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Hits and Mrs.

A new generation of female bloggers is championing the importance of being a good wife and partner.

May 16, 2010|By Whitney Friedlander, Los Angeles Times

Books such as Laura Doyle's "The Surrendered Wife" (2001), that suggest women abstain from control over their husbands' lives in favor of practicing vulnerability and manners, have loyal followers, and proper wifely matters are discussed in the preachings of tough-love conservative radio host and author Dr. Laura Schlessinger (whose 2009 book was titled "In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms"). Atlantic magazine essayist Caitlin Flanagan, who is fortunate enough to be able to retain hired help to assist in the running of her domestic life, stresses the rewards of being a traditional housewife.

"The concept of the career woman has without question become the accepted societal norm, but the concept of the 'traditional stay-at-home mom' has still remained a part of our culture," says Jeremy Gutsche, founder of the online magazine TrendHunter.com.

"What has changed is that the blogosphere and social media have connected many different groups, including … those that believe in a 1950s way of life," Gutsche says. Also, "the recent recession caused people to reassess what is really important in their lives, and we've seen a rise in people prioritizing their personal fulfillment above their careers. Even if one didn't lose their job, when we see the chaos that surrounds us, it forces us to think about what is really important in our lives. This manifests itself in the form of hobbies, experiential travel and spending more time with one's family … all things that are akin to the more traditional 1950s lifestyle."

Maybe the topic is popular because it's easy to put it down?

In the Depression era "there wasn't men's work or women's work, there was only work," says Erin Bried, who went on "The Today Show" in January to promote her book "How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew," only to get a bit of backlash in the online world, possibly because the segment's title "5 Things Every Woman Should Know" suggested to some that sewing buttons, fixing martinis and hanging picture frames were women's work.

Then again, Bried recently got word that 14 bloggers whom she says seem to be from all ages and backgrounds have started the Button Club and are attempting to complete all 110 tips in her book. Perhaps they'll be done by December when Bried's follow-up, "How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew" arrives in stores.

whitney.friedlander@latimes.com

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