Tuesday, December 12, 2017

They Don't Make Them Like That Any More

Many modern men habitually complain about modern women: they are all lazy and entitled, lousy wives, bad mothers and homemakers etc etc. Yes, we modern women often fall short of the traditional Western ideal. What about men though?

According to this article, in the times when most women were successful and industrious homemakers, in the United States the work-week around the year 1900 was typically 60 hours. Men were frequently engaged in occupation and trade from Monday to Saturday so they could put food on the table and keep their family warm and free from the cares of the harsh world.

An average working week for many men nowadays is 40 hours, and in many European countries, even less. So if many modern women are lousy homemakers, many modern men are lousy providers. Since most married women in my country typically work between 12-20 hours, if the men went back to longer working weeks, their wives could stay home and engage in all things domestic, don't you think?

Of course, I do believe that even with shorter working hours for men, it's still possible to live on one income if you are prepared to be frugal. For instance, many newly pregnant ladies buy new prams which can cost anywhere from 800 to 1500 euros while it's possible to buy a second-hand pram online for 15. Yes, 15, and it was in a good condition, too!

While I don't agree that the meaning of Proverbs 31 is to command all wives to have a side business and earn extra money, I absolutely believe that the wife should be a good financial manager and spend the money wisely. A penny saved is a penny earned, after all, and efficiency in running a household is important.

Again, some folks (especially some men, I should say) claim to be traditional but are really confused about the role of a housewife in modern society. One issue which always pops up is that since we have a vacuum-cleaner and other domestic appliances, there is no housework left to do any more. The reality is that all these devices create more work simply by virtue of existence:

The introduction of electric appliances in the home sometimes had unexpected results. Electric clothes washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and other appliances could make housework more efficient, but they also raised the minimum standard of household cleanliness. Women who had previously cleaned carpets once every season were now expected to keep them spotlessly clean all the time with vacuum cleaners. Ironically, the overall result of laborsaving electrical appliances was often more work for women. 

There is enough work to do at home, and having one person fully in charge of all domestic affairs is more efficient and practical than most other arrangements, after all, the reason behind modern specialisation is the fact that it works.

While men probably have some reasons to complain, the truth is that theirs is the leading role. If the husband is a good provider, there is a good chance his wife will naturally become a good homemaker, after all, as some vintage lady author wrote, homemaking is in women's blood.


  1. People also do SO much more laundry than they used to. One reason is that synthetic fibres start to stink if you do not wash them all the time and also the cut of clothes has changed. Blouses and shirts are really thight around the upper arm and armpit (I hate that), hence they get smelly more rapidly.

    But I must admit that many women are really louzy housekeepers. I know women who cannot really cook. In some slightly feminist lightweight novels (from 70's, 80's 90's) the heroine is often displayed unable to cook. And somehow that is not bad at all. Somehow it just proves that she is feminist and has a career. In more modern novels that isn't made clear, propably it is nowadays obvious that women making career cannot cook. Or wont.

    I have never understood that. I mean no matter how career -oriented one is, one has to eat. And one cannot eat outside every night. So are women just supposed to starve themselves in order to please men or what?

  2. People used to starch bedsheets so that the dirt didn't cling to them and washed them only about once in 2-3 weeks, now they recommend doing it once or twice a week. Not that many people (women) do it nowadays, because I absolutely agree that many are lousy housekeepers and the big reasons behind it are entitlement and laziness. As for cooking, don't let me started, apparently eating well is patriarchal oppression, much better to never cook, eat junk and die from obesity and diabetes type 2. That'll show them!

  3. I agree completely! Having a housewife more often at home also allows things to be prepared on time for the husband to get home so when he does finish work- it's finished. No more doing this at home or doing that, it's all done and basically it's just time for relaxing and fun.

    People just don't know what that's like anymore. They're constantly 'working' even at home when the chores are split between two busy people outside of traditional work hours. It sucks the quality time out of life.

    (By the way, I'm back! :) )