Being a traditional woman means to be financially dependent on one’s husband. Traditionally, the working world was seen as “men’s business” and married women were shielded from the necessities of earning a living. I see women all the time who just simply cannot leave well enough alone. They simply cannot understand anything other than earning a paycheck. Even conservative Christians try to interpret the Bible to something pleasing to modern-day standards. For instance, I see all the time stay at home mothers who are Christians interpreting the Proverbs 31 woman as the ideal and saying that, if applied to the modern day, it means a woman should start a home business (as well as bear children and take care of the house!). A woman making her own money would be a financially independent woman no matter where that money is made. That would make her consistent with the feminist ideal for women. Also, a woman working everyday at her husband’s business would make her a business partner with him and not dependent upon him. Even conservatives promote the feminist ideal for gender relations and this has been going on for a while now. As George Gilder observed in his book “Men and Marriage:”
“As a critique of the feminist movement and its politics, Sexual Suicide now seems less telling. But the central themes of the book remain vitally important. Though rejecting feminist politics and lesbian posturing, American culture has absorbed the underlying ideology like a sponge. The principle tenets of sexual liberation or sexual liberalism-the obsolescence of masculinity and femininity, of sex role, and of heterosexual monogamy as the moral norm- have diffused through the system and become part of America’s conventional wisdom. Taught in most of the nation’s schools and colleges and proclaimed insistently in the media, sexual liberalism prevails even where feminism- at least in its antimale rhetoric- seems increasingly irrelevant.”
Sanne at Adventures in Keeping House, also sums it up perfectly in this post (comments section):
“As I see it, the problem often is that nowadays people see men and women as interchangeable. They are supposed to have the same interests and fulfill the same roles in society. Often, even conservatives who claim that they are pro-family will state that as long as one of the parents has to stay home, it’s O.K. and it doesn’t matter whether it is the father or the mother. On the other hand, the fathers who work long hours are criticized by the same conservatives for not contributing to raising the children. Excuse me, but the father who works hard and enables his wife to stay home is contributing enough, even though he doesn’t change the diapers!
I say men and women are different, and should be judged according to a different standard to some point. Long live sexual dimorphism!”
Before feminism men were required to financially support their wives. It was a man’s duty as well as a legal obligation. Our culture has lost this ethic entirely as the breadwinner ethic has been entirely eroded. A lot of women today are trying to gain respect for stay-at-home wives and mothers yet they are still focusing on teaching women how to make money from home. It’s still egalitarian; it’s still feminist. The point of marriage is for men to provide for and protect women; to take a woman out of the workforce so that she may be home and care for her children and others.
Also another thing that has gone out of our culture is that men, not women, are supposed to head households. When the provider ethic was the strongest (before the 20th century) it was also the oldest son, not the mother, who took over temporarily as being the head of household if the father was absent or away on business (assuming he had reached a certain age of maturity). It seems so odd and strange to us today (indeed it might even seem a little twisted and backwards) but the idea was that men had an obligation to protect and support women and that men should be in charge and take financial responsibility unless there was simply no other choice and those burdens had to fall to women. A woman’s closest male family members were also charged with her protection. This included her brothers and close cousins as well and it was not unusual for a woman to be financially supported by her adult brother if she was unmarried or widowed or for her brothers to take an avid interest in any man who might come calling on her with romantic interests.
It is clear to see that family breakdown began to be the norm at around the 1970s, when equal support obligations began to be laid upon wives and mothers and sexual promiscuity and divorce became common and accepted. Even conservatives do not promote sex roles anymore. A home business is still a business. A woman making money from home (unless it’s an occasional thing) is still being a co-provider. She is still adopting feminist ideology for her and her family. That is not traditional, it is egalitarian. We need to return to the cultural ethic of men being providers and protectors of families, not women. Being a traditional woman means depending on your husband, not finding ways to still be a co-provider while changing diapers and mopping floors.