Gender Pay Gap Benefits

Sallyedelsteincollage appropriated images collage

“Men in Charge” collage by Sally Edelstein

Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly has some advise for all the single ladies out there.

Quit yer whining about the gender pay gap!

All you husband hunting gals listen up – accepting a lower paycheck is a small price to pay for finding a better breadwinner husband.

Give Me That Old Time Anti Feminism

sexist ad Honeywell 51

Vintage Advertisement Honeywell Heaters 1951

Yes marriage advise straight from the same Phyllis Schlafly, Nemesis of NOW, veteran of the anti feminist movement from the 1970’s who successfully mobilized opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment.

This relic of the gender wars recently penned a piece for the Christian Post making the case that the Gender Pay Gap ultimately helps women.

Unlike other Republicans at least she doesn’t dispute the fact of a gender pay gap.

In fact she thinks it’s a good idea.

A bigger pay gap between men and women is necessary she claims, so women won’t have as hard a time finding a boyfriend or husband.

“The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap, she declares”


Feather Your Nest

vintage cartoon lllustration family as birds 1960

Vintage illustration from 1960 Ad

“While women prefer to Have a higher earning partner, men generally prefer to Be the higher earning partner in a relationship,” she wrote.

“Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.”

“If a higher earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all,” we are warned.

Adjusting wages to help with husband hunting instead of encouraging women to be financially independent makes no cents!

Happily Married

sexist ad husband wife at table

Vintage ad Simtex Cloths

The 1950s notion of marriage with man as breadwinner as the template for the ideal family seems to be the model that Schlafly still hold as the gold standard.

Lets nestle back to that comfortable cold war era of containment where once upon a time patriarchy ruled and the American housewife was perceived as the most envied gal in the world.

Though times have changed for sure, like a toxic overspill some remnants of that mind-set obviously persist.

The Weaker Sex

sexist ad Lees Jeans woman and man illustration

Vintage Ad Lee Mens Clothes 1947

For the up to date Mid Century American homemaker and helpmate, pretty and perky dressed in a festive apron and a fresh coat of pretty in pink lipstick it was a life of comfort and convenience, flameless, frostfree ,touch-tone, push button ease.

With everything so automatic no wonder she looked to a Man to be in control. Despite this life of ease, she seemed often to be a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued by Dudley Do Right.

Who’s in the Drivers Seat?


cars women sexist ad 1950

Vintage ad Mercury Cars 1950

For a successful marriage it was important that the proper Cold war Corporate Housewife understand the tensions of her husband’s job as breadwinner.

When it came to who was in the driver’s seat, there was no question who was in charge.

This  advertisement for Mercury Automobiles from 1950 offered up perfect post war matrimonial advise:

”Dollars to donuts the man of the house takes the wheel especially if it’s a Mercury. ”

“It gives his ego a gentle boost…it feeds his need for a sense of power…it lets him know he’s in control!”

“It’s just one of the little things that make marriage easy to live with”

vintage illustration woman at the wheel of car

Vintage Ad Saginaw Power Steering 1953

They even offer a Marriage Quiz?

“Do you ever question your husband’s business judgement they ask? ( if he insists on a Mercury you Know how good his judgement is)”

“Are you sure your husband loves you? It’s a pretty good sign he does , if your next car is a Mercury You’ll know he wants to be proud of the way you look (dreamy, in a Mercury) he wants you to take it easy and he wants you to feel secure)”

In the retro world of Republicans, women still take a back seat .Without any safety precautions its a dangerous ride indeed. Does it matter who’s at the wheel…you betchum.


Note: Though the post “Prominent Republican: Women Need to Be Paid Less so They Can Find Good Husbands” first appeared in ThinkProgress, the advise originally appeared in women’s magazines in the 1930s-1950’s.


© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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  3. sdaven5191

    It wasn’t just the 1950’s and 1960’s that nourished the gender-based pay gap. During the horrid “Trickle Down Economics” pushed on us by Reaganomics of the early 1980’s, my husband and I and our 2 small children lived in Kokomo, Indiana, then home of the highest unemployment in the entire country. Fortunately, my husband held on to his job in a small automotive repair business, or we would have definitely been out on the streets. I managed to find a job working as a Prep Cook in a new restaurant in town at a fair wage. I have no idea how it compared with the men’s wages, because we were directed, on pain of termination, not to discuss our paychecks with each other. (I have always found this troubling, and it goes on even now, because it has always made me wonder just what they are trying to hide, not that I particularly want to discuss my pay with anyone else, or pry into other people’s private business.) Anyway, about 2 months into the job, I got called into the bosses office after clocking in for the day, only to be informed I was being “let go” from my job! I was shocked, stunned and amazed because I had never had any issues with my boss, or he with my work. When I regained my composure enough to ask why, I was given a patronizing, chilling smile and was told right out front that it was because I had a husband with a job who could support me and our children, and they needed to give MY job to a man! I was too stunned for words for a moment, but I immediately looked at the wall calendar over his desk, pointed to it and told him that it was nineteen EIGHTY two ~ NOT nineteen FIFTY two, and he better learn the damned difference! I was so angryy and upset I coudn’t think of anything else to tell him that wouldn’t get me arrested for threatening his life, so I turned and left the office, giving the door the hardest slam I could manage. It reverberated through the building and caused everyone in it to jump straight in the air.
    Turns out, with the loss of that job, I could not find another, but was in very good company. We ended up qualifying for some Food Stamps every month after that, even with my husband working, due to his relatively low pay, our bills and our two children. So, I just envisioned every dollar of it coming out of Mr Nineteen Fifties’ pocket (in his taxes actually, even though WE paid taxes to support them as well.) This was back in the days of paper Food Stamps you had to go fetch yourself at the Food Stamp office every month. And with one car, and two small toddlers, it was always an expedition to do that. But I did it because it helped put better food (not junk food) on my children’s plates, and I would do whatever I could for that. Plus standing in the Government Cheese lines whenever those commodities became available helped boost the take home foodstuffs, which I would use in whatever recipes I could find. I was a 50’s style housewife and mother in those respects, stretching every penny, cooking all from scratch, and staying home with my babies when they were young, which was a blessing in disguise. Also, I kept our little house clean as I could like any other homemaker, because I’ve always believed just because you’re poor, doesn’t mean you have to be dirty. Basic cleaning products don’t cost much, and elbow grease is free!


  4. Your story encapsulates perfectly what has happened in our country in the past 35 years.Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

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