Rebellion in the Kitchen
(Reprinted here from The Daily Bugle, April 4, 1969

Kentucky has its own neo-feminist movement in an agency, or clique or kaffeeklatsch or something, called the Governor’s Commission on Women.

We were vaguely aware of the movement’s existence. But we didn’t realize until we read that dispatch from Frankfort last Monday that it has no less that 22 members and is headed by a militant activist named Marie Humphries, who goes about the Commonwealth stirring up delusions of grandeur among the ladies of the Bluegrass.

If we read the Frankfort dateline with comprehension, Mrs. Humphries and her latter-day bloomer girls are agitating for:

  • 1. Abolition of the word “housewife.”
  • 2. Reversal of “a feeling of conditioned inferiority in women.”
  • 3. Development of something called “female potential outside the home.” (This is doubletalk that readily translates into taking jobs away from men in business and industry and letting the housekeeping go.)
  • 4. Eventual takeover of the state by women through infiltration, guerilla tactics and possibly even violent overthrow of the male establishment.

In our opinion, the Humphrigette Movement is a dangerous manifestation of emerging womanpower. We can’t believe that Governor Nunn actually gave his blessing to these subversive advocates of back-seat power–unless, of course, he did so in a moment of weakness while under the complete domination of his admittedly charming first lady, Beula Nunn.

If the Kentucky Un-American Activities Committee can not cope with this threat to Kentucky manpower, then the non-distaff people are going to have to consider something drastic.

Like, maybe, going underground. Just temporarily, of course. It wouldn’t do for the housewives to imagine that they had buried all of the husband-types.


  • Reveal the film clip on Marie Humphries from Dreamers & Doers: VOICES of Kentucky Women

  • Read more about Marie Humphries
    Marie Caldwell Humphries (Jefferson County) was the only girl in her graduating class of 10 students in Wren, Miss., at a time when girls weren’t expected to benefit from education. Marie was the valedictorian, an early sign she was destined to change the way society viewed the role of women. Marie entered business school, and after one year she landed a job as a secretary at the U.S. Air Force Base in Columbus, Miss. Because she was such a quick study, Marie was consistently promoted, and by the war’s end, she had earned a top specialist position and a commendation by the secretary of war. Marie was a devoted mother and wife, but in later years, she became a business owner, civic and political volunteer. It was in politics that Marie found her niche. She approached then-candidate Louie B. Nunn about crafting a woman’s platform for his campaign. Marie wrote the content, but her main objective was to begin to prepare him for the next request she would make if Nunn was elected – to issue an executive order making the existing Commission on the Status of Women a permanent agency of state government. Gov. Nunn honored her request after his election. Marie was appointed as the first chair in 1969 of the newly formed Commission on Women and became an outspoken advocate for changes in the way women were viewed in society. She led the Commission to join with the Pro-ERA Alliance to advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In an era when an agency devoted to women’s issues was somewhat controversial, Marie’s leadership and ability ensured the continuation of the Commission on Women to see its 50th anniversary.
    • Download the Classroom Discussion Guide
    Books, articles, dissertations and films not produced by Kentucky Commission on Women Foundation or Kentucky Commission on Women are independent works from other authors and listed merely as resources for further study. Any views expressed in these publications are not necessarily the views of Kentucky Commission on Women Foundation or Kentucky Commission on Women.