Krugman on the Fifties–not on Twinkies

Paul Krugman’s column in today’s New York Times is titled “The Twinkie Manifesto.” Nice headline but it’s not really about Twinkies.  Normally I wouldn’t be saying nice things about the fifties as I did in my tweet (quoted below). A lot of women who lived through the fifties would agree.  All that subtle and not-so-subtle discrimination that affected our lives and futures.  Just a few personal examples.

In high school, I wasn’t allowed to take shop —  print shop — because girls couldn’t take shop.  My father was a printer, for heaven’s sake, and I wanted to take print shop. In college (at Missouri’s journalism school), I was discouraged from aiming to be a reporter because as a woman, i would be stuck on what was then called “the society page.”  (It was the woman’s page with club news, bridal shower photos and recipes.) My favorite job at Mizzou was being co-editor of the college humor magazine Showme.  (I was of course, the first girl editor of Showme.  Guys reigned in the joke pages and at our gag meetings at a local bar.) After graduation, when I was looking for a job in “industrial journalism,” the manufacturing company I interviewed with offered me a job as a researcher.  But I would prefer to be a writer, I said.  No, we don’t hire women as writers. (Fortunately, I didn’t try for a copywriting job at an ad agency or I would have ended up as a secretary.)*  Read the rest of this entry »