I got involved in a discussion on another site about whether there was ever a Golden Age of DD, when all women knew their place and wives were routinely spanked by their husbands. This period is generally thought to have come to an end in the sixties, with the advent of feminism. Seeking evidence of wife-spanking as an acceptable social practice, I found this little book by Dr. Peck, which contains several references to the subject.
In Chapter 8, Your Own Personal Gettysburg, he writes:
Remember, she may fight you like a tiger to impose her will upon you, but she hopes that you will slap her down either literally or figuratively and will be even more upset if you fail to do so. Don't apply brute force unless you are big enough to take her over your knee and spank her; a black eye may be used as evidence in court, but no woman will expose a reddened bottom to the jury.
However, Dr Peck goes on to insist that he has never found it necessary to adopted “such violent measures”. Later in the book he describes an incident where a woman patient is making a lot of fuss about being pregnant. He says to her husband(within the wife's hearing).
“She would recover quicker if you took her over your knee and lammed the daylights out of her.”
This brought a snort from above and she yelled “Him and who else? The two of you couldn't spank me.”
I threw down my hat and bag and started up the stairs two at a time. “Do you want to bet?” She retreated to her bedroom and locked the door, yelling through the crack “You're a damned old savage and I'll never speak to you again.”
Writing about women in their fifties and their tendency to create dramas about their health, he says of his wife:
She used to cuss and wish that she had never married a doctor because the other girls seemed to have so much fun having fits, and she was afraid to try it for fear of a spanking. That fear was enough, I was never driven to violent measures of any kind in our domestic relations, but I have seen plenty of other cases where they seemed justified.
I often think that spankings, either for the patient or her family, are the best possible prescription for many feminine ailments. I once lost the practice of a very good family because I would not tell a husband that it was necessary for his wife's health that she be sent to southern California for the winter. Her cousin had moved there from the East and was having such a good time that she wanted the lady to come down and enjoy it with her. She went, so I suppose some other doctor was more obliging than I was in that case, but she ought to have been spanked instead.
Dr Peck talks a lot about the benefits of spanking, and how he thinks this or that woman ought to be spanked, but he never actually does it himself, nor mentions any case he knows of where a woman actually was spanked, to her benfit or otherwise. Proof that talking about spanking women was more acceptable at this period, but neither Dr Peck nor apparently anyone he knew was actually doing it.
This book is an odd mixture of cynicism, sentimentality and sweeping generalisations. Dr peck believes firmly that a woman's place is in the home, he deplores careeer women and thinks that a woman who wants to do anything other than look after a husband and raise a family has something wrong with her. He believes that the home is the woman's domain and that a man who has anything to do with domestic tasks emasculates himself. This rigid seperation of men's and women's worlds is all quite a recent notion, in previous centuries home was as much the man's domain as the woman's, a man was expected to be involved in the running of the household, just as a woman was expected to be involved in her husband's business. What Dr Peck considers normal would not have been normal in the pre-industrial era.
Sometimes Dr Peck can be quite cynical, as when he says of women's mating instincts.
Monogamy is not a natural state with EITHER sex, but in the male its nonobservence is simply a form of indoor sport, while his partner looks beyond the moment of ecstacy and fixes her mind's eye upon the result of the union.
Dr. Peck deplores modern labour-saving devices, because he believes they leave women with too much time on their hands, and consequently they got bored and discontented with the proper lot in life , he says:
Woman has always required some activity for her hands. She cannot sit in the sun and read all the time"
(Dr Peck never met me, or he would have to revise this opinion).
Dr Peck's strong opinions were formed partly by his own observations and partly by the prejudices of his times. His book makes very strange reading nowadays, and parts of it are quite unpleasant (he can be quite savage towards any woman who doesn't fit his idea of how a real woman should behave). The book doesn't really provide evidence that domestic discipline was more widespread in the fifties, though it does show that talking about spanking a woman was at least more acceptable then than now. But a lot of the other things that Dr Peck says in his book would nowadays be considred quite outrageous, not just the spanking references, and a good thing too, in my opinion. this book is interesting in its way, but definitely a museum piece.