A 1968 advert in a women's magazine imitates a wedding
photo: a beaming bride, her handsome groom and the essential third
partner in the relationship, a gleaming cooker. This image of domestic
bliss seems a million miles away from today's relationships and home
life. Almost half of all women work outside the home, increasingly
we co-habit or live by ourselves, and only 49 percent of us marry.
The families that we live in and the relationships we choose are
more diverse and complex than those imagined in the adverts of the
1960s. They are messier, harder to describe and explain but are they
better for it?
A 2005 survey for New Woman magazine claims young women
aspire to reclaim more traditional family lifestyles, rejecting the ‘Superwoman'
role model of their mothers' generation. Ninety percent of women
polled wanted children within wedlock and over two thirds believed
that the man should be the main breadwinner in a family. Are we returning
to the values of the 1950s?
But in the 21 st century are women disillusioned with organised
politics? Young women are amongst the section of society least likely
to vote and women are unlikely to join political parties. Is there
anything for women left to fight for?