The return of the 1950s housewife? No thanks.

I was actually going to blog about accessibility this week, but then an article in The Telegraph caught my attention. Well, not so much ‘caught’ as in ‘enraged’ my attention, if such a thing is possible.

The Telegraphs so-called Social Affairs Editor writes that what women want, in the 21st century, is to marry a rich man. Apparently, we want to be financially dependent. We want to be nurtured financially and be the 1950s home maker, while the man in our life goes out to work and earns hard dosh. We certainly don’t want to take high powered jobs. Clearly, women can’t hack responsibility.

What absolute rubbish.

Reading the article, I thought back to that life-changing day, several years ago, when I had agonised for hours over my profile, working out what I wanted in a future partner. Would my ideal partner be a graduate? What would I want my ideal partner to earn? Did I prefer them to have a job or a career? (There is a difference!)

Yes, I wanted them to be of a similar education level as I was (similar start in life and all that jazz) and yes, I wanted them to have a good career, but did I want them to earn more than me? Did I want them to be ultimately more successful than me? NO. I wanted to be on an equal footing. I wanted to find an equally ambitious partner, not someone who I would be financially dependent on.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that I, in my entirety is a true representation of women throughout the UK, but I would be surprised if my wants and needs in a partner are radically different to that of the next woman.

When I’ve been between jobs, I’ve hated being financially dependent on my other half. I’ve hated feeling that my success has reached minus 100 on the career success ladder. My perception (rightly or wrongly) saw the equality balance in our relationship tip dramatically away from me when I was not earning. I could not imagine ever wanting to be financially dependent, let alone, activelychoosing to be.

So a modest three years into our relationship, I continue to feel very happy with my choice of partner (let’s hope he does too!) and I’ve never thought ‘cor, I wish he was wealthier, then I wouldn’t have to work!’

Maybe it is restricted to the social circles that I move in (although I doubt it), but I know very few women who actually dream of wanting to be financially dependent on their partners.

It is a common fantasy of many women to want to marry a rich man. But this is not quite the same as actually marrying someone whose wealth and career success makes the partner feel as confident as a dying flea.

I know of many women who have happily married men who happen to earn more. That’s not quite the same thing. The difference between such a situation and what the Telegraph article asserts is that women consciously prefer to marry a wealthy man in order for them to be financially reliant on them, so they don’t need to either work, or aim so high in their career.

Yet, if The Telegraph is right (and I’ll explain why I do not believe it in a moment), and if this is the way society is going, then women have taken a huge u-turn in equality and are spitting in the faces of the suffragettes who worked so hard to be taken seriously by men.

Luckily, I can quite easily rubbish this article by a few simple comments:

The article is founded on research carried out by the Centre for Policy Studiesthat was largely supported by Margaret Thatcher. A quick flick through the CPS website tells us all that we need to know: its aim is to ‘limit the role of the state’ (i.e privatise everything. Goodbye NHS) and places big importance on families. And rest assured, their idea of ‘family’ is not the progressive one which might consist of a single mother, or a single father for that matter, or, shock horror, same sex couples. No, their perfect family ideal is the father that goes out to work, and the mother that stays at home nursing babies.

So it’s rather convenient, that this study they have released ‘supports’ their mission –  nothing but underhand propaganda intended to infiltrate onto the unsuspecting public the idea of the ‘perfect family’ which inevitably includes the 1950s housewife.

Article author, Tim Ross asserts: “The report said that the “war” for equal opportunities between men and women was now over in the UK…Women do now have an equal opportunity to find work, but choose different priorities for their lives.”

Oh no, Tim. The war for equal opportunities is only just beginning.


Feminism, Human rights