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The 1970s Home Economist

1977 Rival Crock-Pot - The Working Woman's DreamI am posting the article below in its entirety, along with my own comments in green. The article is from 1977, and in my opinion is equally interesting from a feminist standpoint as a marketing/economics standpoint, as it illustrates how phony feminists disparaged and devalued women and traditional women's work.

This article implies that if you don't have an office job, you are ignored, unimportant, without clothes and makeup and are probably chained to the kitchen sink or radiator by your husband.

This is just simply not true! Contrary to what they would have you believe, many women led quite interesting and fulfilling lives before we were "liberated".

While I would not want to give back the choices that women have today, I also think it is unfair and inaccurate to present the lives of women of the "non-liberated" generations as being patently undesirable. It just wasn't so! So, to all you gals of future generations, when you are making use of your choices in life...get the facts straight first! RH

Working Housewife's Shopping Habits Studied

In case you haven't already felt it, Madison Avenue is grabbing for your hard earned dollar. "As consumers, women are becoming so important financially they are the big bombshell market of the future, if not right now," New York advertising woman Lois Geraci Ernst was quoted recently in the Wall Street Journal.

Here is where we leave reality...the notion that before women entered the work force they were unimportant as a "market segment". Just who was spending the money while the men were away working? Where did all those "my wife spends all my money" jokes come from?

As part of this new awareness, comes the additional impact of the working housewife, whose numbers continue to multiply dramatically. The emerging recognition that we women - especially the relatively new breed whose members combine homemaking and a career - constitute an important market; may hasten the improvement of our role in society.

What she really means is that it will hasten the improvement of her own situation and lifestyle choice.

This proposition was set forth at a recent marketing conference by Belle Marvin Zimmerly and Elizabeth A. Kaspar, marketing and psychology experts.

Zimmerly told the group there is "no quicker way to bring about - and force  change than to have persons recognized as a new and fertile market segment. Nothing in our society makes a group of persons so acceptable ... as does being identified as an emerging market segment. It bestows credibility. It gives power, and it does cause change."

The working housewife and her shopping habits have been assessed by the William Esty Co.'s Market Information Center. It predicts the working wife will become more casual and less guilt-ridden about housekeeping. Yeah, right. She'll get more help from care products. Such products. Esty noted, "could be unisex-oriented since men will increasingly use them." HA HA HA HA HA...Rolling on the floor laughing!.

The Esty analysis also sees restaurants, fast-food and "take-out" businesses benefiting from the growing ranks of working housewives, with half of all meals served in the U.S. being eaten away from home by 1980. Funny, the Esty analysis seems to have missed to sky-rocketing obesity rates, the explosion in demand for plus-size clothing, diet products and diet programs. They don't even mention how diabetes will become such a huge cash cow for pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment companies!

Another study found today's emerging woman has a definite set of new attitudes and ideas. She's still feminine, but wants to be liked for the person she is. She wants doors opened to her, not just held for her. But did she really want to have doors widened for her?

Women are now using more cosmetics and are more concerned about appearances, not simply to attract the opposite sex, but as an important means of personal expression.

More concerned with appearances? Are they nuts? They are wearing more make up than the generation that "didn't feel dressed without lipstick"?

Look for a battle aimed at your clothes dollar by department and specialty stores who realize the biggest "hypo" to the fashion business these days is the increasing number of working wives. Obviously, the housewife who dresses for work has to have more of a wardrobe than her stay-at-home sister. I will give them that the working woman has to have different clothes than her stay-at-home sister...but more? Do they think their mothers ran around naked? Who do they think all those fashion ads were directed at up until 1977?

All this recognition of the new power of the working female consumer affects the ads you see. You'll be courted with new jingles, gimmicks and testimonials showing women in the workaday world. In many new ads and commercials working women in tailored dresses or pants suits with stylish briefcases are selling everything from record players and eyeliner to airline tickets.

Businesses which used to be strictly male oriented are taking a new look at the lady consumer. "We had determined 23 percent of our business travelers are women." said Fred Heckel, United Airlines' vice president of advertising and promotion.

Only 10 years ago, United aired a television commercial in which a housewife pleaded with her husband to 'take me along' on a business trip. "I love you. little cutie, but my office is my duty." the man replied.

"If that commercial were on the air today, I'd be hanged by the thumbs," Heckel said.

A word of caution to all those marketers who are wooing us: Housewives differ: so do working women. Don't make the mistake of lumping us all together and thinking just because we trade an allowance for a salary we're all alike.

Some of us are holding down jobs for the short haul while some are working our way up the career ladder. How we spend that buck you're after depends on how good you are at hitting the right target with an acceptable appeal.

(If you have any questions you wish answered, please write to Muriel Lederer. in care of this newspaper.) The Argus, Fremont, California, November 17th 1977

I just found your website. I love it! I found you by searching "Home Ec 1970's" I've started a Home Ec. pod cast with my neighbor Norman who has BS in Home Ec from the University of Nebraska. He went to school in the early 70's, pretty much the last class to learn Home Ec in the science department. We have a lot of fun recording the episodes and I'm looking for an audience interested in what we're doing. I'm glad to find someone else with a sense of humor about home life but also takes it seriously. I'm learning more about this brave new world of the internet and blogging and posting and I'd love to feature what you're doing on my BLOG (once I learn how to link or whatever it is I need to do). It's a work in progress, all comments welcome! I want to make it the best darn pod cast ever. Thanks and I'm looking forward to visiting your website, Jen Here is our BLOG with the pod casts if you'd like to listen: (April 29, 2011)
      Purple Flower



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