In the 1950s, the expectation of heterosexual marriage was that the man would be the breadwinner and the woman would keep house. Divorce was extremely taboo and a woman working was considered a shame upon the household. A lot has changed since then.
The women’s liberation movement for one! Ladies burned their bras and got out of the kitchen. It’s also gotten a lot harder for households to run smoothly on just one income. Few people can afford to have one person stay home just to cook dinner and make the beds.
Unless you are Katrina Holte, a woman breathlessly profiled in the New York Post for her decision to stay home like a “1950s housewife.”
Holte remodeled her home in Oregon to look like it’s from another era. She makes all her owns clothes using vintage patterns and basically pretends she’s traveling back in time in her own home.
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A new article is up on my blog! ? "In Defense of the 1950s Housewife" is a subject I've been mulling over for several months, and after substantial research from rare books, magazines, and published statistics, I've written a unique perspective on life for the 1950s woman vs. life for the 21st century woman. I hope you find it interesting, and I'd love to hear your thoughts! (Link in profile – edelweisspatterns.com/blog) #1950s #housewife #homemaker #retro #vintagehousewife #retrohousewife #donnareed #lucilleball #vintagestyle #1950sdress
“I feel like I’m living how I always wanted to. It’s my dream life and my husband shares my vision,” she says. “It is a lot of work. I do tons of dishes, laundry and ironing, but I love it and it’s helping to take care of my husband and that makes me really happy.”
Okay. Cool. It’s a bit confusing because it seems like Holte does still sell some of the clothes she makes online, so she is bringing in some income. House-wifing is more of a state of mind, it seems.
“When I look at everything that is happening in the world now, I feel like I belong in a nicer, more old-fashioned time,” she says. “I agree with old-fashioned values, like being a housewife, taking care of your family, nurturing the people in it and keeping your house in excellent condition, so everyone feels relaxed.”
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I wore one of my favorite 1950s dresses today on this very hot Saturday in Portland! ?We got stopped constantly to be asked why were so dressed up. I had to honestly say, "Um, I dress like this every day." ? #1950sfashion #1950sdress #retrostyle #vintagedress #retrocouple #thenorthwestiswaytoocasual
Oh, I see, so she’s like a Trump supporter with more style. All right, whatever, different strokes for different folks. But because Holte is making a big deal about her decision on a public forum, people have public opinions about it:
woman quits job to cook meals made entirely out of gelatin and smoke cigarettes inside the house all day long https://t.co/IjFKHL9sBS
— sloane (sipihkopiyesis) (@cottoncandaddy) October 1, 2019
Man quits job to die in Korea like a 1950s husband https://t.co/VrGU6WjN5N
— Randall Otis (@RandallOtisTV) September 30, 2019
So, like… is he doing his part too and also providing the MASSIVE amount of financial stability/security that was both expected and normal of middle-class men in that era? Or he just a "now" guy and she's still Donna Reed? https://t.co/QMPS3fpi6l
— Bob Chipman (@the_moviebob) October 1, 2019
I too would love to chain smoke and pop Quaaludes all day instead of slaving away at my job and yet here we are https://t.co/LHxOaexpTI
— Sophie (@jil_slander) October 2, 2019
Woman likes to be alone, marries man who works all day. https://t.co/vkzKSkR5yr
— Laurie "Philly Helium Oct 3-5" Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) October 1, 2019
Other people think mocking Holte is disrespectful. Isn’t feminism about allowing women to make their own choices?
Look at all the self-proclaimed “feminists” hating on this woman for doing what makes her happy, awful.
She can do what she wants, and if it makes both of them happy then why not? None of your business. https://t.co/EayuDysqJQ
— ? Lilith Lovett? (@LilithLovett) October 2, 2019
If she likes/enjoys it and wants to do it then she has ever right. Stop talking shit when yall don't know nothing https://t.co/FCQXmi6xYZ
— Noura , VICTOBER? 강승식 (@Seungsikie_) October 2, 2019
This is a truly disturbing case that requires an emergency intervention from intersectional feminists.
Until women start making the correct life decisions they’ll never be free and independent. https://t.co/m3HrS5a0Yt
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 1, 2019
My suspicion is that Holte actually very much wants to work—as an influencer who writes blogs and sells clothes online for other women nostalgic for a “simpler time.” Despite how times have changed, there are a lot of women out there still keeping house while their husband works, and they’re not having articles written about them. You only do that when you want to turn being a housewife into a career.