In daily life, the individual actor mixes one look with another, one interac­tion style or emotional ideal with another Half-wittingly, she blends parts of the two codes, or alternates between them depending on the situation at hand. Advice books do the same thing, occasionally adding other cultural elements as well. For example, Marabel Morgan’s The Total Woman draws from a traditional code, as it was known to mainly white middle-class urban women of the late nineteenth century. In both books, wives are advised to defer to the husband’s authority with good grace, and to cultivate a separate domestic presence as the “sunshine of one’s home.” At the same time, writ­ing in 1973, as a right-wing Christian answer to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Morgan drew simultaneously on the Bible and Playboy and gained notoriety for advising women to greet their husbands at the front door in a series of costumes. She says:

I have heard women complain, “My husband isn’t satisfied with just me. He wants lots of women. What can 1 do?” You can be lots of different women to him. Costumes provide variety without him ever leaving home. I believe that every man needs excitement and high adventure at home. Never let him know what to expect when he opens the front door, make it a surprise package. You may be a smoldering sexpot or an All American fresh beauty. Be a pixie or a pirate, a cowgirl or a show girl. Keep him offguard.’

chart і Gender Codes

Traditional (Hierarch

Modem (One form oj Egalitarian)


highly gender dif ferentiated

less gender differentiated

Female dress

pastel colors

subdued “male” colors

small patterns

bold patterns

smooth materials, silk

rough materials

lace, Riffles, frills

no frills

sweet-sixteen look: informal

career-woman look: business

dress or slacks for house and

suits for work, “upper-class

shopping, "ladylike" look for parties

ladylike” look for parties

high-heeled shoes

low heels

long Fingernails

short, plain nails

long hair

short hair

Interactional stvle

dissimulation, wiles, "get-

direct dealing, no wiles, (wiles

ting around men” through

considered beneath modern

indirect means, crying, playing on male sympathy

woman, “sneaky”)


deferential to men, bashful,

direct look, no blushing, open

blush easily, downward glance

“assertive expression”

face used as instrument for

masked and open emotional

emotional expression, uses “eyes”



take up as little room as

assume full size, erect posture,

possible, leaning posture, bashful knee-bend, head tilt

weight on both legs


"fish” handshake, modified version of presenting hand for ritual kiss

direct, businesslike grasp


hospitable to interruption,

discourages interruption,

use of “female” vocabulary, e. g., “lovely”

male vocabulary

Feeling rules

gender asymmetry in love,

gender symmetry in love; both

put love of man first; cultivate love, subordinate ambition

sexes rank love in same way

suppress anger, or deal with it indirectly

not good to be “clinging vine"

don’t be “too” aggressive,

don’t be “too” passive,

active, or independent



suppress initiative, try to fit

suppress passivity, try to be


“code" personality


In harnessing the notion of sexual variety from the 1960s to monoga­mous Ch vistian marriage, Morgan ironically concedes more cultural terri­tory than she intends. By fighting fire with fire, she accepts the otherwise inhospitable ideal of sexual variety into the Christian home, creating with it a new job and series of looks for the Christian wife. She thus adds to the idea of being the “sunshine of one’s home” the further idea of being playful, entertaining, sexy. It’s now a woman’s job to make monogamy fun.

In turn, important aspects of Morgan’s mix appear in Helen Gurley Brown’s 1982 Having It AU. Brown reduces the range of contexts in which Morgan’s rules of female deference to males apply and expands the range of contexts in which egalitarian ones do. She advises women on the match of context to code. For example, in Having It AU, a woman should be flattering, wily, and submissive with her new love or husband, but assertive and unafraid to be defeminized at work. Just as Morgan created a hybrid code out of the Bible and Hollywood, so Brown made a hybrid out of Morgan and Wall Street.