The ‘Modern Woman’ Puts Her Husband in the Kitchen (1932)


Our grandmothers had to perform a tremendous amount of dreary drudgery in managing their homes. They were kept busy from morning ’till night, for those were the days when a woman’s work was never done. Since then, however, the machine age has come upon us, transforming the home no less surely than the factory. The modern woman enjoys a degree of leisure which her grandmother could hardly have dared to dream of. What women have done with labor-saving machinery in the home is exactly the reverse of what men have done with it in their factories and offices. The average woman is not very familiar with the complexities of economics, but she has ordered her household economy upon a more solid basis than that upon which men have arranged the affairs of their larger world. I am tempted to think that the perplexed businessman might discover a possible solution to his troubles if he would just spend a few days in his wife’s kitchen. Let us see what would happen if he did. Mr. Jones, let us say, is a modern captain of industry. Mrs. Jones is an intelligent woman who knows more than the average about economics. Mr. Jones has agreed to serve for a term as cook, maid, and household manager. “Ah, the wonders of science and modern efficiency!” he said to himself. With all these prepared ingredients, with the electric mixer and the automatically regulated gas range, I ought to be able to make 10 cakes in less time. See now, Mary, what I have done. 10 cakes! When you were running the house, we had only one, or two at most. In one day, I have revolutionized the business of cooking. The cakes were good and the family ate almost a whole one with relish. But there were still 9 left. By good salesmanship, the industrialist-turned-cook induced the family to eat another. But they had no relish for it. At this point, Mr. Jones found himself confronted with the same problem which he had to face every day in his business. He would have to sell more. Inventory would have to be reduced. Unit costs slashed. Mr. Jones coaxed, wheedled, and bribed the family to dispose of the third cake. By the time, everybody had arrived at a stage of acute discomfort and complete indifference to further entreaties. He recognized the symptoms of a saturated market. That night, the family physician kept busy, administering to varying degrees of indigestion, from mild to acute. At breakfast, Mrs. Jones said to her husband, “Of course, you realize the doctor’s fees will have to come out of your budget.” “It was all your fault.” “But I have no reserves set for that!” replied Mr. Jones. “You know that before we changed places, I always paid the doctor.” “His bills shouldn’t be charged against the household budget.” “Just the same,” said Mrs. Jones. “I’m afraid you’ll have to add it to your production costs. “The next time, you’ll know better than to glut the market.” For once, Mr. Jones had nothing to say. No one, of course, would act as foolishly in the realm of household economics as did this mythical Mr. Jones, but there are many Mr. Joneses who have acted no less foolishly in their own sphere of large-scale industry, expanding plants and piling up goods with complete disregard of market demand. I am convinced that the machine has taken something out of life. We have paid and are still paying a great price for the benefits it has given us. But it is with us to stay, and our task is to turn it to our proper need. In the machine, rightly controlled, lies the hope of reducing human drudgery to the minimum, not merely that we may be free of drudgery, but that every individual may have the opportunity for a happy life– for a leisure which may lead to mental and spiritual growth. After all, is it too much to expect that our ingenuity can reorganize our economic system to take advantage of the machines which we have created? It is largely up to the men–the statesmen and the captains of industry. And if they are unable to accomplish the task, we women shall have to send them into the kitchen for a few lessons in common-sense economics.

100 Replies to “The ‘Modern Woman’ Puts Her Husband in the Kitchen (1932)

  1. The guy could have sold the extra 9 cakes to his neighbors. It’s like opening to a different market nearby.

  2. Except men at that time often worked long hours often in dangerous jobs working complex assembly lines and while repetitive it was still a complex job. There were also jobs in mines where many would die from the work there were also plenty of psychological problems that came with the jobs men often worked. Women had t pretty easy. Sure cooking cleaning etc isn’t easy and I’m not saying a woman needs to be in a kitchen or house they are welcome to do the jobs men did but most of the time the woman would chose the house job because that is the safest and coziest place for them as well as mentally and physically.

  3. Regarding the point made at the end: Only with UBI, strong unions and nearly complete excision of corruption from politics would this hand-waving “utopia” of “freedom” and “enlightenment” BS come about, lest nearly everyone slide into destitution of living into more-or-less favelas or on the side of highways as is happening now, while a few people controlling the intellectual property and means of automated production become trillionaires.

  4. People are criticising this video and are saying it Radical Feminist propaganda when in fact it’s a Marxist Feminist video criticising Capitalism.

  5. It is more like government managing country/states as they have to up keep both end of economics IU industry and consumers rather than corporate scenario where the only motive is profit till anyone find out the impact of over production or production menthods and thus regulaised or scrutinised.

  6. shouldn't the woman be paying it cause if they switch places the bills would go to her cause she now works in the factory and gets the money

  7. um ok…
    you do know that there is such a thing as ''suplie and demand''. so if there was no buyer for 7/10, those 7 wouldnt be made.
    and as for the '' women will have to show them''… i am fairly sure an human with a half decent brain can know that making 10 cakes is too much, because most peopol will roughly know how much theyre own family eats.
    i suppose this was all suppose to be clever but it ended sounding stupid and slightly sexist to me…

  8. A needlessly condescending way of raising an interest viewpoint on capitalism based on one’s personal experience in the kitchen.

  9. This is more about the fear of industrialisation and the understanding that capitalism was going to swamp the world in products it doesn't need, which is exactly what it has done. Pollution would not have occurred if not for the greed of businessman and the disregard for the resources they have and the idea that the earth, like milk and eggs, will expire.

  10. Looking at these comments are embarrassing. God forbid someone animates A Modest Proposal lol. (pls do though)

  11. Woman stay outta my kitchen what I would say 😁 but yes at work I work with machines with them man a two women work hard doing multiple jobs because machines make it easy to reduce labor costs and boost profits

  12. I don't like at all how this idea was exposed.
    What it's been proposed is an utopia anyway, even with all the machinery, some work is required, so it means few will work for everyone.

    So, like communism, good idea but it will never work.

  13. I'm sorry but this is bullshit and just socialist bullcrap. if you worked less to produce enough to supply what people realy need to consume then you would need less workers and those workers who are now unemployed cannot afford to consume what they need beacouse they are unemployed this would leed to a spiral that would end with mr jones in an empty factory unemployed making consumer goods for himself. this is why socialist countries are so poor they are kept a float only by the recourses that lay within them you can see this when the soviet union collapsed after the price of oil dropped so low it killed the soviet economy which was propped up only by the income it got from its oil.

  14. Another flaw in Joan's plan is necessity and waist control. If Joans had spent the time preparing a ham or a roast, instead of ten cakes , he would have had enough food to feed his family for 2 weeks or a week depending on the size of the family. By making more cakes then needed, he not only wasted precious time but also resources. The eggs,milk, and flouer(used instead for bread) he waisted could have fed his children breakfast for weeks. He also made the terrible mistake of over indulging his market (the children ) with his product (the cakes) leaving a surplus that would cost alot of money by going to waist. The thing you learn when you're a wife and mother in training 😉💖

  15. But what if a man was in the kitchen and the woman was at work does that mean the man has to educate the woman about capitalism???

  16. 1:23 As if he would do that in the 30s, psh. Hed probably just call his wife stupid and tell her to shut up and make him dinner.

  17. so the idea is that we are making more than needed and we need to fix this

    or it's a gender equality vid i have no idea

  18. Morning till night doing home chores ??? I have only a broom and I'm both working/studying/keeping my house clean.
    "B b b b but cleaning the home and cooking is a full day job….." Fck off.

  19. Someone told me men do more work. We go hours all day cleaning and cooking, looking after the kids.

    WE. DON'T. GET. PAID.

  20. Summary of ways wives disrespect their husbands:
    – Implying he is not (sufficiently) competent
    – Rejecting his choices
    – Telling him what to do and what to think / bossing him
    – Undermining his authority as a father
    – Implying he is not a good father
    – Making it clear that she does not see him as an equal when it comes to parenting
    – Implying he is not enough sexually
    – Withholding sex from him, for whatever reason
    – Implying he’s not providing enough financially
    – Not acknowledging for his hard work / providing for the family (or doing it very rarely and briefly)
    – Taking control of the family/marriage
    – Making major decisions without his input
    – Gradually and constantly changing her/his perception of reality to suit their needs of the moment (‘gaslighting’)
    – Criticizing and insulting him
    – Asking him to do something, then doing it her self before he has a chance to do it
    – Mothering and smothering him
    – Second guessing him
    – Correcting him when he’s telling stories
    – Making light of something that he think is important
    – Refusing to apology or conditioning the apologies
    – Saying ‘I’m sorry but …’ [reiteration of the original complaint/disrespect]
    – Lying to him
    – Taking credit for things he did
    – Treating him like he is her personal assistant
    – Spending too much money
    – Nagging, because she doesn’t trust he will do what he said he will; on his own time and in his own way

  21. The problem with capitalism is that it makes rich people richer and poor people poorer. Now the only problem is that there is no other good economic ideology

  22. Supply and demand is kind of like a wavelength, the less supply, the more demand, but as the supply to meet the demand gets higher, demand gets lower, meaning that supply gets lower, meaning that demand gets higher…

  23. How long ago do you think-? How big did you thin-? How much food d-? See y'all dragging it but sure so much work psh

  24. The free markets don't demand you to take more than you need, besides surpluses are good for a rainy day.

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