The family wage system was always where the man was the breadwinner and the female was the homemaker. In the 1950s, man was supposed to marry and support children and wife. If a man didn’t do this, they would be considered “immature” and “irresponsible” or even “homosexual.”
The author begins her argument with a discussion of some ''early rebels'': the Gray Flannel Dissidents of the 50's, for whom ''conformity'' was a code word for male discontent with the demands of careers; the purveyors of Playboy magazine, for whom ''sexual freedom'' was code for discontent with the demands of marriage; and the Beats, who resented the demands of both work and marriage. Miss Ehrenreich is at her best here. Playboy (whose very name, she observes, ''defied the convention of hard-won maturity'') was not the voice of the sexual revolution, which accelerated in the 60's; it was the voice of the male rebellion, which had begun in the 50's. ''The magazine's real message was not eroticism, but escape ... from the bondage of breadwinning. Sex - or Hefner's Pepsi-clean version of it - was there to legitimize what was truly subversive about Playboy. In every issue, every month, there was a Playmate to prove that a playboy didn't have to be a husband to be a man.''
Grey flannel rebels lamented male discontent as “conformity”… home was a burden. Playboy was a forum where males rebelled against sharing earnings in traditional marriage. Hefner said that one male could be single and use wealth for personal pleasure – buy consumer goods and attract women for sexual relationship without the long-term commitment. Beatniks rejected both jobs and marriage… stress of male could lead to coronary heart failure. Marriage viewed as financially burdensome and sexually repressive.
In 1970s, ideology of male liberation articulated past male discontent. Breadwinner ideas was broken by liberal, middle-class reform (alimony reductions and no-fault divorce laws) with rewards for a better relationship,...