The Trump administration wants to take this country back to the 1950s, the decade when men smoked cigars at work and slapped their secretaries on the ass and wives stayed home to pop out babies. The right has created a cultural fantasy of this time period with little regard to how harmful it actually was for half the population—not only for women, but for people of color and LGBTQ people as well. But I plan on resisting this fantasy because I’m a fighter, and I will not go quietly back to the 1950s, no matter what my mid-century furniture implies.
Even though my vintage ottoman positively screams, “I’m living in a post-World War II world of tasteful minimalism,” I myself have no intention of returning to the era of food rations, McCarthyism, and sock hops. I just like the way my ottoman looks. I’ve always been a sucker for classic leather upholstery that smells like a baseball mitt, but that doesn’t mean I’m okay with basic civil rights protections being stripped from the people around me.
The Marcel Bruer Wassily lounger that I keep in the den is definitely the kind of thing a man might have laid on while reading the paper in years past, while his wife doted on him and asked him to leave him out of men’s worries, but that’s really not what I’m using it for. As a married woman in 2017 I assure you, I also lay in this chair and not just when my husband is at work. I don’t even lay in it when he’s at work because I am also at work then. I have a job. I swear. Just because I use the term den, doesn’t make me old fashioned.
I have a Formica kitchen table too, but that doesn’t mean I like anything at all about Paul Ryan or what he stands for.
The fact that I’ve modeled my entire living room after Don Draper’s office in Mad Men doesn’t counteract this in any way in spite of all the gender and racial problems of that era. I’m just a huge fan of the aesthetic, and I scored the abstract paintings super cheap off Craigslist. I inherited the blue glazed ceramic lamps from my grandma and I found geometric wallpaper at a retro marketplace, but look—none of this means I’m pining for a return to the stark, authoritarian whiteness of the 1950s, okay? But I do love the Jell-O molds.
We are not going back to the days of female subservience, despite how perfectly my home looks like it’s out of an upscale mid-century catalogue. And just because I have an Eames setu dining chair set, I also keep a dartboard of Steve Bannon’s face over my toilet, okay? My home looks very dated but I am not. I really just like the look of it all.
So no, this administration will not drag me back to the so-called “good old days” without me kicking and screaming and calling my senators all the way. Even if some days it feels futile, I’m not going to stop putting pressure on my representatives to listen to their people, because we want and deserve a society in which everyone has equal rights. From now on I’m only looking forward and toward progress, and on days I feel defeated, I’ll be blowing off some steam by hitting up my mid-century bar cart filled with throwback liquor like Seagram’s and Old Fitzgerald.