Though I didn't spend much time behind computer last week and couldn't bother to write something long and sophisticated, I did read some discussions. One of them was on an American twitter feed which is also regularly visited by my countrymen. It was in Dutch and the topic was whether women would be happier as housewives. They finally agreed that it was probably so, but "impossible nowadays because we are oh so poor compared to the 1930s and 50s, when it was the norm."
This statement is one I come across regularly on Dutch right-leaning resources. Is there any truth to it, though?
So how did people live in those times? We can find out simply by a) talking to the older people; b) reading books, magazines and watching TV programs from that period. For instance, my husband's paternal grandparents rented (not owned) a 2 bedroom apartment their whole life though his Grandfather had a very decent job. Their two children (they had more but they died in infancy) of different sexes shared the same bedroom. They didn't go on luxury vacations, either (needless to say, Granny was a homemaker. Long after the children left the house.) You get my point?
Some years ago there was an American lady who ran a blog about her life as a child in New York City, in the years 1950s and 1960s (she was later forced off the internet by tolerant progressives). She mentioned, among other things, that in order to reduce their water bills, they didn't flush their toilets quite as often (usually mostly for number two if you know what I mean). Again, no vacations, either. BTW, the new consumerist trick promoted in my country is the idea that your children won't develop properly if they don't regularly go on vacation in far-away countries ( I shudder to think how our ancestors survived without flying 3 times a year to some hot place/ski resort. Theirs was a tough life!)
Enter Miss Silver stories, describing life in rural England in the 1950s. Wealthier people go on vacation to the sea-side, in their own country. (Children used to be sent to the village to visit Granny during summer vacations too, in those times). Most women, even childless, don't work when married. A one couple like this the book describes lets one of their rooms (most single men of modest means didn't own or rent a house, they rented a room (and here you can still see it shown in the TV programs till the 1980s) and they have a couch in their living-room which the wife bought with her own earnings before she got married, 30 years ago!
(And not to forget, that in the beginning of I Love Lucy Lucy and her husband rented a 1 bedroom apartment and in Honeymooners the working class couple rented a 1 room apartment where their kitchen functioned as a living-room).
The only entertainment of the lower classes in these times was going to the cinema on Friday night, by bus, as most people didn't own a car.
What I'm trying to demonstrate is that folks in these times weren't wealthier at all, their demands and their level of consumption were lower, except for the very rich. While Western governments constantly
Which way Western (wo)man? You choose. Just remember that you have a choice!