Women_in_the_1950s_Student_Materials - Document A...

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Document A: Harper’s Magazine, 1953 (Modified) The daily pattern of household life is governed by the husband's commuting schedule. It is entirely a woman's day because virtually every male commutes. Usually the men must leave between 7:00 and 8:00 A.M.; therefore they rise between 6:00 and 7:00 A.M. In most cases the wife rises with her husband, makes his breakfast while he shaves, and has a cup of coffee with him. Then she often returns to bed until the children get up. The husband is not likely to be back before 7:00 or 7:30 P.M. This leaves the woman alone all day to cope with the needs of the children, her house-keeping, and shopping. (Servants, needless to say, are unknown). When the husband returns, he is generally tired, both from his work and his traveling. . . . Often by the time the husband returns the children are ready for bed. Then he and his wife eat their supper and wash the dishes. By 10:00 P.M. most lights are out. For the women this is a long, monotonous (boring) daily [routine]. Generally the men, once home, do not want to leave. They want to "relax" or "improve the property" -putter around the lawn or shrubbery. However, the women want a "change." Thus, groups of women often go to the movies together. Source: Harry Henderson, “The Mass-Produced Suburbs: How People Live in America’s Newest Towns.” Harper’s Magazine, November 1953. Harry Henderson based his observations on extensive visits, observations, and interviews in 1950s suburbs. Women in the 1950s
Document B: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (Modified) The problem . . . was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle

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