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The 21st Century Radio Homemakers

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Lately I have been getting more and more questions about blogging, such as: “Why do you blog?” and “Why do people send you free products to review?” and “How much time do you spend blogging each day?” and “What do you write about?” and my personal favorite, “Why would anyone want to read THAT!?”

And that’s a legitimate question, I suppose. In fact, I often wonder that, myself. Why DO you people hang around, anyway?

There is a perception that blogging is a waste of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere, and I can’t deny that I’ve wondered from time to time if what I do is frivolous and vain. Let’s face it; I don’t exactly tackle the most substantial issues here on Musings of A Housewife. But I read something last summer that gave me purpose for blogging and the confidence to expand my blogging horizons.

I picked up Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg for some light vacation reading material, and I was surprised and delighted to learn about the radio homemakers of the early twentieth century.  Here is an excerpt.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, as more and more electric lines were strung down county roads to farmhouses, the long, lonely days of isolated farmwives living far away from their nearest neighbors were suddenly filled with warm and friendly voices. They were the voices of other women coming into their homes via the radio. As early as 1924, women all over the Midwest known as “radio homemakers” began broadcasting, supplying the wives with new recipes, tips for raising children, household hints, gardening advice, local news, and entertainment, but most important, a daily visit from a good friend.

You know what that is, don’t you — the very first blog! An ordinary housewife having a voice in the media is not unique to the 21st century. The biggest difference I can see is that women in the ’20s and ’30s were probably getting a lot more housework done as they listened to the radio than we are sitting in front of our computer screens.

Of course the age of the radio was replaced by the age of the TV, and you know what that brought with it — the morning talk show. Think of it this way, women used to sit down with their morning coffee and watch the Today Show. Now they sit down with their morning coffee and read blogs. In fact, studies show that Americans get a substantial amount of news and information from blogs. As a result, blogging has become a legitimate media outlet.

Mom blogging has so many different facets, and everyone’s reasons for blogging are different. Some desire to keep a family journal for their own records as well as to keep in touch with friends and family from afar. Some mom bloggers are in it for the social outlet; our society can be very isolating at times, and blogging brings women with similar interests together. Some mom bloggers are professional writers or aspiring writers, and they blog for the practice and the exposure.

But mom blogging isn’t really a new phenomenon at all, and it can be a valuable means of communication. If anything, it just goes to show that women will always find a way to connect with one another through whatever media outlet is available. I guess that kind of makes us the radio homemakers of the 21st century.

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16 thoughts on “The 21st Century Radio Homemakers

  1. As an American living in another country, it also brings a taste of home into our flat! I appreciate reading, thinking, mulling over, discussing issues in English.

  2. Love this post! You are so right and it is fun to see how women have connected through history. Women need to connect and blogging is one more fun way to do it visually and verbally.

    Have a good day! I’ll be in counseling class, then acting class. Maybe someday I will actually attend a writing class!

  3. What a great perspective! I have often been put off by people asking me about blogging, then saying something like, “Well, I would never have time for THAT! I have so much real work to do.” After asking me about my blogging, one of my friends who homeschools even said to her husband, “See, honey, that’s what moms do when they send their kids off to school.” Right in front of me! I’m so glad I read this, because it speaks to a greater purpose.

    Every time I get an email from a friend or stranger saying that they identified with something I wrote, I realize that it’s worth it.

  4. I too sometimes feel bad about the amount of time I spend blogging and reading blogs. Then I remember why I started my blog – to help my family stay close to what I was experiencing as a pregnant woman and to have a journal for my daughter to go back and read when she is older. I crave stories from my childhood and my mom remembers so few. I want my daughter to know what her early life was like.

  5. I love that you made this connection and posted about it. The power of woman bonding and working together is so wonderful and blogs are such a great outlet for both of these things.

  6. I did not know about the radio housewives! The similarity with blogging is very interesting – there does have to be a balance, of course, but it’s so nice to know that people don’t really change all THAT much! 🙂

  7. I AM SOOOO happy you wrote about this. I get the same questions from my friends ALL THE time. I have friends that spend a lot of time doing other hobbies to document their families activities. Others find themselves isolated and don’t know how to reach out. Anyway, I want to pick up that book. Sounds good and thank you for making the comparison.

    I am so linking this post. It is really good. I think a good one to put in My Best Musings for you. What a great way for others to understand why you blog! 🙂

  8. Jo-Lynne,

    That’s the first time I’ve called you that….I am not sure I can do it. It’s kind of like calling your best friends Mother by her first name after 25 years of formal greetings.

    But I digress….

    I think you are right on in this post. I read Standing in the Rainbow several years ago (or maybe it was last week, who really knows?). I loved that book and blogging is our “Neighbor Dorothy”: a conduit to reaching others we might not have the opportunity to reach!

    Great post! I may have to link to it!

  9. loved, Loved, LOVED…and L-O-V-E-D-!-! that Fanny Flagg book and think of it all the time when I am aimlessly wondering through my brain to find something to dish about. She lives in my heart. She was a good momma wasn’t she?

  10. Wow, what a great post! I am so thankful for my bloggy friends who keep me sane amidst the dirty diapers, laundry, and bad hair days. I hardly ever watch tv any more (except for Lost and Eli Stone, which are Tivo’d), so yes, I get most of my info from blogs. Or hubby bringing home news of the outside world.

  11. This was a great post. I found it via Dandelion Dayz. I’ve really been thining a lot about this topic lately for myself personally and your post inspired me to continue, thanks!

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