Oh, feminism, what a tangled web you weave! How could I have missed “Wives With Beehives,” a program that aired last Thursday night on TLC (of course), about couples who purposefully live a 1950s lifestyle? The husbands go off to work, carrying their lunch in a pail, natch, while the wives stay at their kitsch-ed out ’50s home wearing full makeup and retro dresses, cooking and cleaning before his return. Here’s a clip featuring 37-year-old Amber chatting about how this lifestyle is just the bee knees.
Yeah, they’re bizarre. Does TLC do a show about anyone who’s not bizarre? No, TLC does not. But you know what? If Amber (and Leslie, from this other clip posted on Crushable) and their partners are happy with this lifestyle, I don’t care. These “happy homemakers” know what fulfills their deepest needs and it’s empowering for them to live that way. If it doesn’t affect my life in any way, I don’t care what they do. My personal belief is that it is up to each couple to decide what dynamic works for them in their own relationships.
However! (And it’s a big however.) Amber’s complaint that men have been feminized and she wants “men to be men” is a bunch of sexist bullshit. It’s possible to appreciate traditional gender dynamics without being a sexist. I do hope, however, the women realize that by staying home and not earning their own incomes, their gender dynamics are placing them in a perilous financial position. And Amber, at least in this clip, COMPLETELY glosses over all the ways stringent gender roles in the 1950s actually sucked for both men and women. Mind you, the thing about nostalgia is that you’re idealizing a time period that you only know about from pop culture rather than the real life anti-feminist, anti-gay shittiness that actually happened.
Interestingly, there are groups on FetLife (a kinky social networking/dating website) for couples who idealize the 1950s lifestyle, living as dominants and submissives both in and out of the bedroom. They’ve always fascinated me and also made me kind of jealous they were able to actually find a partner to live our their preferred kink. I’m dying to know if any of these couples on this show are part of any of those groups. Even if they aren’t, I hope they know about this show. It might be the first time someone jerked off to TLC!
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.