Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On the TV portrayal of the "Strong Woman"


I’m curious about “outspoken” not being male-gendered in the 40s. I was born in the seventies (in Peru, but still) I was taught that because of my mouth I would never meet a man that would put up with me. I was told to expect my husband would have a mistress, but it was okay as long as he took care of us and the kids. I was also taught to get up first thing, iron my father’s clothes, go through the buffet line up to three times (first for husband, then for kids, then me) at weddings, like my mom, and most of all to never ever shout at a man unless I wanted to be beaten. This was what I heard from my aunts, uncles and my male cousins. Even my dad. My mom was the only one who didn’t suscribe to this.

Now granted, I don’t follow any of those, but it was definitely not a plus to be an outspoken woman in the eighties and I was ‘threatened’ with no spouse (because that was supposed to be the zenith of my wants) because no man would put up with a girl who wanted to “carry his balls” (because being outspoken=for men) so I am curious about how liberal it was in the 40s here (and a bit jealous).

And of course this is all anecdotal, but what you said stuck with me.