Cavendish, Lucy. "Housewife No Longer A Dirty Word." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 20 Nov. 2005. LexisNexis. McGraw-Page Library, Ashland. 24 Feb. 2006. Keyword: feminism AND housewives.
In this article, Cavendish uses her own experiences and the experiences of the women whom she is closest with to attack the question of the housewife. She begins with an explanation of her mother, a woman who, though a housewife, was also a feminist and taught her daughters that they could do what they wanted. The literature that Cavendish grew up with was works by Germaine Greer, Betty Friedan, Kate Millett, and Simone de Beauvoir. avendish then expostulates that her mother would be shocked at the choice that both Cavendish and her sister have made; to stay at home. Cavendish cites Susan Faludi, saying; "...feminism would start becoming a dirty word, that men would march against women and that women would return, mentally beated and bereaved, back to the hearth and home". Cavendish then poses the same question that her contemporary Darla Shine poses; "Why wasn't being a mom offered to me as a career?" Cavendish claims that her friends all balked when she first got pregnant, again when she moved into the suburbs, and the final straw was the dog. Yet one by one, these friends also became mothers and housewives. Cavendish says, "They all seem happy. They all seem fulfilled. They are intellegent women, and these are the choices they have made." cavendish concludes with a look at the past and a look at the future. She contemplates the correct feminist response to her friends to be, "Why are you calling me with cooking tips? Burn your bra baby!". Yet this was not her response, and in taking a different course of action, she sees that feminism is more than being a working woman. Cavendish concludes with a message to her hypothetical daughters. "...choices are not between a man's world or a woman's world, or between going to work or staying at home, but the chance to do whatever it is they feel they want to do. And if it's a duster that does it for them, hey, so be it".
Cohen, Emily J. "Kitschen witches: Martha Stewart, Gothic Housewife, Corporate CEO." Art Issues Mar.-Apr. 1999. Wilson Web. McGraw-Page Library, Ashland. 24 Feb. 2006. Keyword: Housewife.
In this article, Emily Cohen attempts to paint Martha Stewart in a different light. To begin with Cohen gives a bit more flesh to the figure of Martha Stewart, revealing her background as the granddaughter of Polish immigrants. Once in Westport Connecticut however, Martha became the domestic goddess that the world now sees her as. Westport was, according to Cohen, "A town where people could reinvent themselves (with the help of a decent decorator and a bit of fancy elocution), make a Gatsby out of a Gatz". Cohen says that once Martha went to Westport, her stock market career ended and she became something akin to a Stepford Wife, "maniacally engaged in lawn-mowing, house-painting, and laundry-folding". However, Martha, like all housewives Cohen argues, had many different Martha's to choose from. Cohen alludes to a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mentality, either kindly and fun, or "the evil one". What mainly upsets Americans about Martha Stewart, Cohen asserts, is that she does not fit into categories. "Marth Stewart threatens on all fronts because Americans lack the right tools to come to grips with her. Multiculturalists destest her becase she projects homogenity. Men are terrified that she wears the pants. Some women howl that she hurls them into the Dark Ages. Others merely resent her success. (...) Martha more than earns her keep, proving what feminists of her generation hopes to make acceptable in the culture at large: Housework is indeed real work and should be compensated as such". For Cohen, Martha Stewart is not simply a hausfrau with a television show. Clearly Martha had to use her wits to rise to the top.
Crittenden, Danielle. "Contented Housewives." Sunday Telegraph 30 Oct. 2005. LexisNexis. McGraw-Page Library, Ashland. 24 Feb. 2006. Keyword: Feminism AND Housewives.
Crittenden begins with an anecdote about a friend, a 40 year old housewife whose life has become her 20 year old self's nightmare. This woman left her lucrative career to stay with her children at home. When once a woman leading such a life would have brought scorn down upon herself, this woman is at the cutting edge, a fashion icon, a sex symbol, all because she is a housewife. Crittenden praises Darla Shine's new book, which "gives voice to the secretly growing consensus that being a housewife is a potentially fulfilling and satisfying lifestyle". The ideas about stress that our society has is Crittenden's next topic. Her point is that women of today are hardly as stressed as women who's main concern was not 'Am I being a good mother?', it was that her children didn't die of colds. Instead of telling her children to eat their peas, this mother was telling her children to churn the butter faster. The point here is be thankful for what you have, and though its theme is a nice one, it does not fit well into the article. Crittenden then relates an anecdote about a woman who did not want to become a housewife, but became one anyway, harboring resentment. A cancer scare snapped her out of it and "brought order to the house, a renewed closeness with her two small children, greater intimacy with her husband, and that elusive peace within herself".
"Domestic Bliss!" New Humanist. 24 Feb. 2006 http://newhumanist.org.uk
The article focuses on the feminist and ideas surrounding housewives. An Australian author spoke out in her recent book against the preachings of feminists like Germaine Greer for "elling women that they could have it all and carve out brilliant careers, without ever warning them to listen to their biological clocks". this woman blames her lack of children and her failed relationships with men on the feminists. However, the article then presents some of Germaine Greer's arguments from her book "The Female Eunich" in which she charaterizes her life as a housewife as one of servitude, not unlike a slave. The article next examines the writing of Betty Friedan and her famous "The Feminine Mystique". Friedan argues that all women should develop life plans and "see housework for what it is: work to be done and got out of the way speedily and efficiently, not a career". The article's next point is an interesting one. In essence the argument that it presents is that without housewives, feminism could not exist and vice versa. One feeds the other, and if one falls, the other falls as well. "Far from being something which the feminist subject has to reject in order to achieve a proper subjecthood, the figure of the housewife made the feminist figure possible". However, the article raises the question of the necessity of housewives. This day and age has such concepts as nannies, maids, gardeners, lifestyle managers, social cnsultants, personal shoppers, etc. Not all of these concepts are new, but they do offer an alternative to housewives where funds allow, making the housewife a superfluous relic of the past, and quite unneccessary. The article concludes with a positive outlook. We need a vocabulary that "doed not pose it [feminism] as a choice to be made between two options, work or home, but one that encompasses a diverse spectrum of living".
Gerson, Deborah A. "Is Family Devotion Now Subversive?" Not June Cleaver. Ed. Joanne Meyerowitz. Philidelphia: Temple UP, 1994. 151-176.
The chapter found in the book Not June Cleaver concentrates on one specific group of women in the MaCarthy era who used their power as housewives to help children whose parents had been imprisoned by MaCarthy. The women formed the Families Committee and their purpose was to raise money to help the children of the Smith Act. However, in doing this they placed themselves at risk, eventually being named a Communitst risk. "In 1953 the Families Committee was placed on the attorney general's list of allegedly subversive organizations". The Families Committee was resisting such treatment of children as the FBI deemed necessary to impliment. These measures included harrassing children, preventing them from taking field trips with their classmates, and constant survelence. Since the names and addresses of anyone arrested under the Smith Act appeared in newspapers, these children were also attacked and harrassed outside of their own homes and schools by complete strangers. However, the Families Committee used their lable as mothers and housewives against the FBI's methods.
Hope, Deborah. "Shut Up and Look Pretty." The Australian 12 Nov. 2005. LexisNexis. McGraw-Page Library, Ashland. 24 Feb. 2006. Keyword: Feminism AND Housewives.
In her article, Hope examines a new book which claims feminism to be dead. The book is "Are Men Necessary" by Maurenn Dowd, who claims that "The triumph of Feminism lasted a nanosecond while the backlash has lasted four decades". Maureen Dowd's controversial book has caused a big stir in the feminist community, not to mention among men. her claims are that "Women used to demand equality. Now they demand Botox". Her point is that women have lost sight of what is really important to the feminist movement, using beauty ideals to justify themselves as opposed to the ideals of feminism. She agonizes about the next generation saying, "Nowadays young women want to be 'Mrs. Anonymous Biological Robot in a Docile Mass'. They dream of being rescued; to flirt, to shop, to stay at home and be taken care of. They shop for 'Stepford Fashions' and spend their days in the gym trying for 'Wisteria Lane waistlines'". For Dowd, the new generation has lost the concept of feminism. she claims that Feminism's message was 'don't be a sex object' whereas today's message conversely is 'be a sex object'. Hope then branches into the critics of Dowd book, of which there are many. each has their own spin on Maureen Dowd's version of feminism, but they all boil down to the same message, she is wrong. Men are necessary and women who do what they want to do are celebrating feminism as much, or maybe better, then those who burn their bras. the article concludes with a quote from a conservative man defending feminism, "The sexual confusion that so dismays Dowd is the unexpected consequence of feminism's victory".
Lord, Lewis, Gary Cohen, Brendan I. Koerner, Damon Darlin, Jay Tolson, James Lardner, Linda Kulman, Betsy Streisand, and Amanda Spake. "Overcoming Feminine Bliss." U.S. News & World Report 1999. WilsonWeb. McGraw-Page Library, Ashland. 24 Feb. 2006. Keyword: Feminism AND Housewife.
This article is a retrospective look at the housewife and then at the effects of the second wave of feminism. The article begins with post WWII when Rosie the Riveter takes a back seat to Ozzie's wife Harriet. The whole country was telling women that their place was back in the home, even presidential candidates. "Adlai Stevenson told Smith College's 1955 graduating class to assume 'the humble role of housewife...whether you like the idea or not'". however, by 1960 more and more women were turning to such things as Psychotherapy, tranquilizers and diet pills to "adjust to feminine bliss". However, once Betty Friedan wrote her "Feminine Mystique" more and more women realized that their unhappines was shared by many more women. The article concludes with a short biography of Betty Friedan and her amazement at the difference that she and her book have made in society. "Today at 78, Friedan is amazed that feminism has transformed society so thourougly that young women take for granted that they can do anything".