planning dinner, and hanging out with kids — isn’t that what most modern people call “Saturday”? Oh, and it’s good for your figure, too.
Yes, the world has benefited greatly from women working outside of the home (take Margaret Thatcher), but we need to lose the stigma that working inside the home is the lamest, least-worthwhile thing a 21st-century woman can do. (Imagine if Michelle Obama had a real job!)