Woman who quit work to become a 1950s housewife hits back at feminist critics

Caroline Allen
Jayne Hall was previously a career woman. (PA Real Life)

A woman who claims she’s never been happier after quitting her job to become a 1950s housewife has hit back at critics who describe her as “anti-feminist”.

Jayne Hall, 45, who studied at a Japanese university, decided to become part of a growing movement known as “tradwives” - short for traditional wives.

The movement has already attracted over 16,000 posts on Instagram, with women picking homemaking over careers.

Traditional wives choose to be homemakers in the more old-fashioned sense, conforming to gender stereotypes we might’ve seen in the 1950s, with men going out to work while the women stay at home to do the domestic chores.

She used to work as a retail manager before COVID-19. (PA Real Life)

The retail manager turned swim teacher took a career u-turn during the coronavirus pandemic and she found herself stepping into this traditional role.

Hall enjoyed it so much that she no longer wants to return to work.

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Some people believe that Hall’s move into a more traditional housewife role is “anti-feminist” with “outdated” attitudes, to which Hall fought back.

“I am very grateful to women who have fought for equal rights and know that sexism still exists in the world, but that’s not what is happening here.

“Being a tradwife, making my family home lovely and having my partner’s dinner on the table when he gets home from work is my choice – not his. Living this way makes me happy.”

“I’m not being held back, and I’m certainly not disrespecting feminism by being a tradwife,” she added.

“As women, we should understand that it’s about choice. There is no one set way to be a woman and, just as I don’t belittle women who go to work, they shouldn’t belittle me.”

She said being a tradwife doesn't make her anti-feminist. (PA Real Life)

As a retail manager, Hall would regularly return from work after 10pm “mentally exhausted” with little to no time for family bonding with her children and husband, Allan, when she returned.

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“I’d be completely drained after each day, then coming home to more work like lesson plans, as well as seeing to the house and kids.

“Eventually, I went down to working part-time hours and I loved being at home more.

“Allan is not a man who thinks the woman should do the housework. Of course, he would help out, too, but as he worked full time, practically, I was at home more and so it made sense for me to take on the bulk of it.”

When Hall handed in her notice at the beginning of 2020, she had visions of opening her own swimming school, but after enjoying her time at home so much during lockdown, she has changed her mind about her previous ambitions.

“I feel mentally much better and on top of things more. The house is tidy, the garden looks lovely, the kids are happy and I’m more able to support Allan, who has a stressful job,” she said.

Hall wears 1950s clothes and even buys 1950s homeware. (PA Real Life)

As well as behaving like a 1950s housewife, Hall dresses like one, too.

“People will tell me they love the way I dress, and ask if I do it every day,” she explained. “Men are more gentlemanly – they’ll hold doors open and so on.

“Older people in particular really like it. They tell me it’s nice to see somebody dressed so beautifully, and that it reminds them of when they were growing up.”

Hall also gave us a look at her everyday routine, which begins by getting up and making the family breakfast. After that, she will go and make all the beds which are made up with vintage bedding, including wool blankets and a feather eiderdown.

After getting ready, she’ll do the laundry, housework and any other household chores that need doing.

She spends her afternoons gardening or baking before starting the evening meal for her family.

“I wish I had started living this way years ago. I’ve never been happier,” Hall admitted.

“Being a kept woman is seen as lazy, or old-fashioned, but I have had the opportunity to be whatever I want, and I choose this.

“I feel lucky to be able to be at home to care for my family, and know women today have much more choice and freedom than they did in the 1950s.”