“[The] housewife is a nobody, and [housework] is a dead-end job. It may actually have a deteriorating effect on her mind…rendering her incapable of prolonged concentration on any single task. [She] comes to seem dumb as well as dull. eing a housewife makes women sick.” ~ Sociologist Jessie Bernard in The Future of Marriage, 1982.
“Housewives [are] an endless array of ‘horse-leech’s’ daughters, crying Give! Give! — [a] parasite mate devouring even when she should most feed [and who has] the aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig.” ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relations Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution, 1898.
” We must now say proudly and without any exaggeration that apart from Soviet Russia, there is not a country in the world where women enjoy full equality and where women are not placed in the humiliating position felt particularly in day-to-day family life. This is one of our first and most important tasks…. Housework is the most unproductive, the most barbarous and the most arduous work a woman can do. It is exceptionally petty and does not include anything that would in any way promote the development of the woman…The building of socialism will begin only when we have achieved the complete equality of women and when we undertake the new work together with women who have been emancipated from that petty stultifying, unproductive work…. We are setting up model institutions, dining-rooms and nurseries, that will emancipate women from housework…. These institutions that liberate women from their position as household slaves are springing up where it is in any way possible.” ~ V.I. Lenin, The Task of the Working Women’s Movement in the Soviet Republic , 1919.
” The chief thing is to get women to take part in socially productive labor, to liberate them from ‘domestic slavery,’ to free them from their stupefying and humiliating subjugation to the eternal drudgery of the kitchen and the nursery. This struggle will be a long one, and it demands a radical reconstruction, both of social technique and of morale. But it will end in the complete triumph of Communism.” ~ V.I. Lenin, International Working Women’s Day Speech , 1920.
“A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism…the [housewife’s] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable…. [W]oman’s work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a ‘career’ for woman.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949.
“[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife.” ~ Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963.
“[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.” ~ Gloria Steinem, “What It Would Be Like If Women Win,” Time, August 31, 1970.
“[The husband’s work] provides for greater challenges and opportunities for growth than are available to his wife, [whose] horizons are inevitably limited by her relegation to domestic duties. [This] programs her for mediocrity and dulls her brain…. [Motherhood] can only be a temporary detour.” ~ Nena O’Neill and George O’Neill, Open Marriage: A New Lifestyle for Couples, 1972.
“Women owe Frieden an incalculable debt for The Feminine Mystique…. Domesticity was not a satisfactory story of an intelligent woman’s life.” ~ Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life, 1996.
“Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession… The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn’t be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that.” ~ Vivian Gornick, University of Illinois, “The Daily Illini,” April 25, 1981.
“[As long as the woman] is the primary caretaker of childhood, she is prevented from being a free human being.” ~ Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, 1969.
“[A]s long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed…. No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, “Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma,” Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.
“Feminism was profoundly opposed to traditional conceptions of how families should be organized, [since] the very existence of full-time homemakers was incompatible with the women’s movement…. f even 10 percent of American women remain full-time homemakers, this will reinforce traditional views of what women ought to do and encourage other women to become full-time homemakers at least while their children are very young…. If women disproportionately take time off from their careers to have children, or if they work less hard than men at their careers while their children are young, this will put them at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis men, particularly men whose wives do all the homemaking and child care…. This means that no matter how any individual feminist might feel about child care and housework, the movement as a whole had reasons to discourage full-time homemaking.” ~ Jane J. Mansbridge, Why We Lost the ERA, 1986.