I wonder what your mother would say today, as to how much of a free choice the domestic role really was for her in 1967. I think you underestimate the crushing weight of societal pressure. Yes, it was technically possible for a woman to reject the domestic role and do other things. But there was so little support or encouragement to do anything else, and even active discouragement, that it did not seem practically possible to many.
The thing is, we had that conversation a bunch of times. She had what seemed to me to be a really interesting life, but decided that for her, being a full time mom and wife was more fulfilling. Certainly we kids benefited from having her there.
I completely support anyone’s choice to seeks happiness in any way that works for them. I just wish people would acknowledge that one of those choices might be a traditional family structure, with a full-time parent at home. Just as part of a spectrum of valid possibilities.
Also, 1967 was really close to peak “Turn on, tune in, drop out”. I would say that quite a few women chose other, less traditional paths that year.
I don’t know. We all take turns doing the washing up these days. When I was a kid, we all had different chores. I don’t know that I ever felt that the washing up was “women’s work”, as much as I felt it was my older sister’s job, thus not my problem. I have to think my folks probably thought in old-fashioned terms when assigning chores, but maybe not. We probably could have swapped, had it occurred to us to do that. I have never been particularly drawn to the continuous process of cutting, splitting, and stacking wood, which was my responsibility.
my grandma was studying to be a Chemist. Supposedly she inadvertently came across some radioactive samples related to the Manhattan Project-- and was “read in.” But then she met a handsome boy, and became a farmer’s wife. A sharp mind, lost to the world.
She also ran into the problem that her financial assets were entrusted to other men, when she attempted to buy a racehorse.
So why then, are we defending an image that seems to perpetuate traditional roles? If change was present, why not celebrate that in an image that would seemingly court a youthful non-traditional market?
You do realize that 60’s Counter Culture had the same criticisms of systemic sexism as the people here criticizing the sexism of this Battleship advertisement? They didn’t exist because women had plenty of options; they protested that they didn’t. They were rebelling against the strictures you claim didn’t exist. By trotting out Woodstock, you’re undermine your own argument.
I agree that the entire spectrum of choices deserves respect, and is not always respected. When I was growing up, women who worked outside the home were looked down on. Later—in the ‘80s-’90s, I think?—I started noticing that stay-at-home moms were being looked down on for not having careers. It seems that when we celebrate one thing, it’s so easy to ignore or disrespect something else. We definitely need a world where all the choices are considered valid, and where they are all accessible.
My own mother’s experience was the opposite of your mother’s, it seems. My mother really wanted to have a career, but felt pressured to marry and have children instead. When she did return to working outside the home (when the last of us kids was in grade school) she experienced gender and pay discrimination. So those were the stories that I grew up with.
I really appreciate the bbs here, and how much we learn from each other. At the same time, it seems hard to have deep discussions online. I wish we could spend loads of time together face-to-face, and really talk. I would love to be able to sit down with your mother, sit down with you, trade our stories, and learn how it was for you and your family when you were growing up.
I think it’s okay to both acknowledge that the image is horrifically sexist and that is might be an accurate picture of what was going on in plenty of happy households.
There is a difference between box art designed to sell a thing and the lived experiences of individuals. If you took a picture of my current family on a given night you might find me playing a game with the kids while my spouse does some chore, on another night it might go the other way, obviously there’s nothing gendered about equal sharing, but a still image might catch what looks like a very gender-role based moment.
But box art is not a snapshot from real life. Companies invent idealized fictions to sell products. A fast food company doesn’t show you a picture of an average burger from a franchise chosen at random, they create an image of an ideal tasty-looking burger to put on ads. When some advertiser made that image, they chose to put dad and son playing the game. I might even overlook that but then they also chose to put mom and daughter doing chores in the background. They were selling an idea of household harmony that their game fit into. It wasn’t some kind of accident.
Many individuals chose to live like that (I’d note they did so within the context of a sexist society that expected them to behave in a certain way) but that doesn’t mean that advertisers had to present that image. They could have presented many images. The image reflects the sexism of the people who made it, and it reflects the sexism of the society it was born out of. That doesn’t detract from the choices your mother (or my mother, who was also a stay-at-home mom for the first decade of my life; or my spouse’s mother who also stayed at home) made.
Gotta brag about my great grandmother. She raised 7 kids during the Depression after my great grandfather died. She did it by becoming a business woman. Owned a hardware store. Bought and sold houses. Drove a red car when they were all black. Never rich, but considered very successful. It was your comment about about women not being able to get a mortgage in 1967 that reminded me of one story:
I need to learn the exact decade, but well before the 1960’s the congregation she belonged to wanted to build a church. So the elders applied for a loan. The bank said no, but hey, isn’t “Betty” a member? If she signs, just her, then you can have a mortgage. Same happened years later when they went to get another mortgage to expand. “Betty” signed. A few years later, another expansion, the guys were tired of being shown up. So they made a deal with the bank. EVERY elder signed the mortgage.
Yeah, she gave us a distorted perspective on women’s rights. We just assumed they were the same as men’s and women can do whatever they want, so what’s the fuss? We just figured anyone who thought otherwise was a jerk.