Exhibition Launched by Senator Jillian van Turnhout

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Modern Wife, Modern Life was opened at the National Print Museum on 1 July by Senator Jillian van Turnhout. We were delighted that Senator van Turnhout was available to launch the exhibition, particularly because her mum — Jenny Hassett, nee Coleman (pictured above) — was a 1960s wife and is featured in the ‘Advice for the Newly Married’ section.

Opening her speech, Senator van Turnhout explained,

This is such an interesting concept for me and a unique way of documenting a period of Irish history where woman’s lives were almost exclusively restricted to the private domain, where “traditional values” prevailed, women were legally obliged to leave their public sector employment upon marriage, were prohibited from sitting on a jury and for whom many were too young to know or remember the one and only female Minister (Countess Markievicz 1919-1922).

She also commented,

It did get me thinking about whether this stereotyping of 1960s women as domestic goddesses or wannabe goddesses is any more offensive than the contemporary media obsession about how women of all ages look and perform.

I had a look through the shelves in Easons yesterday evening to get a flavour of the messages Irish women are receiving from magazines in 2015:

“Fifty, fit and flirty”, “How to shift that stubborn baby weight”, “Science validates correlation between hair length and relationship length”, “bikini ready in 7 days”, and enough instructive material that I could re-write the Karma Sutra!!!

Have we really moved on or has the focussed just shifted from the kitchen to the bedroom and incessant talk of weight loss and the quest for eternal youth?!!

You can read the Senator’s speech in full here.