Messages to Women in Articles from the 1940s


In the article “Why I Quit Working” by Jennifer Colton the message came out quite clear. She is against working women and believes the true place for women is in the house. In her article she suggests that women will lead more peaceful and prosperous lives if you were not to work. She says all the extra time could be spent doing this at your leisure and your pace versus the pace in the business world. She also states that you would be more relaxed and more in tune with your family, versus “Sunday best.”  She says that women should only work to better their families (husband and children) in the most extreme of occasions and she is happy to have the experience of work only to better appreciate what her husband goes through and to have common chit chat with peers who are working (meaning to be able to have a form of empathy with them). The advice being given is to stay at home if at all means possible and to work on your own schedule and appreciate the home and family life, rather than wander off and go to work, only not being able to go back to a full time motherhood position. The question being raised is whether or not women should work, or better why you should work or look forward to it.

In the Ladies Home Journal, June 1946 edition, the article “Are You Too Educated to be a Mother?”  was about the world becoming more illiterate and uneducated as time goes on due to breeding, and impregnations of illiterate and uneducated people. This actually was very interesting, because it gave some interesting statistics. The journal says an educated woman is “one-third more a child,”  that 80% woman who are educated, or “well-to-do,” used birth control, and 30% of “very poor” used contraceptives. The article also stated that women who left school in fourth grade would have around four children, while highly educated women might not even have one. The message and advice in this passage was that women need to be smarter and go to school and be educated, because the population is having more babies by uneducated people than by educated, which in turn lowers our IQ’s, the way of thinking and progress. The only questions unanswered were women supposed to work after they got an education, or were women just supposed to be smart enough to have completed school to make smart babies?

In the second passage in the Ladies’ Home Journal, 1948  article “Making Marriage Work”, there were some obvious messages. First it has a guideline to make every relationship miraculously work by saying it’s your fault for not doing better. There were hidden messages that if you are unhappy, seek happiness somewhere else, not by leaving your marriage but find busy work to keep your mind off of expressing one’s emotions, such as taking a class. The passage states that if you feel unhappy or lonely you should seek approval from peers and become more active in making people like you. The most outlandish part of the passage was how they glorify marriage and gives the advice that it makes women complete and secure and the ultimate goal all women should be looking for, because women lack the experience, and have led “sheltered lives.” There was also advice on how to set a financial plan so that you are always secure, and happy. The questions being raised  are, “Can I do this? Is there really a set plan or way to make my relationship work? Have I over analyzed something or given up?”

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