The Vault

Should You Be A Wife or a Career Woman? Take This 1950s Magazine Quiz.

The Vault is Slate’s history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here.

This quiz comes from The Girl Friend (And the Boy Friend), an early-1950s magazine for young women. Titled “What Are You Best Fitted For: Love or a Career?,” the test asks readers to answer a string of questions about situations and preferences. A preponderance of “No” answers marked the reader as destined for marriage.

The questions are none too flattering to the prospective “career woman,” who, the test assumed, hated men (“Are you convinced that men are, for the most part, basically bestial and have very few finer feelings?”) and sex (“Do you find the idea of sex so distasteful to you that you don’t want to discuss it or have it discussed?”) 

There are few traces of The Girl Friend on the Web, but here is a cover from 1952, showing how the publication offered dating advice with a side of salacious speculation. Sally Edelstein, the artist and writer who scanned this copy of the magazine and wrote about it on her blog, identifies The Girl Friend as a pulp publication, printed on cheaper stock and sold at a lower price than its glossy cousins. 

In its approach The Girl Friend appears to represent a departure from earlier romance pulps, like Street & Smith’s Love Story Magazinewhich ran from 1921 to 1947 and was fairly clean in its approach. To audiences also reading the new mass-market teen magazine Seventeen (which began publishing in 1944), The Girl Friend must have looked like a spicy alternative. 

The Girl Friend (And the Boy Friend), 1953.

Courtesy of Envisioning the American Dream.