A panel of 16 members brainstormed and came up with 400+ ways to find a husband, but only 129 made it to the list.
When you think about the 1950s, what comes to your mind first? Probably the dawn of the Cold War, the world post World War II, the booming economy with Elvis Presley serenading the world into bliss, and the golden age of television. But one area where they were probably lacking was women's empowerment. Here's a fine example that illustrates how people were quite clueless when it came to what women want out of their lives.
Facebook user Kim Marx-Kuczynski came across a vintage McCall magazine from 1958 and shared its intriguing contents on her Facebook page back in 2018. The article, interestingly titled 129 Ways to Get a Husband, aims to help all the unmarried women above seventeen years of age land a husband.
The article began like this. "In the United States today, there are sixteen million women over the age of seventeen who are not married. Presumably, the vast majority of them would like to be. They are sometimes alarmed by statistics that show there are only twelve million unmarried men on whom they can pin their hopes," reported The Sun.
It then went on to say that in reality there are several single men in the "so-called marriageable-age groups" and the ways listed in the article would help single women find those men. The magazine boasted about using the "brainstorming" technique to churn out fresh ideas on how to find husbands.
Who was part of the group that took part in the session? Sixteen people with like minds, ideas, and experience from various fields. A popular songwriter, a marriage consultant, an airline stewardess, a police commissioner, a housewife, an investment banker, a psychologist, a bachelor, a newlywed, and an engineer, were among the 16 people mentioned.
The ideas are not only bizarre but it's hard to understand the idea behind some of them as well. Recently the article resurfaced on Twitter when journalist Jane Lavender shared a picture of the original article, writing, "This. Is. Amazing - advice on how to get a husband circa 1958. Numbers 17, 24, 30, and 40 are simply incredible."
This. Is. Amazing - advice on how to get a husband circa 1958. Numbers 17, 24, 30 and 40 are simply incredible 😂 pic.twitter.com/cfxisYL8w2— jane lavender (@janelavvie) August 18, 2020
According to The Daily Mail, the tips varied from standing on a busy street corner with a lasso to carrying a hatbox to attract single men. The magazine which was published from 1873 to 2002 also suggested women befriend ugly men or rent a billboard to advertise themselves with a photo and phone number printed on it.
The post was shared more than 17,000 times and had 4,800 comments. One reader, Teresa, commented, "Wow! That was the year I was born. My mom would have read that. So funny but very disturbing... just wow!" Elizabeth Anne Stathis penned, "This would make a great movie today if it was about a girl from the 21st century who was looking to get married, found this article and then tried each one of these. What a hoot!"
Jane's tweet with the excerpt from tips 14 to 41 went viral as well with people retweeting it 3,000 times. The senseless list attracted comments from not just women but men as well with one writing, "To be fair, that’s accurate. I’ve always looked for a woman who carries a hatbox around with her." Another joked, "How strange. I walked past an engineering school last year & kept tripping over all these easels – now I understand why…"
Another mocked the article by writing, "I’ll have to keep my eye out for a women who carries a hatbox, wearing a band-aid, and constantly drops her handkerchief. I could be their 17!!" Some even expressed curiosity. "I'd like to know more of the backstory to 38 and why the author chose to say dropping a handkerchief 'still' works. Was it falling out of fashion? Was there a PR campaign by the handkerchief makers? So many questions!"
What's funny is the fact that even though right now this archaic article has been received as a satire by people, back in the 1950s this was a piece of information that was provided to women with serious intentions. Out of the 400+ suggestions that the group of 16 people came up with only the best ones made it to the magazine because according to them the days had passed when a "reasonably pretty girl" could sit, "hands folded, on her front veranda waiting for Mr. Right to come along."
For them, talking to a potential husband's father about business and agreeing the taxes are high along with sending his mother a birthday card was essential to prove that a woman was deserving to be a part of a respected family.
Sadly, even today, women are expected to perform gender-specific roles even though we've come way past the time when we were supposed to carry hatboxes and sob in a corner to gain a man's attention. We're still fighting for our rights to be considered equal to the very gender this 80-year-old article asks us to impress.