Bridging the Communication Gap

We decided the University of Richmond Campus wasn't a large enough bridge.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Bees: What Men Really Want: The True 50's Housewife

By The Radical

I disagree. The Watcher is completely off base on this one. I don't want a mother. I don't want a motherly figure. I want a slave. I want a pet. I want the true essence of the 50's housewife. Fact of the matter is June Cleaver and Amy Winehouse were popping horse tranquilizers at the same rate. The mother only appears motherly because she did as she was told and was so heavily sedated that her only emotional option was enthusiasm. Take note that enthusiasm is not synonymous with happiness. The Watcher indicates that men want some far removed version of that 1950's ideal. I want a modified version of the reality...and sir, you probably do too. Ladies, if you are reading this, take heed.

A Member of the Birds and the Bees' Staff steadily quotes the movie “Labyrinth” (1986), starring David Bowie, in which the antagonist and paramour, Jareth, says to the object of his desire, “Love me, fear me, obey me and I will be your slave!” This is the depiction of what men really want from a woman. Simultaneously, it tells us what men want in a woman as well.

Consider the notion of reciprocity that exists in most relationships. This notion is hardly what it claims to be. What most people consider reciprocity in a relationship is really a bartering system in which the woman gives certain things and the man gives others in the end creating a harmony not created of two separate versions of the same thing melded together, but instead one built of interlocking, but unique pieces that make it a “fair trade.” Thus, every relationship involves a power dynamic. But what this really means is that men like Jareth the Goblin King take the time and energy to create these elaborate labyrinths for women as gifts for which the reciprocal gifts are her love and obedience. He provides, not only so she doesn't have to, but so that she can and must rely on him.

Quite frankly, the 1950's housewife is an appropriate depiction of what men want, but not the ideal prototype which immediately comes to mind. Men want the reality of the 1950's housewife as just that, a housewife, not a mother... unless there are kids, and then it's only so he can continue his life uninterrupted. I have no interest in pausing this DVRed episode of House just to parent some children. “Go ask your mother for some cereal, she should already be in the kitchen.”

The reality of the 1950's housewife is subordination, drug use, and a focus on the man's happiness as the crux of the household's happiness. From these characteristics comes actions that could be interpreted as “ encouraging, comforting, and supportive.” Focusing on the image of the 1950's housewife as a housewife instead of a mother shifts the idea that “a mother understands her son’s ambitions, goals and dreams and inspires him to pursue them” into the necessary treatment of her significant other such that she understands her significant other's ambitions, goals, and is required to inspire him to pursue them as they are directly tied to her quality of life.

The Watcher distinguishes between which motherly characteristics are best exhibited by a girlfriend in three points, but the second and third points are motherly characteristics which he suggests be avoided or mediated. This mediation is unnecessary if the metaphor is applied properly. She is not the 1950's mother to her man; she is his housewife.

Take a look at Rosie Millard's 2008 article in The Sunday Times for a view of the modern woman roleplaying as the 1950's housewife. Aside from the missing horse tranquilizers, Millard provides us with a contemporary example and gives us the space to suggest that this is what men really want. The modern woman more likely than not wants this too, but of her male counterpart.


  1. No. No. No. No. Have you ever stopped to think of who a housewife really is, regardless of era? A housewife is the one that brings in no income and yet will take half. The man has to pander to her needs for fear that his hard earned money will be cyphoned away with a divorce from someone who did not contribute. In the 50s women had to stick with their men as they were expected to do so by much more restrictove societal norms.

    If YOU had the slave wife that you depict here, you would be sick of her. We want what we do not have, not knowing that the other side may, indeed, be a baren wasteland. The subservient woman adds nothing to a man's life, other than passive aggression, and a companion with deep depression and dangerous addictions.

    The ideal you present here is no ideal at all. It is a nightmare.

  2. You are not considering this regardless of era. Only in the modern, particularly Western sense is the housewife allowed to take half. And before that even you are assuming that she leaves the relationship. Although the 50's ideal is a more extreme version than what most men would want due to the contextual facts of our time, the fact is that that reality of subordination is the logical conclusion of men's desire for her to love and obey.

    Along those same lines, you will have to agree with me based on one simple fact, the inherent nature of men to want to provide. Where is the notion of independence in our overwhelming desire to provide for her, our bruised ego's when she is financially superior, etc.

    - The Radical