something occurred to me the other night.

the old fashioned idea of a woman’s place in society is coming back into play. You can see it in various places, if you’re attuned to it: in fashion (the current fashion for large belts, cinched in waists, full skirts and heels is just Dior’s 1947 new look revamped – and i don’t think its any accident that its hitting just as we’re heading into one of the deepest recessions for a long time), on TV – Kirstie Allsopps’s “homemade home” series being a classic example. There seems to be a rediscovery in growing your own, making do in a way that our grandparents would’ve been familiar with under the motto “make do and mend”, the whole recycling movement, in home crafts, in womanly ways. Women are starting to take a pride in looking after their home in a way that they didn’t, for many years, and it seems that, at long last, society is recognising not only the very important role they do play in providing a home for their menfolk and children, but that its okay to be “a homemaker”, a “housewife”, a “stay at home mum”, in a way that it hasn’t been for a long time.

Yes, there are a few that take this the wrong way – just as there are those greenies who use the whole green movement as an excuse to show up the neighbours and be the greenest person on the street by throwing lots of money at it all, to have the BEST compost bin, and the best recycled nappies – and who completely miss the point in recycling, making your own and creating a home from home (and much as i love Kirstie Allsopp, some of her series i’d put into that category, given the sheer amount she spends on things!) and there are certainly those who will still denigrate a SAHM, just as there are women who, when asked, will apologetically say “oh i’m a housewife”.

But, and here’s where its different to how it was 50 years ago – although things are cycling around, this time, its not something you have to do. Women are free to choose – to be the high flying career woman – but also to be the housewife. Don’t get me wrong, this world still ain’t perfect – there are still too many women who are paid less than there male counterparts for doing the same job, for example, despite it being illegal to do so – and there’s a long way to go, but after years of women feeling that they had to have a career, to be SuperWife or SuperMom, to Have It All… its nice to see the pendulum swinging back again.

And i, for one, am loving the recent fashions. Women are allowed to be women again. curves are in – and i’m willing to bet there’s an awful lot of women out there who are sighing in relief with me.

It’ll be interesting to see how the pendulum swings next. Will it swing further? will women be encouraged to stay at home, to create more space for men in the workplace, just as they were in the post WWII period? or will it swing back again, back towards the career driven, money orientated society that we saw after the terrible recessions of the late 70s and early 80s…? I, for one, hope not, but we’ll have to wait and see…

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