The warped world of 1950s marriage counselling

“When I heard about the demise of the Journal, I decided to look at the history of ‘Can This Marriage Be Saved?’. What I found, dipping into the columns published across decades, was the archive of unhappiness that I remembered, full of thrown dishes, turned backs and late-night screaming matches. But I also read a starkly misogynist vision of proper wifeliness that shocked me in its matter-of-factness. We’re used to thinking of the 1950s ‘housewife’ as a vague, happy caricature on gift-shop mugs and postcards – vacuuming in pearls, offering a post-work martini to the returning husband. In its intimate individual details, this advice column resurrects a sharper history, showing the array of cruelties that this kind of marriage could entail, the number of wives who resisted their roles, and the way that mainstream culture tried to put them in their place.”

via The warped world of 1950s marriage counselling – Rebecca Onion – Aeon.

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