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feminism life before feminism marriage strike misogyny MRA

Life Before Feminism: Playing "Old Maid"

Damn her and her high IQ!

Sometimes it’s useful to remember just what the early second wave feminists were reacting against. Here, from a comic circa 1970 (judging from the clothing) is a sort of double-whammy of misogyny: hide your smarts, girls, or you’ll end up a wizened old maid at the ripe old age of … twenty?

The MRAs today who prattle on about how declining marriage rates mean that men are wising-up to the evils of feminism need to remind themselves that delaying marriage is a good thing for both men and women (the earlier the marriage, the greater the likelihood of divorce; the later the marriage, the more time for men and women to get decent education, start a career, mature a bit, etc etc). In the fifties, obviously, the pressure for women (and to a lesser degree, men) to marry very young was immense. This comic suggests that these pressures didn’t vanish with the coming of the sixties counterculture or even with the first stirrings of second wave feminism.

Comic from Comically Vintage.

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kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

Nice try, David, but we ALL know that the 50s and 60s were the golden age of humanity, where devoted women loyally stayed in their house while their men worked diligently to provide them with vacuum cleaners. The fact that the girl with blonde hair is outside with her boyfriend is obviously the insidious plot of feminism; she must be some gold-digging alpha out to hook herself a jock.

PosterformerlyknownasElizabeth

Wow, you nailed every illogical thing that the MRAs say with two sentences…Kirby wins the internet!

zombie rotten mcdonald
10 years ago

well, Poor Norma is also a ginger, so that’s another strike against her.

Amused
Amused
10 years ago

It’s amazing that these attitudes are still widespread in certain parts of the industrialized world. A few weeks ago, I was watching Russian television that had a documentary on about a figure-skating coach. In fact, it was mostly a two-hour opinion piece on what women supposedly owe men. Years ago, as a figure skater, the subject of the documentary married his partner, but as it happened (complicated facts), she went on to have an illustrious career, while his own declined. Eventually they divorced. Both he and his wife were very cagey about the reasons, but agreed that there came a point at which the wife was no longer his “naive little girl”, but a mature, renowned, financially independent woman, and he couldn’t have that. It made him feel un-needed and insecure. A few years later, he married again — another figure skater, who immediately gave up her career. And it’s not like she gave it up because, say, she had a kid. She gave it up to be a full-time wife. What does she do all day long? Catalog and systematize his pictures, his awards, his clothes, his papers; cook; look pretty; flatter; give interviews about how the world revolves around him.

At one point, the current wife said: “I see nothing humiliating in giving up a little for a man. A man needs a woman who depends on him. That way he knows the marriage is a priority to her. I devote 100% of my time to my husband, and he is happy with that.” This was a voice-over to a video of the new wife skiing with him and being comically clumsy. He repeatedly referred to her as “his little girl”. There is nothing controversial about this. In the Russian society, even today, in the second decade of the 21st century, many people believe that a woman should flush 20 years of hard work down the toilet and make herself completely helpless and utterly dependent on the husband as a way of demonstrating her commitment. Plus, she must play a stupid, incompetent little girl and hide her intelligence lest she inadvertently betray the fact that she has knowledge or opinions that he did not give her or that she knows more about something than he does. This is called “giving up a little for a man”. (Of course, that act becomes harder and harder to pull off as the woman ages. Child-like naivete may be charming to some men in a 23-year-old. But in a woman of 40? And by then, she’s a 40-year-old housewife with no job, career or skills, married to a man who needs a “little girl”.)

I was watching this and the same thought was going through my head over and over: Thank GOD I don’t live there anymore.

ithiliana
10 years ago

It’s not just back then in the U.S.: the rural area of Texas where I work is in a timewarp. There’s huge pressure on girls to get married right after, if not before, they graduate from high school (IF they graduate)–otherwise they are old maids.

As a result, a whole lot of my students are in their early twenties, divorced, with several children.

Because, oh, yeah, Texas! Abstinence only! Highest rate of teen age pregnancy and I gather, repeat teen age pregnancy in the country.

Pecunium
10 years ago

The funny thing is, this set of attitudes is a relatively new thing. Prior to the industrialising of the west, waiting to get married until the man was stable was typical. Elizabethan men, as an example, didn’t marry until they were in their mid-late twenties. Their wives tended to be in their middle twenties.

They had to establish themselves, or the marriage wasn’t going to happen. Our fascination with the “movers and shakers” of the upper classes, who were already stable, and looking to keep it that way (by getting children married off and so blending fortunes/political power) skews how we see things, and makes really young marriages look to be the norm.

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
10 years ago

My mom insisted that my dad marry her before her birthday, because she couldn’t face the shame of having to go through life telling people that no one would marry her until she was twenty. By that time, some of her friends had already married, spawned and divorced.

Mormon culture is another one that encourages early marriage, though, since the men are supposed to go on missions that they’re not released from until they’re 21, there’s less emphasis on marrying right out of high school.

I bet Norma has had a satisfying career and ended up marrying a guy who had a thing for intelligent women.

Amnesia
Amnesia
10 years ago

Yeah, just watch, those two will be delivering pizza to Norma’s highly successful business one day.

tofu nutloaf
tofu nutloaf
10 years ago

My mom was (at 25) the oldest person in the maternity ward when my oldest brother was born in 1959. She’s always thought that was weird.

Clearly she didn’t get the memo on the getting married super young thing.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

What’s the point of having kids so young if its gonna be hell to try and raise them? Why not secure yourself then raise a few mini-yous, free to corrupt at your leisure? We don’t live in a world where you’re not gonna live past 50, nor one where most babies die during childbirth. There is no reason to have babies quickly, its why modernity is so much better.

ozymandias
10 years ago

It’s kind of scary to imagine getting tons of social pressure to marry my current boyfriend. I mean, I love him, but I’m leery of the concept of rooming together, much less getting married.

Also, getting married under age 23 greatly increases your chances of divorce. Support marriage: get married at 30.

tawaen
tawaen
10 years ago

Yeah, because men just hate smart women. They never get turned on by confidence and competence. Everyone knows they want something with only slightly more sentience than a gym sock to deposit their junk into.

*eyeroll*

That’s why Cleopatra and Catherine the Great could never get laid, they didn’t giggle enough.

Spearhafoc
10 years ago

No man – I repeat No Man – is attracted to brainy redheads. It’s just unheard of.

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

Well the math is pretty simple really. If for every generation, (20 years) you go back in time and the divorce rate was lower along with the average age, than of course marriage at a younger are is more stable. Maybe you self proclaimed geniuses should lay off the Shakespeare, Homer and womens book clubs and try a little math. 1 plus 1 still = 2 even these days.

Marriage and fidelity to that union was always the bedrock of any flourishing society. The only reason for the slight drop off of divorce lately is because of the plunging marriage rate. Western society is in it’s death throes. Any where you go in this country the place with the highest divorce/lowest marriage rate will always be a ghetto.

amandajane5
amandajane5
10 years ago

Okay, Mr. Slave, so tell me all about your marriage.

What’s that? Don’t have one? Color me surprised!

And no, I din’t personally get married until I was 32. How dare I!

Spearhafoc
10 years ago

Well the math is pretty simple really.

That’s just lovely, NWOslave.

Have you read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

The book, television show, and radio show are much better than the movie. Highly recommended for sci-fi fans.

Kes
Kes
10 years ago

It’s pretty easy to have stable marriages if life expectancy was 40.

Why do are all those fairy-tales populated with evil step-mothers? Because wife #1 died in childbirth.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago
kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

In case it wasn’t clear, There is a clear trend of lower divorce rates for people who marry later in life. No messing around with “oh, it was this way 50 years ago, so projecting from then it should be this now.” Cold, hard data. Hurts, don’t it?

Lady Victoria von Syrus
Lady Victoria von Syrus
10 years ago

The divorce rate was also lower in generations past because a) it was harder to get a divorce, so many couples had to resign themselves to living a life of quiet misery; and, b) many women could not survive financially, as they had never been trained or expected to pursue a career. And, as was stated above, life expectancy was quite low, so odds were decent either you or your spouse would die before the seven year itch set in.

What do you think is better for society: a tendency to marry late, with a 50% chance of divorcing, but the people generally end up happier overall; or a society where most of the people are married, but about half are miserable and feel trapped in their marriages?

Frankly, I’m voting for a society made of happy people, no matter what it looks like.

Shaenon
10 years ago

But the divorce rate doesn’t get steadily lower with each generation as you go back in time. There was no point in history where 100% of marriages lasted for life. There were, however, many points in history where most people never got formally married, and there are cultures around the world where divorce has been common for centuries.

The current divorce rate in the U.S. has remained about the same since the early 1980s. That’s a couple of generations right there where the divorce rate didn’t go up. Your trend only holds from about 1960 to 1983, when there were specific causes for the skyrocketing divorce rate: feminism, yes, in that women felt more free to leave bad marriages, but divorce laws themselves also changed.

You’re operating by Disco Stu logic: “Did you know that disco record sales were up 400% for the year ending 1976? If these trends continue…AAY!”

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

hum, and this kinda adds icing to the cake (sorta):

http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/marriage/tab3.2.asp

In short, for 2009, the rate of marriage for 25-34 is higher than that of 20-24 (for males, the reverse for females), and (for males) the divorce rate for 20-24 is higher. It’s kinda interesting that more women get married at a younger age, actually…

NWOslave
NWOslave
10 years ago

Kirbywarp go to any inner city and the dicorce rate is pratically nil. Than again so is the marriage rate. It’s that math thing again. This country is on it’s way to a 0% divorce rate that’ll go hand in hand with the marriage rate of 0%.

I mean if you read my post you’d have seen it said…”The only reason for the slight drop off of divorce lately is because of the plunging marriage rate.” More math less beer might help ya.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
10 years ago

crap.. only just realized that was for michigan… and its difficult to find the same sort of table for total US marriages… perhaps someone else’s google fu is stronger than mine?

Shaenon
10 years ago

I know I should stop reading The Spearhead for extra guffaws, but I did enjoy the recent guest editorial “A Tale of Two Skanks” (don’t they come up with the most charming titles? But they don’t hate women!), in which the writer uses his two brothers’ romantic woes as an illustration of the dangers of “wayward women.”

As far as I can make out from his rambling description, the writer’s older brother is an unemployed pot dealer whose girlfriend works three jobs to support them; his younger brother is a born-again Christian married to a teenage high-school dropout. Shockingly enough, these relationships have recently ended. In the writer’s opinion, the breakups are entirely the women’s fault for not being “appreciative” (of what, it’s not explained). Meanwhile, you’d think the two guys would be thrilled to be free from the unrelenting horror that is close contact with a woman, but no! They kind of miss their exes! And have even talked about getting back together with them! What witchcraft is this?

How, you’re surely asking by now, is feminism to blame? First, if it weren’t for feminism, women would be so grateful to have a man that they’d wait on him hand and foot, so there’d be no problems. Second, in a properly patriarchal society, men wouldn’t be allowed to date without their fathers’ permission, so these doomed relationships would never have happened. Alas, the writer’s father is sadly lacking as a patriarch, as he himself is under the spell of a “crazy bitch.” Damn those women!

And how did that marriage fail? She’s 19 with no education or job prospects! As NWO just explained, that’s the formula for marital stability!

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