While the '129 ways to get a husband' might feel like satire now, it was published as a serious article back then.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 10, 2020. It has since been updated.
When John Bascynski spotted a vintage McCall magazine from 1958 at a yard sale, he was intrigued. As he flicked through the pages, he found an interesting article titled 129 Ways to Get a Husband and he pointed it out to his girlfriend. The magazine cost a dollar and they bought it. His girlfriend, Kim Marx-Kuczynski, had a good laugh reading it. The elderly people always talk up the "good ol' days" and this rare peek into the past would give her a perspective on what it was like back then, especially for a woman. Marx-Kuczynski read the "129 ways" and was amused because the advice doled out was bordering on ridiculous. Marx-Kuczynski, who hails from Madison, Wisconsin, posted the images from the magazine on Facebook and said they did have a good ol' laugh but it also highlighted the sexist society women had to combat (and to a large extent, still do) on a daily basis. One of the ways to get a husband was to "stand in a corner and cry softly."
The article started as, "In the United States today, there are sixteen million women over the age of seventeen who are not married. Presumably, the vast majority of them would like to be." Marx-Kuczynski spoke to Bored Panda about the post and the article in question and said it reflected the times back then. "My boyfriend John Bascynski spotted it at a rummage sale and pointed it out. I bought it for a dollar. I think the article is reflective of the social mores of the era, and I found the comparison between what was acceptable then and what is acceptable now fascinating. It also made me grateful that so much progress has been made," said Marx-Kuczynski.
Marx-Kuczynski said the article highlighted the kind of hardships the previous generations had to go through. "It's outdated and absurd and funny, but it had serious intentions. Society has changed so much in the last sixty years, and this article exemplifies the differences between what our moms and grandmas grew up with compared to ourselves and the coming generations. It's fascinating," she said. So when we look back at the "good ol' days" we'd do well to remember they might not have been good for all.
Women only got their voting right in 1919 after Congress signed the bill into law and even then the Senate passed the bill only by two votes, reported MSN News. Even then, this privilege was only extended to White women. Five years later, Native American women earned the right to vote. It would be almost another 40 years before Black and Latinx women were allowed to vote after President Lyndon Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law, prohibiting voting discrimination based on "race, color, or national origin." While the law granted the African-American community the right to vote, voter suppression is still rampant to this day.
While the article not only throws light on the oppression women faced, it also serves as a reminder to continue to fight for equality. The article was shared more than 17,000 times and had 4,800 comments. The comments were largely from women with Kari Yalte stating, How far we have come. Omg. Teresa wrote: Wow! That was the year I was born. My mom would have read that. So funny but very disturbing... just wow! LaTara Rivers commented: Number 14 killed me!! Do you mean to tell me I gotta get a job overseas to get a husband??? Babyyyyyyyy! Oh, that was bullshit bullshit. Joan, a woman who reportedly lived through that age added, I do remember lots of advice in magazines on how to treat a husband, such as have his dinner ready and his slippers as soon as he came home, and don't forget the lipstick. My Grannie's advice was to just put the cloth on the table and lay some knives and forks: it then looks as if you have done something towards dinner!