Among casualties of the ongoing war on femininity are traditional feminine hobbies and pastimes, such as all sorts of needlework and coffee clatches. In fact, women are often shamed for participating in things like that. Sitting at home knitting while children are at school? What are you, a granny? Nothing better to do? Why don't you go find a job?
Any form of females gathering together during the day is considered to be highly suspicious, unless they are over the retirement age. Career women and church fundamentalists unite in unrighteous anger accusing such ladies of idleness. If you don't have a formal job, you are supposed at least to have some decency not to flaunt it and as for enjoying your freedom, forget it! That's what home businesses and ministries are for.
It's like 1960s feminists created a stereotype of a tired, overworked, haggard-looking homemaker only allowed out of the house to do her weekly shopping and now everyone agrees that it's exactly how a housewife should aspire to live.
Of course, when we examine the evidence left over from more traditional times, we'll see that though ladies normally took pride in keeping a clean house, cooking nutritious meals and having well-bred children they were interested in other things as well. Shows like I Love Lucy feature homemakers visiting each other, reading books, participating in social activities, gardening etc etc.
They didn't feel the pressure of spending every spare minute working on a home business of some sort or being engaged in some ministry. And they built lasting friendships, something modern people simply don't have time for any more...
It is like we have all become working class, right? I have been reading Agatha Christie's books and miss Silver novels and once again I noticed how even after WWII it was concidere quite hard if middle or upper class lady had to do her own housework, only one woman coming from the village to do the heavy stuff on weekdays...ReplyDelete
People really used to think that middle or upper class women are more delicate, they are not supposed to be able to work as hard as working class women. People used to think that hard work kills femininity and beauty.
And nowadays people think that housewifes were neurotic because they "had nothing meaningfull to do". Like cleaning someone else's house or sitting on supermarket cashier or being a secretary is somehow more interesting and meaningfull than -well, practically being FREE. Especially those of us who have no children at home are incredibly free. I suppose that's why people loathe us so much. They envy us.
I think Miss Silver novels illustrate quite well they way the life changed after WWII. Taxes went up, it became difficult to hire domestic help. On the other hand, doing laundry definitely became easier with the invention of automatic washers and dryers:)ReplyDelete
What really changed is our perception of the woman's role. Women were not expected to do it all and they didn't. Feminists are always looking for examples of discrimination, like the fact that in UK until mid-1970s (I think) a woman couldn't take mortgage on her own name, a man had to co-sign. Of course, the reason behind was that the women weren't expected to work their whole life. They weren't breadwinners, they would marry and quit, so the bank needed some guarantee.
And yes, working women are often quite jealous of those who get to stay home, even though their life is supposedly so much better and they are empowered and stuff. But then, I noticed that people are in general very envious nowadays. Probably because sinning against the 10th commandment isn't considered a big deal any more.
Good point about envy.ReplyDelete
I found this funny article about feminine hobbies. Now I wouldn't concider pole dancing feminine hobby, but then again, very few men do that. ;) I hope.
That list I linked reminded me about other thing I have been thinking about. It seems to me, that nowadays most people think sexy=feminine=sexy. I very strongly disagree. In my opinion true femininity is never overtly sexy. One can be Marilyn Monroe -sexy but never Madonna -sexy. Or -heaven forbids- Miley Cyrus -sexy.ReplyDelete
Now I do not mean we should or dress and behave like Laura Ingalls -there is allways certain amount of sexiness in grown up women. But I just feel that highlighting that natural sexyness kills femininity -and class. It is too aggressive. I do not find Kim Kardashian feminine. :)
What do you think? Am I being too prude?
Housewife, thanks, that was an interesting link! I think as long as you are doing pole-dancing at home/for your husband it's not that bad:)ReplyDelete
About sexiness, I've been watching some 1980s British movies on YouTube and thinking about how "normal" women used to look. They wore clothes, mostly skirts, quite long and covering and blouses with sleeves plus a cardi on top. Comparing to now, they practically look like nuns...
In Miss Silver books the author often shows the negative power of female sexuality, like in The Chinese Shawl, btw.
The Chinese Shawl was my favourite of miss Silver books. And I was so clad Tanis was the victim. :) Women like that really deserve to get killed. ;) If one has allure, one should learn to use it responsibly.ReplyDelete
She did come across as a huge b****, didn't she:)ReplyDelete
Some very good points! I could do better at resting and leisure, myself. Thanks for the reminder! I especially appreciated the third paragraph... Why do I feel like if I'm not working myself to exhaustion, that I'm not worth my salt as a homemaker...?ReplyDelete
Seriously, when I'm asked what I do, I reply that I am a Lady of Leisure. After a second or two of confused or shocked silence, we both chuckle.ReplyDelete
My daughter is all grown up and in her own home so I am truly a Lady of Leisure for the most part.
And I don't feel one bit guilty. I feel grateful. I look at it this way, women generally have several years where they are run ragged with child-raising and other responsibilities so it's only fair to have some relaxing years later on. And to grab whatever relaxation you can during those hard-working years with rearing children.
Courtney, you are welcome!ReplyDelete
Dawn, imo it all comes down to the theory that women can do everything men do, only better, which means that everyone of us is supposed to live up to the stereotype of a superwoman, who has it all together: family, career, hobbies all balanced wonderfully.
The superwoman is really a myth. Women physically (and mentally) on average are weaker than men and less resilient and childbearing takes a toll on your body. A 20-year old woman (one in her prime) has lung capacity of a 50-year old man, for instance. That's why, as Finnish Housewife pointed out, in the times past men who could afford it tried to shelter their womenfolk even from heavy domestic tasks.
When I was younger, I really bought that feminist idea that women can do anything men can do. I lifted weights etc. I really tought I was so strong. Reality hit me when I went hiking with my hubby: I was really fit back then, and he had to carry my backpack at one point when I kind of collapsed mentally and physically.ReplyDelete
It wouldn't have been so bad, but my hubby is actually quite a small man. And yet he is so much stronger than me in every possible way. So I learned my lesson. :)
Nowadays I am wise enough to let my hubby open jam jars for me, even though I could open them myself. :)Men seem to appreciate that kind of ego boost. :)
Well, they say lifting weights can be beneficial but women shouldn't try to lift as much as men do. Also, when you are younger you have in general much more energy so it's easy to keep going, but you often will regret it later on.ReplyDelete
My husband is older than me but during our last vacation he showed unbelievable prowess in climbing mountains when we decided to climb up a volcano without a path. For myself, after I got down without breaking my legs i was basically fit for nothing till the end of the vacation.
I find it ironic that you were using Lucy as an example! :) You could not use todays shows about couples in such a way. But you can use a fictitious show called Lucy as back then shows were more realistic of real life. I know Lucy was wacky and we did not all go around doing many of the things she did and I would not go behind my husband's back like she did occasionally. Nor would I buy say a hat for too much money when I know our budget would not afford it as Hubby said. Yet in her ways as a wife she was more real than things are to day on tv wasn't she.ReplyDelete
I note that women do really feel anxious when confronted with extra time. They don't know what to do with themselves anymore. Where is their imagination? It left when they were raised in child care facilities and all their time was programed allowing no time to just imagine and dream up fun for themselves. You have to be doing all the time. Doing productive things that is. Not relaxing or profitable things for you or your family and friends like crocheting or such. And even then you have to have a certain way to do it..all programed. No putting your own thoughts and ways into the project.
We are creating party robots. And I don't say party lightly. We here in the states are coming close to being what some other countries are getting out of. Total socialism. The younger voters don't get taught how you live under it. They seem to want to embrace it. I even had a 63 year old tell me she was totally for it. When we all tried to explain it to her she acted like we were too old to understand. Oh we understand all right. Then she was raised pretty much in day care too even at her age. Her mother being the first wave to think working outside the house was the best way to live life and fulfill yourself. Yourself is the operative word at times.
The thought that women were not made by God to be the same as men is shoved under the table. Hidden from the light. If we embraced that and really knew it things might change and women might not get the same $ as men. We can't do that even if in many jobs we can't ever do as much as men. I know of some women who get paid the same but the kind men at their work do the work for them they cannot. Yet they say they work as hard. When they cannot lift something or such they look over and some man will help them 'just this once'. Yea sure. So you wear him out a bit and you get paid for it. But YOU did all the work each day and so MUST get paid the same. Good for him. But it seems many are forcing their selves to better pay on the backs of men who are to kind to say no. These same women who shout they can do for themselves and open their own doors and make comments about men who try to be gentlemen think nothing of using their feminine wilds to get ahead when they want to. Undoing the feminine liberation stance they had earlier. Either way the man is the looser. This is another of the upside down world we live in, We could all write books about how unbelievable this world is becoming. It has not happened over night but we do remember how things were and were for so long we thought they could never get this crazy different.
I have as usual enjoyed all the comments. each of us takes a different part of the post and presents their ideas. I learn a lot. It does make me sad though that women..and men..are loosing out so much through living like this as it is now... Sarah
Sarah, you can take comfort in the thought that if things can't go on in the same manner indefinitely, they won't. Modern progressive egalitarianism is heavily propped by the government and it takes a lot of effort and money, so the situation can't last for ever.ReplyDelete
'so the situation can't last for ever'ReplyDelete
Even the Soviet Union came down. It was quite unbelievable for those of us who are old enough to remember.
This too shall pass.
Yes, sometimes things are the certain way...right until they aren't any more.ReplyDelete
I remember the Soviet Union coming down. I was stunned. Also the Berlin Wall. I would have never guessed that would happen in my lifetime. In the past years we have all seen many historical things happen. Also many people die or been killed. Every generation has their own milestones and so does the world. But this is ours and these landmark happenings are really big to our lifetime. Unimaginable to us when they happen. To someone born 30 years from now they are just a bleep in history. They have not idea just like we don't understand things our parents saw or went through that affected their lives.ReplyDelete
I read a book about a man who could go back and forth from one time period to this one other year. Wouldn't that be interesting to actually live as others once did. Experiencing life anew but through eyes that know their history to come. One thing he noted right off was the colors of clothing worn by the people. He had only seen clothes like that in museums. Theirs were so bright. Then he realized what he had seen was old and had faded. These outfits were new and so what he thought of the colors people wore was really wrong. Well this is an all together off the subject thought!!!
Yes you are right nothing stays the same forever. Sarah