I have been looking through a few copies of Australian Home Journal from about sixty years ago. I read some of the 'Heart to Heart' columns where women ask for advice. It is interesting to note both the similarities and the differences in the problems presented here compared to issues for women these days.
Image by Marie Vonow
Some of the problems that haven't changed I noted some issues are very similar to problems women face these days, including -
moody teenage daughter
different views of parenting between mother and father
age difference in the two parties in a relationship
how to make friends
being caught in the middle of an argument between two friends
how to get back the man you love
pocket money for the children
the boyfriend who doesn't ever want to go out but just wants to stay at home
There are some differences Differences I noted included -
the language used
some of the terms used would never be used these days
attitude to working once the children are at school
attitude to dating
household appliances referred to
Language, expressions and attitudes have changed Things I noted included -
A woman describes herself as, 'I'm well beyond the first bloom of youth'.
A stay at home mother says, 'I feel I could improve myself and even add to the family income, but would not like a full-time position, as I would not like to fail my kiddies by pushing them on to someone else after school hours.'
A young woman writes, 'I've never made myself cheap to men, and when a boy I like very much started inviting me out I always made
him work very hard to persuade me to go.'
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Advice given has changed from what what be suggested these days Some of the changes are due to changing social attitudes, others to changing technology.
Things I noted included -
'...remember it should be your pleasure as well as your duty to be as good a wife as you are a mother, so step out with your husband in style and go gay with him when he wants you to.'
(in relation to possible topics for small talk) 'Books, gramophone records, current crazes (such as roll 'n roll), snippets of information culled from the daily newspapers etc all suggest possible topics.'
'Why not learn shorthand by post? You could soon regain your typing speed, and as shorthand typists are needed everywhere, it is quite likely you could secure part-time work of this type.'
'Too many juvenile delinquents break the law because they've never been taught to “wait and save” for something they want.'
These magazines highlight both the similarities and differences from the mid fifties to the modern day. They make very interesting reading.