* We apologize for the delay*
The iconic midcentury housewife has one final quality that has allowed her to stand the test of time, making the collective her truly a classic, timeless, Americana sweetheart. Back in the days of the War, women were entrusted to participate effectively in the workforce in what could be considered one of the most profound shifts in gender roles since the Industrial Revolution. From this shift in roles, women started to expand on their vocational palettes from housework to machinery, textiles, recycling, and other war-effort manufacturing that ultimately is considered one of the strengths America had in winning WW2.
The rapid increase in the workforce by de-jure allowing women to work alongside men (or really, in lieu of able-bodied men who were otherwise drafted at the time) gave a collectivist approach to American living. This attitude that ‘we’re all in this together’ lasted through the wartime and dissolved slightly into the middle of the century, but the know-how and skill sets were not lost. So those young women who advocated for the country in the 40s grew older, married, and brought unique tinkering abilities to the next generation of American homes. Riviters, manufacturers, and other material processors became wives capable of fixing their children’s toys before dad got home, maintaining home improvement like painting projects and wallpapering jobs, and shared their skills (in addition to the classics like sewing and cooking) with their children.
I regret to say that most of that thriftiness has since faded over time, but it is one of the many revivalist attributes of that midcentury can-do spirit. We look forward to a new generation of thrifty, independent thinkers to emerge, although perhaps in different circumstances, to make a new era of empowered, poised, and unbreakable female spirits.