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The notion of “housewife” evokes strong reactions. For some, it’s nostalgia for a bygone era, simpler and better times when men were breadwinners and women remained home with the kids. For others, it’s a sexist, oppressive stereotype of women’s work. Either way, housewife is a long outdated concept—or is it?
Lisa Selin Davis, known for her smart, viral, feminist, cultural takes, argues that the “breadwinner vs. homemaker” divide is a myth. She charts examples from prehistoric female hunters to working class housewives in the 1930s, from First Ladies to 21st century stay-at-home moms, on a search for answers to the problems of what is referred to as women’s work and motherhood. Davis discovers that women have been sold a lie about what families should be. Housewife unveils a truth: interdependence, rather than independence, is the American way.
The book is a clarion call for all women—married or single, mothers or childless—and for men, too, to push for liberation. In Housewife, Davis builds a case for systemic, cultural, and personal change, to encourage women to have the power to choose the best path for themselves.
“Davis unearths the historical origins of the housewife and waxes philosophical about modern-day motherhood. Housewife provides both vindication and comfort for women tired of doing it all.”Booklist
“A passionate call for societal support for mothers… A cogent sociological analysis.”Kirkus
“Housewife is a deeply researched, passionately-argued pro-choice book—for women's work. Davis entertainingly looks beneath the hood of housewifery and finds all kinds of surprises: Paleolithic huntresses; radical working class housewives accosting men with sausages (really!); the exploited labor of the First Lady; and ‘tradwives,’ reinventing a ‘tradition’ that was actually an anomaly. Her quest: to figure out how women and mothers can choose the life they want, and how society needs to shift to make that happen.”Peggy Orenstein, New York Times bestselling author of Girls & Sex
"In Housewife, Lisa Selin Davis masterfully dismantles the myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions associated with a term that so many of us use but so few of us truly understand. Through compelling research and engaging narrative, she underscores the extent to which women through history have been oppressed, undervalued, and degraded, and how the remnants of what we might think of as long forgotten societal norms and mores continue to reverberate and shape so much—from our economies to our identities and beyond. A deeply insightful and educational—but also witty and fast-paced—book that provides a profoundly important perspective on women, the labor market, and where things have gone terribly awry."Josie Cox, author of Women Money Power
"In this involving, broad-spectrum, cheerfully impertinent book, Lisa Selin Davis investigates one of the most vexed and contradictory figures to persist in the American imagination: The housewife. Part cultural history and part cri de coeur, Davis shows, through dozens of examples, that the housewife, no matter what form she assumes (sequined backbiter, aproned hearth sweeper, even smiling First Lady) always seems to get the short end of the mop. Only through a combination of system-wide and individual commitments to change will it ever be otherwise."Jennifer Senior, New York Times bestselling author of All Joy and No Fun
- On Sale
- Mar 5, 2024
- Page Count
- 320 pages
- Legacy Lit