Continuing my purge of my workroom, de-accessioning books. going through files and folders and mysterious boxes of stuff, unopened in thirty-some years, I came across this newspaper clipping from 1972.
I remember when the Fascinating Womanhood thing hit Tampa -- and I remember being a little appalled at the whole rigmarole that insisted that wives who wanted to be happy must follow a routine that seemed to be straight out of a Fifties sit-com. I never owned a copy of the book but I did skim through one at a friend's house. Wives were advised to act 'child-like' (well, except for when they're meeting their husbands at the door, clad only in Saran wrap --a highly recommended ploy for adding that certain something to a dull marriage.)
Women were warned against being too capable -- one suggestion was that the woman start a project and bungle it badly so that the husband can come to the rescue, thereby feeling manly as the little woman collapses on his chest and flutters her eyelashes at him.
At its worst, FW tells the woman that if her husband is mad at her, it's her fault -- she hasn't played the game right. This is a chilling idea, especially when viewed in the light of domestic abuse -- where the abuser often blames the victim -- and the victim often feels guilty for having provoked the abuse.
The whole idea of basing a marriage on manipulation of this sort seemed to me to be degrading to husband and wife alike. So I never signed up for the classes, even though a friend of our was teaching them. (Maybe John wishes I had...)
Later that year our first child was born. When I ran out of reading material during labor, John brought me some magazines. Among them was the inaugural issue of Ms. magazine -- the popular voice of the Feminist Movement. I recall thinking as I perused its pages between contractions that this probably wasn't for me either. I would just bumble along under no banner.
As I photographed the clipping and thought about doing a post on it, I decided to check the Internet for a little more info. And to my surprise, I found that Fascinating Womanhood is alive and well -- classes are being taught in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Utah, and Virginia. (It seems to be especially popular with Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.)
There's a wonderful essay HERE with quotes from the book that made me grind my teeth to think that women are still buying into this.
I would have thought that, outrageous as it is, Fascinating Womanhood would have gone the way of the artifact below (also from the Workroom of Lost Things.)
(I am posting this using Claui's Hot Spot -- we still don't have our server back. I'll try to blog visit this evening but don't be surprised if I'm silent for the next few days.)