Advice From a Happy Wife to Young Women

How did it come to pass that the generation of women who have more opportunity than any generation of women in history have to be reminded not to be bitchy, selfish, shallow, or a liar? Wait, forget reminded -- they have to be taught not to be bitchy. We think it is such a good thing that we have an anthem about it.

Advice to a Young Wife was published a few years after The Feminine Mystique. Both books advised young wives of the Sixties, those who were college educated and, thanks to the post-war technology boom, freed from the essential and time and energy consuming chores of housewives of the past. Looking back, it is no surprise at all that these women were bored. The question was, what to do about it.

Both The Feminine Mystique and Advice to a Young Wife told women to do things for themselves. Advice to a Young Wife told women to be something of your own in addition to being a wife and mother. The Feminine Mystique, however, told women to be something of your own at the expense of others, most especially, husbands.

That sense of selfishness has permeated every aspect of feminism since. Fast forward 50 years, and is it any wonder that advice books essentially have to remind women not to be that bitchy, selfish, shallow liars?