G.D Anderson (via agentsofsheild)
I’m not a feminist…not really an anything ‘ist.’ I broadly identify with this statement though and the same applies men. If a man is sensitive or expressive, it doesn’t make him feminine or ‘metrosexual.’ It’s not about what is, nor about changing the way the world views something, it’s about taking responsibility for our own views, and maybe, changing them.
Continuing on from my previous post about dreams, I give you a melancholy Sigmund. Have you ever seen a sadder face? I have a little Freud action figure sitting on my computer and my son ‘borrowed’ it to bring it to school one day. He thought it would make for interesting conversation and wanted to take it into his AP Psychology course. In the car he mentioned that his teacher, a feminist, is not a fan of Freud, and had a greater appreciation of the female psychologists. Some mother’s have to confiscate drugs and alcohol - I confiscated Sigmund in my son’s best interests. I said, “You may not bring Sigmund Freud to school,” words I would never have imagined saying while performing the school run.
(Click on the source link to view previous post and for image source, click on link:
Let’s play a little game, it’s called, “A Good Man.” Imagine a man of middle years, single and secure. He has a rich life behind him, has made his mistakes and learned. He has nothing to prove to anyone except himself, he wants only to be able to live with himself and his conscience and to do the best he can. He’s intelligent, kind, wise, and can laugh, even at himself. He’s acquired this on the path behind him and he’s looking forward to the what’s ahead. The next part is a gift - he knows himself well and is inwardly secure. I will tell you right now, this is a rare man and if you find one you are fortunate. Now imagine for the purpose of our game, that this is not a man but a woman instead. She has all the same attributes that the man has. She has had a similar journey and collected valuable lessons and skills along the way, just like the man. She too knows herself and is inwardly secure, she has nothing to prove to anyone. She is not quite as rare, I can think of a number of women that fit this description. The interesting thing is that the more secure she becomes, I don’t mean stridently feminist, man hating (not that feminists are), ‘men are all bastards’ secure. I mean real, quietly sustaining you security, balanced and non judgemental, one who doesn’t need to take anyone down in order to elevate themselves. What happens to this treasure, this wonderful woman? Most men are threatened by her as it makes them feel insecure and many women too. She is alone. What is a Good Man - he’s a gift and a treasure and a Good Woman is a threat and alone. What do you think?
"If statistics in the U.S. are representative of other countries, almost 90% of laundry is done by women. The average American family foes 8-10 loads each week. Were all of that to be done by hand, there would be no time for much else, not even to complain about inequality."
© S. Marian, July 3, 2012
An excerpt from “Liberty is a Washing Machine,” to be found on “A View From Outside the Box,” url: a dialogue
Listen to Mitzi Gaynor, doing a different kind of wash. This is the full audio of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” from South Pacific. It’s a bit choppy, switching back and forth from the old production but is worth seeing.
"Before twin tubs or mangles there were just tubs, no running water, gas or electricity - needing plenty of time and hard labour. A single load involved boiling, rinsing and you would need over 50 gallons of water to do that one load. This had to be transported from pump or well or possibly the tap to whatever receptacle you were using. Consider the carrying, lifting heavy water and water sodden clothes, sheets and all in the days of weighty wood and cotton and voluminous clothing."
"It’s apparent that labour saving devices such as washing machines have liberated us in one regard, probably freeing us up for other work and expectations that ensnare us in different ways."
© S. Marian, July 3, 2012
Take time out to read this piece about the one object the Vatican thinks has had the most profound effect on liberating women - “Liberty is a Washing Machine,” to be found on a “View From Outside the Box,” url: a dialogue
The piles of unwashed laundry are getting frisky. They sit in the corner looking innocent enough, but as soon as I turn my back they’ve multiplied. Despite training everyone in the house to use the washing machine, I tend to be the only one who possesses the initiative. According to the L’Ossovatore Romano, the newspaper of the Vatican, the single most influential factor in the emancipation of women is the washing machine. I don’t agree with this statement as it conveniently downgrades the impact of birth control on women’s lives. Setting aside the emancipation question for now, what about the humble washing machine – how did it get here and how has it affected our lives?
The first English patent for a washing / wringing machine was issued in 1691, a device a little more primitive than we’re accustomed to today. Early machines tried to imitate the motion of hands on washing board. Observation of life on the high seas demonstrated the effectiveness of agitation – sailors would hang their washing overboard in a cloth bag, the dragging motion and water forced through it rendering the clothing clean. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Canadians for the invention of the first agitation machine around the 1920’s. In an age of greater equality, one would think that such a labour saving device would be saving the labour of all – not so. If statistics in the U.S. are representative of other countries, almost 90% of laundry is done by women. The average American family does 8-10 loads of laundry each week. Were all of that to be done by hand, there would be no time for much else, not even to complain about inequality.
You would imagine then, that every woman would be delighted to own a modern washing machine…I once had a boyfriend who watched his elderly Mother struggle with the wash, first in the twin tub with laborious manual filling, putting laundry and detergent in and waiting for it to agitate sufficiently, then draining it and doing the whole business again and then, into the spinner to further rinse and wring out the water. That wasn’t enough because then she’d put it through the mangle. The mangle took the rest of the water out before the laundry could be hung to dry. Her son bought her a surprise one day, a modern, time saving, space saving washing machine - which she refused to use. I guess she didn’t like the change. She kept it next to the twin tub and mangle, a pretty cloth draped over it like a coffin at a wake. It would eventually become a convenient counter surface for sorting the clothes on.
Before twin tubs or mangles there were just tubs, no running water, gas or electricity – needing plenty of time and hard labour. A single load involved boiling, rinsing and you would need over 50 gallons of water to do one load. This had to be transported from pump or well or possibly the tap to whatever receptacle you were using. Consider the carrying, lifting heavy water and water sodden clothes, sheets and all in the days of weighty wool and cotton and voluminous clothing. I didn’t always have a washing machine and can sympathise with these early women. Some of my years in Scotland were spent in a small caravan without running water or electricity. That was fine I thought at first, there is water all around me, I’ll simply take my washing to the nearby shore. Don’t ever try this! The first discovery was that detergent (which is also not great for sea life) or ordinary soap doesn’t lather with seawater. While I was figuring out this conundrum I placed my knickers and socks in the water to soak, forgetting the most important thing. I was not in a pool or tub but in the sea, a body of water subject to tidal flow. My knickers and socks were flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, on their way to Ireland or who knows where. Eventually I developed a solution to this problem much like women of the past.
I started collecting rainwater in big barrels and this was the beginning of a remedy. It took some planning but with time and soaking I was able to get through my wash. Many years later, I still had an unusual appreciation for the washing machine due to my caravan experience. What a miracle it was to simply put the wash and detergent in and press a button. One morning some years ago I was gathering wash to do exactly that, put a load on. I left the door of my front loading machine open while I nipped upstairs to the children’s rooms to get their wash. Having found nothing, I came back down and closed the door, pushed the button on and then went to have a soak in the bath. Half an hour passed and then I came out, wondering why I hadn’t heard the washing machine. I looked at it and it seemed fine, it was on and I couldn’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be running. I bent down to look in the window and saw, on top of the pile of wash, our small kitten and she wasn’t moving. The next five minutes were tense as I tapped on the glass, wondering why she wasn’t moving and waiting for the time lock safety device to let me open the door. When I heard the click of release I threw open the door and pulled, a very dazed looking cat out of the wash. She had simply gone to sleep. It was just as well that I came out when I did because I also found out that while she was moving, the load was not evenly distributed and this safety device saved her. The machine would not run with an unevenly distributed load. In a few minutes she would have been washed. She must have climbed in while I was upstairs looking for laundry. In my home it’s now standard to check our machines for cats before we turn them on.
Despite these traumatic experiences, I still really value the convenience of a washing machine. Today I read about Ida B. Wells, an amazing heroine of American history and worth looking up. When she was quite young herself, both her parents and one of her siblings died of yellow fever. She was determined to keep the family together and worked very hard to do so. In her words,
“I came home every Friday afternoon, riding the six miles on the back of a big mule. I spent Saturday and Sunday washing and ironing and cooking for the children and went back to my country school on Sunday afternoon.” We have it easy comparatively, although we still like to complain.
It’s apparent that labour saving devices such as washing machines have liberated us in one regard, probably freeing us up for other work and expectations that ensnare us in different ways. I know I wouldn’t like to go back to a scrubbing board and the hard graft of hand washing. Interestingly, James Dyson, inventor of the famous Dyson hoover and other machines, claims that 15 minutes of hand washing cleans clothes better than one hour in the best German machine available. He says that hand washing flexes the clothing, which machines cannot do. Don’t despair; there is hope as he also says that he has invented a machine that does precisely this.
Washboard: An often wooden or glass board with ridges, of which the fabric can be rubbed up and down vigorously against to scrub and it release dirt.
Twin tub: A machine with two built in basins, one for washing the clothes in requiring the addition of water by hose, the other which spins, for rinsing and wringing the clothes out.
Mangle: A device consisting of two rollers and either a handle to crank it or an electric device. The clothing is put between the two rollers and the water is squeezed out of it.
Ida B. Wells: A crusader for justice and defender of democracy. She was described as a militant and uncompromising leader for her efforts to abolish lynching and establish racial equality. She challenged segregation decades before Rosa Parks, ran for Congress and attended suffrage meetings.
The Daily Telegraph, March 9, 2009
© S. Marian, July 3, 2012
We were wrong! It’s not equality or the vote that we should have been fighting for and burning our bras was just a waste of good engineering. For real emancipation, all we required was washing machines! Next time you’re feeling stifled, as if the distribution of labour in your home or work is unbalanced, when you feel as if your voice is not being heard - just do a load of wash, that’s true freedom!
If you’re not too busy striking a blow for freedom by doing the laundry, read, “Liberty is a Washing Machine,” to be posted on Tuesday, July 3rd on “A View From Outside the Box,” url: adialogue.
Tomorrow we return to Victorian times. We aim to discover what this lovely lady looks pleased about, what is putting that slight smile on her face? We look at the context of her life, the attitudes that shaped it and we laugh, oh yes we laugh. Why? We laugh because behind that demure smile she has a secret, not even fully understood by herself but nonetheless, a secret.
Go on, have a laugh and read, “Something For The Coffee Table,” to be posted Tuesday, June 5, on “A View From Outside the Box,” url: adialogue.
John, in more ways than one you have really made my day. Thanks for the thoughtful comments which I will post below and thank you also for the wonderful link. Read this one everyone, it will suprise you in the best possible way. I honour and salute you Zarifa Qazizadah - you are my idea of a hero.
From John and in response to “Good Women Have Their Reward”:
"But are we so different to other animals, are we geneticaly predisposed to certain roles, childbirth is one, but what if there are more subtle genes, genetics and hard wired programmes that we have yet to discover.. just because we "can" does it mean we have to?
Certain studies find some societies with clearly defined gender roles have less stress and less mental and social disorder…
My wife wants me to do the ironing rather than cut the wood for the fire, however she will not cut the wood…..
I think we try too hard to change rather than just settling into a natural role…”
And a bit more in response to my commenting that women should be able to perform their role without being invalidated or subjugated, as it seemed they were in Victorian times…
"I think "subjugated" is a modern issue, even American Indians, Aztecs and Eskimo’s had well defined roles but I would say that natural ability is far more important in these societies closer to - "nature" for want of a better word, I think modern culture and society may be doing women no favours."
"I think that link (click on link at the bottom of the photo for the article) may be closer to what would have been possible if religion and society did not stifle , I was going to say women but it is probably true of us all…"
Now that you’ve enjoyed John’s thoughts and many thanks again John for sharing them, click on the link and read the most fascinating story about my new hero, Zarifa Qazizadah. She has become the country’s (Afganistan) only female village chief through force of personality and determination to get things done- even if that means cross-dressing, wearing a false moustache and driving around on a motorbike at night. (BBC News Magazine)
In two days it will be Leap Day, a once in every four year occurence. It’s thought that in 1288 Queen Margaret of Scotland passed a law, that if a man refused a woman marriage then fines would be levied. Compensation ranged from a kiss to £1, to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow.
In Denmark a refusal would cost you 12 pairs of gloves, and in Finland, fabric for a skirt.
Marriage in a Leap Year in Greece was considered unlucky and one in five couples avoid getting married in a leap year. (I wonder how they “polled” for this statistic?)
I don’t think the message of emancipation for women is to do as Amy Adam’s character did in the movie, “Leap Year;” jump on the next plane out to greenest Ireland and find yourself a man. This sounds much like the actions of the heroine from my current story.* Real emancipation and what I propose should be the message of Leap Year is to do what you really want to do. Push yourself that bit more, step out of the familiar and comfortable and grab what you need from life - make it happen! Don’t let another four years roll around and find yourself saying, “I wish I had.” Just do it.
(* “People Tend To Run When Chased,” Part One and Two to be found at “adialogue”, Part Three will be published tomorrow.)