I’d like to think we’ve come a long way in women’s equality since the 1950s. Where we used to be expected to stay at home, barefoot and pregnant, cooking our husbands’ meals and ironing their clothes while simultaneously raising their kids and cleaning the house, we’re a bit more evolved now. That’s why it’s so bittersweet to hear that a 30-year-old woman quit her job to do exactly those things because “men should be spoiled by their wives.”
Katrina Holte used to have a pretty OK job. She worked as a payroll officer at a busy company but after marrying 28-year-old Lars, she decided she’d had enough of the “stressful” work life and instead decided to quit so she could look after her husband full-time.
Looking after Lars is a full-time job. She gets up at 6:30 a.m. every morning so she can lay out her husband’s clothes before getting into the kitchen to make him a fresh breakfast and pack his lunch for the day. Once he leaves, she begins her day of cleaning, ironing, and even prepping his dinner so that it’s promptly ready for when Lars comes home from work.
Katrina has always wanted to be a housewife. “I feel like I’m living how I always wanted to. It’s my dream life and my husband shares my vision,” she says. “It is a lot of work. I do tons of dishes, laundry, and ironing, but I love it and it’s helping to take care of my husband and that makes me really happy.”
She insists Lars isn’t making her do any of this and he wouldn’t be upset if she didn’t. “My husband is very appreciative of what I do. He grew up in a house where he helped his mum with the cooking and the cleaning, so he is not domineering in any way. He’s the most gentle person I have ever met. If I did, heaven forbid, have dinner late, he would not make a fuss, but I can tell it means a lot to him that it’s normally on time.”
Katrina thinks men deserve to be spoiled by their wives. “He looks tired when he comes in from work, so when the table is set and decorated and the candles are lit he relaxes. He’s happy for the evening. I think a man needs his wife to make him feel spoilt every once in a while.”
She’s taking the 1950s housewife thing to the extreme. Katrina has begun making her own 1950s style dresses to wear around the house and has even furnished their place with vintage furniture to complete the look. “I can feel like I was born in the wrong decade, especially when I look at everything that is happening in the world now,” she explained. “I feel like I belong in a nicer, more old-fashioned time. But I know everything happens for a reason and it is God’s will that I’m here now.”
Katrina cooks vintage recipes, wears vintage clothes, and even does vintage exercises. Katrina says that she doesn’t subscribe to the modern approach to exercise which encourages you to “push your body to the limit” but instead she does “a lot of stretching, warming up or ‘limbering up,’ as they would say back then.” She also wears “a full face of vintage makeup” and uses “traditional rollers” to curl her hair in addition to her vintage dress collection.
She’s an old-fashioned woman who was feeling burnt out by modern life. “I agree with old-fashioned values, like being a housewife, taking care of your family, nurturing the people in it and keeping your house in excellent condition, so everyone feels relaxed,” she said. “My new life started in September 2018, after I left my job, which was starting to wear me down. I was getting tired and I wasn’t living up to my own expectations. I spoke to my husband and told him I want to be a housewife and he said that was fine with him.”
Katrina has a new job of sorts: selling her dresses to customers around the world. She actually worked as a part-time seamstress for about a decade, making her more than qualified to make and sell her designs. “It was a fantastic feeling when I quit. I can do what I want to now and run my house as I want to run it. Now I’m a full-time homemaker,” she admitted.
She claims that at the end of the day, her husband is serving her. “He would never expect this from me, though, it was entirely my idea to live like this. It’s always been my dream since I was a little girl,” she says. “In a way, Lars is serving me, because he makes a lot more money than I do and he knows this is what I want to do in return. He works very long hours and makes my dreams come true, so I try to make his come true, too. It’s an equal partnership. I’m outspoken and I’m definitely not a repressed woman.”
At the end of the day, isn’t feminism about freedom of choice? While this may seem totally crazy, not to mention very outdated and repressive to some, if taking care of her husband and embracing traditional gender roles makes her happy and works for their relationship, isn’t that all that matters? Feminism is about women having the choice, and this is hers.
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