Your 'success in' life is dependant on two things: how well you do at your mind-numbing, soul-crushing 9-5 job, and how many children you have.
Everybody knows you're not smart or strong enough to enter the workforce. But that's ok! As long as your house is clean, your children are well-dressed, you're always smiling and made-up, you'll be considered a good woman.
The 1950s had rigid gender roles. A man's life was gruelling and at times unfulfilling, to be sure, but that isn't the point of this post. All the ideas of 'women belong in the kitchen' come from the 50s. These ideas stem from a few main, socially accepted notions of that era:
- Women are not smart enough to enter the workforce.
- Women are not strong enough to enter the workforce.
- Women's only talents lie in cooking, cleaning, and raising children.
- A woman's sole satisfaction and accomplishments lie in how well she does the above, and how happy she makes her husband.
- Women's magazines in the 1950s encouraged women to "plan ahead even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time, for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs." To be "a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it". "Remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours". "Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you." "Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will allways exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. you have no right to question him."
Welcome back to 2010. Women can vote, work, and be educated. Sure, we're still socially and economically penalised if we want to have children AND a career. We're still paid less for doing the same work a man does. We're still called sluts, cunts, and bitches for doing the same things - sleeping around and being ambitious - that men do. We're still raped, assaulted, prostituted, enslaved and murdered every day in our hundreds, nay, thousands, accross the globe.
This is why I do not find 'women belong in the kitchen' jokes even a little bit funny. The mentality that they stem from has three main tenants:
- Women don't 'belong' in the work force
- Women who choose not to have children have something 'wrong' with them
- Women are intellectually, physically and socially inferior to men
Hello, glass ceiling. Still there? Yeah, I can see that.