I Found A Weird Old Book on Vacation! Enjoy this Vision of 1933 Womanhood!

There is a tiny bit of this post that is India related, but mostly it’s just Weird Old America related. Enjoy!

So I’m on vacation in California and we are in a tiny tourist town and I stop by the library (as you do when on vacation, duh) and check out the book sale shelf. And find a TREASURE! A cookbook from 1933 written by a radio personality who gave advice for homemakers. The recipes are a kick, but what is really mindblowing are the “editorials”.

So this woman was married, widowed, remarried, started writing a newspaper column, was offered a radio show, moved to New York City, became nationally famous and successful, toured the world, wrote tons of books, and was generally one of the most famous and successful women in America.

And she became a famous successful women by telling women “don’t be famous and successful”. The Cognitive dissonance is INSANE!!! And yet, familiar. Until recently, and still a little bit, every single successful Indian film actress had to sell this idea of “oh gee, the happiest woman is the one who is a traditional wife and mother”. Even though THEY THEMSELVES were pursuing successful careers!!!!! It’s the hypocrisy that burns me up.

And with that, enjoy these lovely poems/editorials giving us all lessons on a woman’s True Happiness:

“The Whole Loaf” about a woman who realizes that her job as a wife and mother is so much better than her burning desire to be an artist:

“Breakfast and Divorce”, you make a bad breakfast, your husband will leave you.

“The Kitchen Clock”, a woman’s happy day spent doing chores until The Man returns:

And the weirdest one, which seems to be suggesting plural marriage? “Martha and Mary”

And finally, in her section on “From Our Foreign Neighbors”, for “Hindu”, a lovely veal curry!

So yeah, that’s 1933 America. Women are being forced back into a tiny little box, no one really knows anything about non-mainstream white cultures nor are they expected to, and “The Man” is capitalized.

25 thoughts on “I Found A Weird Old Book on Vacation! Enjoy this Vision of 1933 Womanhood!

  1. Pingback: I Found A Weird Old Book on Vacation! Enjoy this Vision of 1933 Womanhood! - Zeerangi Entertainment

  2. This is so funny! Esp when I contrast it with another book from the 1930s, called “How to Live Alone and Like It”. Is it all about how you can get a man even if you live alone? Yes. But is it also about all those amazing things you can get and be when you live alone? Also Yes!

    “She had the Whole Loaf.” *snorts*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is an awesome find! I try to force myself to think nice things about people because it makes me happier. So my nice thought, especially shown in The Whole Loaf, is that the author is really trying to convince HERSELF that the baby is enough for the woman. And based on the poem, I don’t think she succeeded. Additionally in her divorce poem, she actually seems sympathetic to the woman.

    When I try to manipulate people I find it is most effective if instead of ME telling them a solution, I hint at it so that they come up with it themselves, and are then so much more motivated to implement it. It is manipulation, but it isn’t evil.

    I almost feel like the author’s personal angst seeps into her poems, and despite their words, she has manipulated the reader into feeling their hollowness. She’s almost highlighting her own hypocrisy.

    And while there are community repercussions with our current reality of two working parents – looking at how it was, thinking how divorce really did lead to total disaster, seeing how hard women tried to avoid divorce, with curled hair and timely meals, and also knowing what I know of humanity and thinking how little those things mattered in the divorces I am close to, well gosh, God Bless 2022! I’m a terrible house wife, best to be terrible now and not 7 decades past!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wait, does this mean you don’t call your husband The Man?

      Speaking of convincing, there’s another poem called Company in which a little girl learns “helping is more fun than play”.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. To the divorcing husband I say, good riddance. He has a sick child but blames his wife (who doesn’t even get an allowance) for a less than perfect breakfast. And then he has the gall to blame her for his missed promotion?! And that’s at a time when there was a lot more manual work in housekeeping than today – when housewife and mother is still more than a full-time job. I guess this just makes me appreciate what a great catch my wife is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maybe it is just me, but when I just read the poems with any context on the author, I took it as extreme sarcasm and/or satire (is that the right word here?) in pointing the society’s ridiculous views of what women are supposed to feel and what is expected of them. To me, this was a way to show a mirror to the misogyny in the world, which I think could be really poignant in a cookbook.

    However, reading your description of the author, it sounds like maybe it is just me just viewing this from by 2022 lens.

    Like

  6. Somehow I’m more amazed this poetry would contribute to making her a nationally famous writer? Same era as Dorothy Parker but DP was so much sharper and more fun.

    Mary and Martha: we’re still making our way through The Handmaid’s Tale (polyamory but not in a nice way), there is a biblical context.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_at_the_home_of_Martha_and_Mary
    The author seems partial to Martha, who cooks and talks cheerfully, over silent Mary. In the bible story, Martha complains of having to do all the work. The working mother shows through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • But did Dorothy Parker teach us how to be Happy Homemakers? NO! She taught us how to be bitter and suicidal, not very radio show friendly 🙂

      Like

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