Don’ts For Wives in 1913.

Women have been treated like second-class citizens since the beginning of time.

Just thinking about it makes my feisty feminist blood boil, in fact the notion that anyone thinks they are better than someone else makes me crotchety.

But I can see the funny side, sort of, in advice that men and women were given in the early 1900s. Recently we did a family trip to THE book shop at Byron, quite the place to be on Sunday it appears.

We left with quite a haul, despite there being tears from the boys because they could only get one book. My daughter couldn’t decide so I suggested she do meenie meanie miny mo!

byron book shop

To give you a chortle, have a look at some of the advice menfolk and womenfolk of 1913 were given by Blanche Ebbutt in England.

Don’ts For Wives.

  • Don’t expect a man to see everything from a woman’s point of view. Try to put yourself in his place for a change.
  • Don’t omit to pay your husband an occasional compliment. If he has been successful with his chickens, his garden or his photography compliment him.
  • Don’t expect your husband to want to spend evenings at home if you don’t make home the most comfortable place.
  • Don’t try too hard to regulate your husband’s pleasures, and don’t be jealous if they don’t always include you.
  • Don’t be troubled because your husband is not an Adonis (see below). Beauty is only skin deep and the cleverest men are rarely the handsomest…
Adonis, this paw print does his package wonders

Adonis, this paw print does his package wonders.

Don’ts For Husbands.

  • Don’t keep her in cotton wool. She isn’t wax, she’s a woman.
  • Don’t forget that you are not immortal. What chance will she have if you die and leave her with no knowledge of the ways of the wicked world?
  • Don’t dwell on any lack of physical perfection in your wife. Beauty of mind is much more important than beauty of body.
  • Don’t forget to be master in your own house, but see that your wife is mistress.
  • Don’t dwell on the beauty of other women if you know your wife to be sensitive on the point. There is no sense in rubbing sores, although some men seem to find a strange pleasure in it.

vintage_sexist_ad

I believe if I was around in the 1900s I would have been considered a horrid, brazen and outspoken heathen of a woman who didn’t know when to hold her tongue!

What sort of woman would you have been in the 1900s?

And how about those Adonis, does he blow your hair back?

Comments

  1. In some ways we have come so far in others it’s like the 1930’s still, this coming from the stay at home mum lol but you know what I mean

  2. I must remember to compliment Mr McD on his chickens!!

  3. I love that your kids wanted more books! Interesting advice and some of it is probably still relevant really, just a little more equally. The beauty of mind is a good one 🙂 I probably would have fit in reasonably well in the early 1900s until I got jack of waiting on the man or something annoyed me and I got very outspoken. Maybe I would be more of a heroine in one of those romance novels who is quite capable and accepted for it yet still seen as a woman.

  4. Just rushing out the door to pick up some stockings!

  5. What the hell is with the ‘husbands pleasures’? ‘Don’t be jealous if they don’t always include you’? Really!!! My goodness, I’d be throwing chicken feed on his adonis while he slept and then let his feckin pecking prize chickens loose on that package!

  6. I wonder if we would have known different and played along with the times? Thank goodness we live in the age that we do. So much has changed, but there is still more change yet to go. My husband is lucky he has a woman with a beautiful mind and beautiful body. 😉

  7. Haha. I’ve seen those books at our local book store and wondered what’s in them. Thanks for the insight!
    I think I would be in biiiiiiig trouble. I’m becoming more and more passionate about feminist issues, so no old school ‘chauvinistic’ (to put it extremely politely) guy would last very long around me these days! What saddens me is that so many guys still think like this. YUCK.

  8. Those books are hilare. I bought the wives one at an airport and spent an entire long haul flight killing myself laughing. Unfortunately, I’m yet to find a copy of the husband version, because obviously I totes need one to balance things out! I can just imagine there being one of these books at every bedside in Downton Abbey!

  9. I would have been a loud mouth slapper bahahaha. Have you devoured Little Big Lies yet? xx

  10. Oh you have hurt my sensibilities 😀

  11. Love it. Particularly like the last point to hubbies not to dwell on the beauty of other women IF he finds his wife sensitive on the subject.

  12. I’d have been a crazy cat lady spinster I suspect!

  13. Put yourself in his place FOR A CHANGE – you selfish, self-obsessed woman who only ever thinks of herself!

  14. Oh Jesus, I don’t think I would have made a very good wife back then. Heck, I don’t even make a good wife by today’s somewhat less exacting standards! So funny though. What amazing little time capsules.

  15. One of our local coffee shops has those little books on the tables. I wouldn’t have lasted a minute back then, too cranky, crazy and strong willed. I’d love an Adonis in the garden, I might spend less time inside 🙂

  16. nobullshit says:

    Don’t expect a man to see everything from a woman’s point of view. Try to put yourself in his place for a change.
    (given for a good reason, you’ll see advises like this on the book, like “don’t treat your wife like a kid” and “respect your wife’s intellect, she’s as smart as you” and “don’t let your wife play the fool” and even an advice like this one)
    Don’t omit to pay your husband an occasional compliment. If he has been successful with his chickens, his garden or his photography compliment him.
    (there are equivalent advises for both sides, including on not dropping the act that your wife is a queen when you are alone at home. Which means lifting up when she enters the room and only sit when she sits and remove your hat at their presence as if she was a public official, and pandering to her like you were her servant.)
    Don’t expect your husband to want to spend evenings at home if you don’t make home the most comfortable place.
    (same thing as this advice for husbands like “Don’t, if music be your hobby, practice the violin, cello, flute, trombone or whatever musical instrument you happen to fancy, in the drawing-room for many hours a day. Your wife may also be fond of music, and it is not fair to victimize her to this extent.”)
    Don’t try too hard to regulate your husband’s pleasures, and don’t be jealous if they don’t always include you.
    (this one is the best and there seems to be no need to say the opposite for husbands and it means this: YOUR HUSBAND HAS THE SAME GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO MASTURBATE AS YOU. But it could also be read as “your husband doesn’t have the duty to include you in every hobby he practices”, because in this sense there’s an advice to include your wife in your hobbies as much as possible.)
    Don’t be troubled because your husband is not an Adonis (see below). Beauty is only skin deep and the cleverest men are rarely the handsomest…
    (same advise for husbands “don’t dwell on any lack of physical perfection in your wife. Beauty of the mind is much more important than beauty of the body.” This is a verbatim quote.
    Gosh, there’s even “don’t disparage if your wife isn’t wan’t people call brilliant, common sense is more valuable than a brilliant mind” which is basically the same thing but for intelligence.)

  17. nobullshit says:

    Here are more examples from the book for men.
    “You own your wife money for all her work at home, she owns you nothing for your housework at home that you should do, specially the scary and dangerous things” (I condensed several advises here for the sake of brevity, not verbatim)
    “Don’t ever even think of borrowing money from your wife”
    Look at this group of ones that look funny together:
    “Your wife is as smart as your coworker” (basically she’s as smart as you) “So you should not keep things from your business from her as if she wasn’t able to understand it” and at the same time “don’t give orders to the servants not to risk contradicting your wife” and “don’t bother her with house stuff you know nothing about” and to topple it off “don’t disparage if your wife is dumb as a rock.” So the author basically believes everyone is dumb as a rock and that dumb people like talking about politics, which doesn’t make the author dumb but makes her socially inept as fuck.
    Worse “women’s way of understanding is different, don’t question her when she makes statements that she can’t back up” basically your wife is an unquestionable authority.
    It’s weird, because it then say “don’t treat your wife like a kid”, gosh, the only people one can respect “make belief” from is kids, otherwise reality is accessed by being independently verifiable.

    You could say the lest one is “respect your wife’s gut feeling” but if someone doesn’t respects your gut feeling your either don’t have one or the person is stupid and one can only access it case by case and in no way it’s something to be segregated by sample.

    There’s also “your wife is just as much a whore as you, don’t point that out when you encounter evidence of it” and “hide evidence that your as just as much as a whore as your wife”.
    For both there’s advice against flirting too much, which is weird because the author seems to believe everyone is a libertine. It’s weird because int he finding out sessions for guys is “she’s just as much a whore as you so no need to despair” and for women is “men have needs you don’t” like she’s trying to maintain the illusion women have of themselves of pure regardless of the fact that women have as much consensual partners as men, cheat as much as men, masturbate just as often and have toys for it since before written history, and this just as much is only valid if you don’t count lesbian relationships and furtive masturbation’s by rubbing thighs together (though not women gain something from it).

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