Once upon a time, the role of a housewife was as clearly defined as the grooves in a vinyl record. Fast forward to the 2020s, and the concept of a housewife has evolved into a multi-faceted, dynamic occupation.
From Groovy to Trendy
Join us as we time travel through the decades to compare the lives of Boomer housewives with their Gen Z counterparts highlighting 12 groovy-to-trendy differences.
1. Fashion Fabulous
Boomers: A housewife in the 1960s was always dressed to impress, sporting a stylish dress, kitten heels, and a perfectly coiffed hairdo.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife is all about comfort, rocking leggings, oversized sweaters, and a messy bun, with the occasional TikTok-inspired outfit change.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the popular “messy bun” hairstyle that many Gen Z housewives sport can be traced back to the 16th-century “chignon”, a hairstyle popular among European nobility?
2. Dishing Up Dinner
Boomers: 1960s housewives cooked up meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and Jell-O molds, following the pages of their trusty Betty Crocker cookbook.
Gen Z: Modern housewives whip up plant-based meals, avocado toast, and acai bowls, with step-by-step instructions from an Insta-famous food blogger.
Fun Fact: The Betty Crocker brand, used by Boomers for their recipe guidance, is a fictional character created in 1921 by the Washburn Crosby Company to give a personalized response to consumer inquiries.
3. Technology Takeover
Boomers: The 1960s housewife relied on her trusty rotary phone and the mailman to stay in touch with friends and family.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife is constantly connected via smartphone, social media, and video calls, with virtual assistants like Alexa helping her manage her busy life.
Fun Fact: The rotary phone that the Boomer housewives relied on was first introduced by Bell System in 1919, while Alexa, a Gen Z favorite, was introduced by Amazon almost a century later in 2014.
4. Supermarket Sweep
Boomers: The 1960s housewife shopped for groceries in person, carefully selecting each item and chatting with the friendly butcher and cashier.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife adds groceries to her online cart, scheduling them for delivery or curbside pickup, while utilizing meal-planning apps to save time and money.
Fun Fact: The first online grocery shop was made available by the UK supermarket, Tesco, in 1996. This early version of online shopping was a far cry from the sophisticated apps and delivery systems we have today.
5. Taking the Cake
Boomers: The 1960s housewife spent hours in the kitchen, perfecting her pineapple upside-down cake or Baked Alaska for the neighborhood potluck.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife turns to her air fryer or Instant Pot for quick and easy treats, sharing her creations on social media and trading recipes with fellow foodies.
Fun Fact: Pineapple upside-down cake, a favorite of the 1960s housewife, saw a resurgence in popularity in 2020, likely due to people seeking comfort in nostalgia during the pandemic.
6. Movin’ and Groovin’
Boomers: The 1960s housewife kept her home spotless with a vacuum cleaner and a feather duster, dancing to tunes on her record player.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife enlists the help of a Roomba and smart home devices, jamming out to Spotify playlists as she goes about her chores.
Fun Fact: The Roomba, a popular cleaning aid among Gen Z housewives, was first introduced by iRobot in 2002. Since then, over 20 million units have been sold worldwide.
7. Career Choices
Boomers: A 1960s housewife often devoted herself entirely to her family, with few options for pursuing a career outside the home.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife has the freedom to balance family life with a career, remote work, or entrepreneurship, thanks to advances in technology and evolving social norms.
Fun Fact: As of 2021, 42% of U.S. businesses are owned by women, many of whom balance their career with their duties as a housewife. This contrasts sharply with the limited career opportunities available to women in the 1960s.
8. Entertainment Extravaganza
Boomers: The 1960s housewife gathered the family around the TV set for the latest episode of “I Love Lucy” or “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife queues up Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu for a family movie night or binge-watching the latest hit series.
Fun Fact: The longest-running scripted TV show in history is “The Simpsons,” which debuted in 1989. In contrast, the longest-running show in the 1960s was “Gunsmoke,” which ran for 20 years from 1955 to 1975.
9. Keepin’ It Green
Boomers: The 1960s housewife wasn’t as environmentally conscious, with a preference for disposable items and single-use plastics.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife is eco-friendly, using reusable bags, composting, and embracing a zero-waste lifestyle, all while educating her family on the importance of sustainability.
Fun Fact: The idea of “Zero Waste” was first introduced by Dr. Paul Palmer in the 1970s, who was looking for ways to prevent chemicals from being wasted. It has since evolved to include all types of waste prevention and reduction strategies.
10. Parenthood Perspectives
Boomers: The 1960s housewife followed strict parenting guidelines, adhering to traditional roles and expectations for her children.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife embraces a more flexible parenting approach, prioritizing open communication, self-expression, and mental health while encouraging her children to challenge societal norms and follow their passions.
Fun Fact: The term “helicopter parenting” was first introduced in 1969 in Dr. Haim Ginott’s book, “Parents & Teenagers”. This contrasts with the more hands-off, self-expression encouraging approach of Gen Z parents.
11. Social Scene
Boomers: The 1960s housewife formed her social circle through neighborhood gatherings, bridge clubs, and PTA meetings.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife builds her community both online and offline, connecting with like-minded individuals through social media groups, virtual book clubs, and mommy-and-me yoga classes.
Fun Fact: The term “PTA”, which stands for Parent-Teacher Association, was first used in 1924 to describe formal organizations composed of parents, teachers, and staff that is intended to facilitate parental participation in a school.
12. DIY Décor
Boomers: The 1960s housewife added a touch of flair to her home with hand-sewn curtains, macramé wall hangings, and kitschy ceramics.
Gen Z: The 2020s housewife gets her inspiration from Pinterest and Instagram, creating trendy gallery walls, repurposing thrifted furniture, and indulging in a bit of plant parenthood.
Fun Fact: The term “slacktivism”, often used to describe online activism popular with Gen Z, was coined in the mid-1990s to refer to “feel-good” measures in support of an issue or social cause that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction.
Betty and Belle Can Learn From Each Other
Boomer and Gen Z housewives each bring valuable insights and experiences to the table (figuratively and literally), providing opportunities for mutual learning and growth.
In an ever-changing world, the role of a housewife will undoubtedly continue to evolve, fueled by the time-honored tradition of older women teaching younger women – and younger women continuing to embrace the advancements women before them have worked hard to make happen.
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This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.