Recently I came upon an article that I had saved from the "Housekeeping Monthly, May 13, 1955, issue. It is quite a different view of the "wife" than how we view her today. But let us remember, women did not hold any kind of leadership role, outside the home, until after WWII.
It was during the war that women had to step to the plate and do "men's" work due to the fact that men had been drafted into the military.
This meant that farm work and especially factory work (the assembly of items used in the war) in order to keep the nation productive. After the war the men returned to these jobs and women gratefully returned to being a "good wife" and homemaker. But a seed had been planted and these women had experienced the pride of receiving a paycheck, which translated into - you are worth something, and you are being paid for your service. It took a while for this seed to grow into a strong desire to actually leave the house in order to work outside the home and earn a paycheck.
There was also the stigma of breaking out of this mold and which society viewed as someone who was not a "good wife" or homemaker. This emergence really took hold in the 1950s and continues today, whereas now if a woman does not work outside the home, she is viewed as not being a "good wife" by helping to earn money for the family.
The following is the article that described society's view of women prior to the 1950s:
Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
Be a little gay and a little more interesting to him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dust cloth over the tables.
During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
Be happy to see him.
Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity.
Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have not right to question him.
A good wife always knows her place."
All I can say is - please don't die laughing.