Thursday, October 04, 2012

History of the Housewife

I'm reading a fascinating book: INSIDE STORIES by Frances Walsh. It's a non-fiction account of the housewife's role in New Zealand from 1895 till 1975. (In 1975, it became fashionable not to be a housewife, or at least not to admit to being one.)

What struck me was how different women's magazines were back then: real articles about real issues (including World War 2), loads of advice from how to clean a water stain off a table to dating tips, and almost no celebrities! (When they did interview celebrities, they asked for household tips. Now that's putting Ms Jolie in her place!)

The book made me think about the lives our grandmothers led. The things they thought about before they closed their eyes at night. Their daily chores.

What modern invention reduced the workload of the housewife? I posed this question on my Facebook page, and the answers varied from plumbing to the pill.

For me personally, it's probably the supermarket. I struggle to find time to make bread at home - imagine having to kill and pluck your own chicken!


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