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We say ‘vintage sexist dating advice’ because a lot has changed over the last six or seven decades. We don’t experience an overload of advice that objectifies women and presents them as less significant, intelligent or capable than men. In fact, there are very few women who are referred to as ‘house wives’ these days because most women work and earn just as much, if not more than their partners. In many respects, the relationship dynamic in a relationship has changed. There are stay at home dads, who cook, clean and raise the children. There are couples who split a bunch of the daily housework and tend to reject traditional gender roles, whether on purpose on accident. But we can't value where we are if we don't look at where we've been, starting with vintage sexist dating advice.
Dust Your Way to Beautiful
We’ve all heard the saying: A woman’s place is in the kitchen; but do we realize that not too long ago, this was the reality for most women? There were vitamin advertisements that said: The harder a wife worked, the cuter she got. The husband would get home and stand astonished at the fact that his wife's looks were thriving on cooking, cleaning and dusting!
So, if you want to look cute, you have to cook, clean and dust.
Don’t believe me? Take a moment and reflect upon the vintage sexist dating advice that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Feed Him Dinner Before You Feed Him Your Emotions
If you were having a conversation with other women, they’d advise you not to bother your husband with petty issues when he comes home from work; to always discuss family problems after you have satisfied him with food.
Even then, if you decide to start talking about these problems, you shouldn’t get teary or emotional, because men don’t like tears. Even less so in public places. So you should always remain composed and collected so that you bring no ill repute to your man.
Meet His Undergarment Requirements
Have you ever wondered what you would wear for a date later?
You could wear anything that you thought was pretty as long as you followed the guidelines set to impress him: If you needed a bra you could wear one; as long as you just made sure that your stockings had no wrinkles. If you were lucky, he wouldn’t be too worried about that either, but it would be non-negotiable that you wore classy and expensive underwear; remember it must be pink! I can see a few ladies raiding their closets in rebellion tonight, throwing out all their stockings and pink underwear.
Fortunately, due to the necessary amendment changes and luckily fashion changes too, it is almost foreign to hear that kind of advice in the 21st century.
After deciding what you were going to wear and making sure that it met the necessary requirements, be ready before he gets there to pick you up. Greet him with a smile, and don’t make him wait. You have to look good, but hide the way you do it. So get dressed where he can’t see you.
Stop Talking, Start Dancing
Assuming all goes well and he gets there already extremely impressed with your great taste and eye for detail, he might decide to take you dancing. Do not talk. If he’s taking you dancing, he wants to dance! I don’t know what the worst vintage sexist dating advice is that you’ve heard before, but this one must be one of the funniest. “If a man takes you dancing he wants to DANCE!”
As both men and women have become part of the work force, their schedules have become increasingly inflexible and most couples work together to find mutually convenient times. If we were back in the 1950s however, you would probably have been advised to change your schedule around so that you are always there when your husband needs you. He might not just need you to cook, clean and dust so you can be the cutest you, but also to listen to him.
Hands, and Woes, to Yourself
Which brings us to our next piece of vintage sexist dating advice: Be a good listener. After he tells you his troubles, yours will seem petty in comparison. Men had a tough life with all their rights and recognition. It was all very oppressing and difficult. They needed someone that would be there to re-inflate their ego-bubble.
It came down to the fact that your husband deserved to be listened to, cooked for, cleaned for. If you were decorous, acted harmlessly, pretended to be high and dry without him you were very sexy. If you wanted him to boast about you and to be seduced by you, being innocent and incapable would do the trick.
Bearing this in mind, you wouldn’t ever have gone around talking about yourself and the things that matter to you. You always only talked about your husband and flattered him every moment you could. He had to feel like he was the most important thing in your life.
A woman always had to maintain her dignity, especially in public and it was not advised that you stroke your partner’s neck or became romantic as it was embarrassing for the ‘stronger sex’ to be seen in this way.
This kind of dating advice, no matter how sexist, spread like wild-fire back then, because if you didn’t earn a proposal, you wouldn’t find a husband. There were no two sides to this coin. It was wholly up to you to go out and earn a proposal from a respectable gentleman. You can just imagine, how golden this short guide of vintage sexist dating advice would’ve been back in the day for every desperate woman wanting to be a wife to someone.
Despite the importance and focus on finding a husband, some women were ignorant to the fact that you also had to keep your husband.
You Filthy Woman!
So in the ‘Love-quiz…For Married Folks Only’ advertisement, woman ask why the husband avoids embracing his wife. The answer, as ridiculous as it may sound, is that she is filthy. She is not clean enough and she cannot clean herself with soaps and homemade materials – it even goes as far as to say, that it really is a pity, because this woman could retain the affection of her husband if she but only used the advertised disinfectant.
You see, a repeated piece of vintage sexist dating advice was hygiene. You were to conform to acceptable standards of hygiene and be so clean, that you would pass a nude inspection.
Women were like trophies. If your husband felt like showing off his prized possession, he wanted to know that it would always shine and reflect his image.
Follow the Smoke Signals
The last one I was quite amused by was – how to know when to follow a man. I’ve watched many classic movies where the man stood at the bar with his cigar in his hand after approaching a beautiful girl. They’d slowly say a few words to each other; he’d narrow his eyes to convey his intent and then suddenly—
He’d blow smoke into the face of this beautiful girl, and she’d get up and just follow him.
I never looked at it in that way until I saw a vintage advertisement for cigarettes, that said that if a man blows smoke in your face, you must follow him. Let’s not take that too literally…
In conclusion, we have come a long way from the 1950s where women meant nothing and were displayed like trophies. Equality has become the priority and more and more focus is put on the role women have in society. Most women work and have careers these days, without suffering persecution. We have influential women in the driver seats of large businesses, even though their number should increase and we even have a woman running for president of the United States this year. So we realize that the reformation is still in its initial stages, but how encouraging to see the massive changes in propaganda already.
I think it is a good reminder for us and that we should reflect on the vintage sexist dating advice that our parents or grandparents received and make sure that we don’t convey the same message to our children – how ever subtle it may be. Dating advice should come from a place of mutual respect for each other as equals and not based on being male or female.