1930s Marital Scale

Quite late with this one but..

Someone has created a quiz based on the 1939 marital rating scale designed to help rate the quality of your spouse. Interestingly, the initial coverage of this only lets you know you can rate your wife.

Rest assured that you can rate your husband too.

The scales draws on the opinions of over 600 couples in the 1930s and what they most frequently voiced as flaws and virtues in their spouses. These, plus the expert opinion of Dr. George W. Crane, in his judgement as a psychologist and physician, are what are especially important in marriage if you want to make it both permanent and happy. He also claims it is is a good guide to qualities to look for in those contemplating matrimony.

So with all that build-up, here it is.

An interesting aspect of this test, from a feminist perspective, is that if you get rated as a Very Poor (failure) wife, as I did, you can retake the test as a husband and come out as Very Superior! (And men who score as Very Superior husbands can retake the test as wives and may come out as Very Poor wives)

Another thing you can gather from this test is that the concept that women have to ‘do it all’ is not a new one, unique to the last few decades. Wives in this test, have to be responsible for the family and house, be active in women’s organisations, go to Church, urge success on her family, play an instrument, have a certain level of self maintenance (looking bad, lazy or unusual or sexual are heavily penalised), enjoy sex and get a job to help support the home.

Scans of the original test can be found here.

4 thoughts on “1930s Marital Scale

  1. A Labour Law Prof of mine once asked members of her class to raise their hands if their grandmothers worked outside the home. The majority of the class raised their hands, including me. By the 1950s, it was more unusual for middle class women to do so, including mine. But my grandmother worked for more than a decade past the age of “retirement”. Because she had to and, at least in part, because she wanted to. I suspect she would also have met the criteria for a “superior” 1930s wife.

  2. OK, This is just creepy. It seems I am a superior 1930s wife!!!! Must mend my ways– will start by wearing red nail polish (rather than none) and walking around the house in stocking feet rather than barefoot or in slippers. Will also find a tattered housedress to wear instead of these old T-shirts. Eek!! Efeesh, you have seriously damaged my sense of myself!

  3. I got 98 for husband, but only 7 for wife! (and I was being generous on the wife stuff: my ‘women’s organisation’ is a rugby team, and my instrument is bass guitar). My husband got 75 for husband, and 21 for wife.

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