Rosie the Riveting Bride

Laurie and Debbie say:

During World War II, the U.S. government and the major media outlets embarked on a concerted plan to convince women to go work in factories, shipyards, and transportation jobs, to become “Rosie the Riveter.” When the war ended, the propaganda machine went to work to convince those same women that they had always wanted to be housewives, and that they would be thrilled to leave their jobs and salaries to return to vacuum cleaners and scrubbing brushes. Most women complied, but a lot of them were extremely unhappy about doing so, and the push-back against a simple stay-at-home wife life for every woman has been going on ever since.

And the powers that be have been trying to control women’s choices ever since.

Some of us are plenty old enough to remember the 1986 “survey” that claimed that an unmarried woman over 40 had a higher chance of being “killed by a terrorist” than of getting married, and the storm of feminist (and other) indignation which it unleashed — especially after any number of scientists demonstrated that the statistics were flawed and the premises were faulty.

Twenty years later, Newsweek, one of the offenders in publicizing the original survey, is “rethinking” its position.

You see, twenty years ago, they were trying to scare us into getting married sooner, because having so many single women getting older scared them. Now, they’re trying to lure us into getting married, because too many women are happily single.

The Newsweek article is downright embarrassing: author Daniel McGinn gives lip service to the belief that some women (and men) may choose to remain single, but he make his doubts clear at every turn. “Not everyone wants to marry, of course. And we’re long past those Jane Austen days when being “marriage-minded” was primarily a female trait; today many men openly hope for a wife just as much as women long for a husband. The good news is that older singles who desire a spouse appear to face far kinder odds nowadays. ”

A woman interviewed in 1986 and since married and widowed says, “I look back on that article and now I really do know what I was missing.” Want to bet that’s the only thing she said in the whole interview that fits McGinn’s point? And of his two “contented singles,” one raised an adopted daughter and one founded a movement to fight against the whitewater accident that took her fiance’s life. Where’s the engineer? The office manager? The doctor? The cosmetologist? The poet? The carpenter?

The same kind of political, social, and financial energy that goes into keeping women obsessive about their weight goes into keeping women obsessed with their marital status. Articles like this are just additional fuel for the “tell women what they want” fire.

(We found this through Jane Ganahl’s excellent, and scathing, commentary piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. )

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