The Open Mind – Is Marriage Obsolete? with H.R. Hayes – Helen Gurley Brown – Betty Friedan – Ashley Montague – 1965 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Is Marriage Obsolete? In 1965 it was a legitimate question and along with just about every other long-standing institution, was the object of scrutiny over its values and its relevance in the 60s. Along with the explosion of Youth culture came a reassessment of our value system in general – things we held sacred or those things we did because we always did them and never thought to evaluate or question motives.
It was all fair game now – and one of the biggest questions was that of marriage. Was it still relevant? Was it an institution that had long-since lost its sanctity? That morals were changing – that traditional roles were changing. Women were entering the work force at an ever-increasing rate – women were entering college and no longer content to assume the long-standing traditional role of housewife, leading many to start questioning the presence of the “glass ceiling” and discrimination to those wanted more than taking dictation and making coffee.
On hand for this discussion, and its fascinating from a historic point of view, is Helen Gurley Brown, author of Sex and The Single Girl – Sex And The Office and later, editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine – Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique and one of the founding figures in the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s – also participating are H.R. Hayes, writer and cultural historian and author of The Dangerous Sex – and Anthropologist Ashley Montague.
Less than five minutes into this discussion it becomes glowingly apparent (some 60 years later) of just how charged these issues were at the time and how deep the resistance was to change on any level. Brown is all for preserving the status quo while also promoting a level of promiscuity that would cause most to wince today. It is also apparent of just how much of an uphill fight Friedan was in store for as the Women’s movement gained traction. Montague is dismissive, treating Friedan as something akin to a curio and Brown as a notch above cartoon character.
The one hour discussion solves no issues, but exposes just how complicated the whole issue is – and just how much resistance (by both men and women) to anything that sought to change how we lived and related to each other there was.
Take a listen and dive into history of human relationships, as presented on this episode of The Open Mind broadcast sometime in 1965.