Evolution of Relationship Advice from the 1900’s to 2000

Cultural variables play a significant role in shaping relationship advice. Many individuals today think that women should have the same rights, privileges, and opportunities as men. As a result, the relationship advise offered today is inclusive of all genders. But twenty years ago, women were severely discriminated against and did not have the same rights as men. There was a widespread view that women should be submissive to males, that their only duty was to please their husbands, and that they should spend their entire lives taking care of their homes. The relationship counsel given at that time was influenced by the cultural context and way of thinking of the individuals.


Our society was in a fairly prehistoric stage in the 1900s. Only men were required to work and earn money for their families. Women were expected to take care of the home and raise the children. According to Emma Frances Angell Drake’s 1902 book, “What a girl should know,” a woman was expected to devote her life to childbirth and motherhood in order to earn the title of wife.


A feminist movement emerged throughout this decade, and women started to demand freedom. They desired the freedom to pursue their own interests rather than being forced to devote their entire lives to mothering and domestic duties. The liberation movement was launched by the feminist ideology, and people started going out, dating, dancing, and drinking.

Evidently, the older generation disapproved of this and started “slut shaming” the feminists. At the time, conservative relationship advice focused on how awful this culture was and how feminists were ruining the idea of marriage.

However, the society was still undergoing significant cultural shifts. The number of late marriages and divorces increased throughout this time.


Huge economic growth occurred during the 1920s, but by the decade’s end, the world economy had entered the Great Depression. Focus turned away from feminism and onto more challenging issues.

Almost all of the effects of women’s emancipation had vanished by the 1940s. Once again, relationship advice for women focused on taking care of their home. In actuality, sexism blossomed throughout this time. Women were urged to not only take care of the household duties and the kids, but also to stroke the egos of their male partners. Men were thought to have to labor extremely hard and endure frequent ego-bruises from their employers. It was the wife’s duty to uplift their spirits by submitting to them.


In the 1950s, women’s status in society and the home continued to decline. They were forced to perform household chores in seclusion, behind the walls of their homes. Promoting marriage as a “career for women” allowed relationship counselors to further suppress women. According to them, women shouldn’t hunt for employment outside the home because they have a lot of responsibilities there.

Another antiquated idea that emerged during this decade was that women alone were solely responsible for the success of marriages. It was implied that whenever a man cheated on his wife, got divorced, or got them separated, it was always because of something his wife did.


Women started taking action against their societal and domestic oppression once more in the 1960s. Women started to demand the right to work outside the home and pursue their own career goals as part of the second feminism drive. Greater marital problems, such domestic abuse, which had not previously come up, started to be explored.

The women’s liberation movement also had an impact on relationship guidance. Large publishing companies published advise pieces that supported women and were not sexist. As time went on, ideas like “a girl does not owe a boy any sexual favor just because he bought her something” started to spread.

The stigma attached to discussing sex also began to lessen in the 1960s. Numerous media outlets began to feature tips on sex and sexual wellness. During this time, society as a whole started to lose some of its conservatism.


Women began working outside the home in the 1980s. Relationship guidance was no longer mostly on household tasks and motherly responsibilities. But nonetheless, the idea of boosting men’s egos persisted. In order to make the boy you like feel better about yourself, dating experts recommended girls to act “clumsy and underconfident.”

Positive relationship advice, such as “being yourself” and “don’t change yourself for your partner,” was being provided concurrently, though.


Relationship advice advanced significantly farther in 2000. Deeper relationship issues including sexual gratification, permission, and respect began to be discussed.

Although not all relationship advice is free from sexism and stereotypes today, society and culture have undergone a significant transformation over the past century, and the majority of these problems have been successfully eliminated.