Sunday, March 8, 2009

Vatican: Women's liberation and washing machines

Wow. According to the official Vatican newspaper, the washing machine has done more for women's liberation then working in the workplace or contraception. Money quote:
As International Women’s Day is celebrated, the Vatican had a novel message for the women of the world: give thanks for the washing machine. This humble domestic appliance had done more for the women’s liberation movement than the contraceptive pill or working outside the home, said the the [sic] official Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano.

“In the 20th century, what contributed most to the emancipation of Western women?” questioned the article. “The debate is still open. Some say it was the pill, others the liberalisation of abortion, or being able to work outside the home. Others go even further: the washing machine.”
It amazes me that the Catholic Church, an ecclesiastical and hierarchical structure chalked full of dudes, has the audacity to speak about what does or does not constitute women's liberation. And we weren't exactly expecting the Vatican to glorify contraception by any means were we?

(h/t The Huffington Post)

11 comments:

Katie said...

I, too, give thanks for the washing machine. Every afternoon, right before I put on my pearls and apron and get my man's martini ready for when he comes home, and right before I make him a sandwich and try to pray away my most recent unwanted pregnancy.

Truly, these people are visionary.

Anonymous said...

There will never be women's liberation as long as we are not allowed to say the mass.

It makes me wonder, if they would have let women become priests a long time ago, if there would have been so many children raped "in the name of God."

Shame on those who hid the child molesting priests and 'passed trash.' I am praying that there really is a hell, so they will have somewhere to go.

Let us be truly liberated and let us become priests in the catholic church. Then we will send in Lorena Bobbit to handle the others...

CWPNRG? said...

Ignore the source and focus on the idea. The washing machine has greatly simplified the washing process, allowing women to do other things. I wouldn't say it's absolutely the number one thing for women's liberation, but it's definitely a great improvement.

Mandy said...

Just one point. "There will never be women's liberation as long as we are not allowed to say the mass." I would argue that Catholics allowing women to be priests would not be a great form of women's liberation. A patriarchal antiquated organization letting you be a part of the club is not something you should wish. Especially considering their stance on reproductive issues. Their basic stance is that women should not be allowed to have sex unless they are willing to bear and raise a child. These are not the people we should be looking to as any kind of indicator of women's rights.

Matt F. said...

Sorry, just posted under my wife's name. I am pretty sure she would endorse that, however.

Matt F. said...

One more quick point to CNPWRG: I think you miss the underlying misconception with the washing machine idea. The supposition is that the washing machine saves women a lot of time, because the supposition is that women are the ones who are, or who should be, washing all of the clothes. I did all of my own laundry for years, and still do a significant amount of laundry. My Dad always did a lot of laundry when I was growing up. So the idea the the washing machine helped women carries with it the assumption that women are more responsible for laundry (and possibly other household chores) than men. So why isn't the washing machine a device that helps male productivity (since we can do laundry faster also) rather than a tool that lets women go to work? It isn't the idea that's the problem, its the underlying assumption.

CWPNRG? said...

"So the idea the the washing machine helped women carries with it the assumption that women are more responsible for laundry (and possibly other household chores) than men."

The idea that the washing machine helped women is accurate because women were more responsible for laundry than men. That's the way it was, even though we don't like it. Your dad and my dad are the exception rather than the rule.

matt said...

first, i love the level of discourse - "raped in the name of god"? give me a freaking break, lady. only god is infallable, priests are not, and neither is the church.

second, it's seems to me that the statement was anecdotal, and in a way, correct. forget matt f. and his feigned shock that people assume women do more laundry - it's a fact home boy. a fact, i might add, that isn't necessarily a bad thing (see my third point).

third, what is also a fact is that women are at their highest rates of depression in recorded american history. why do you think that is? they have everthing they want, right? they can be CEO's, they can have sex whenever they want it, more and more men are doing laundry like matt f. does, so what gives? i submit that it is because women have been tricked by the "liberation" movement into thinking that the same thing that brings men happiness will bring them happiness, esp. with regards to work status, sexual freedom, and domestic divisions of responsibility. and no, i am not suggesting that doing laundry makes women happy. what i am saying is that a job does not fulfill a woman in the same way it does a man (i'll leave it to you to figure out why, but there are many books on the subject). and that being a slut makes her feel bad about herself, unlike a man who can more easily brush it off. and that creating a warm and inviting home for her family can actually be way more rewarding than making spreadsheets in a cubicle while their child is in daycare.

women's liberation is a joke. it started out as a noble cause - we would like to be treated equally. who can argue with that? any real man treats women with the utmost respect and a woman should have the freedom (of course) to do whatever she wants. but she's been duped. and the women's lib movement has turned out a generation of women who don't know how to be happy and who are more depressed than ever before, and a generation of men who don't know how to be men. and by the way, God help us all when the current crop of high school girls make it into our society.

sorry for the tangent.

Matt F. said...

Wow, Matt, you certainly paint with a broad brush. I am sure many women find it hard to find as much meaning in a job as many men. I am also sure that some women find a whole hell of a lot more meaning in their job as many men. And this is the point. Women don't have to work outside the home because of women's liberation, they have the choice to pursue a career and find whatever makes them happy.
(One quick aside: I am sure women are more often diagnosed with depression now than they were before women's liberation. I am sure everyone is. People weren't often diagnosed with depression in the forties and fifties, they were just sad housewives with a bunch of kids and asshole husbands who didn't do housework.)
Also, how nice it must be for you to be able to blame women's liberation for women in the workforce. Maybe we should acknowledge that the vast majority of families can no longer exist on a single supporter. I assure you that if my wife decided she wanted to stay home every day and do housework and I had to work a second, and probably third job, she would do all the laundry. There are, I am sure, many women who would like to stay home with the kids who have to work. Most families need two incomes in order to exist, much less have any extra savings or send their kids to college.
On the flip side, just because there are some women who would be happy to stay at home and could financially do so, does not mean that all women would be happy doing that. My mother stopped working when we were born, and as soon as we were in school started working the night shift so she could work while we were asleep and sleep while we were in school. Not every woman is content to only have her husband and her children in her life. Some women actually want to make money, be productive and socialize outside of their homes, and contribute to the society at large. It isn't about saying what a woman's role should be, it is about empowering women to choose what they want their role to be. Men have that choice as well. Many women would not want the life that you have proscribed for them, and I would not want to be married to a woman that did. I guess I have forgotten how to be a man.

Katie said...

Matt F:

Thank you for this comment. I was going to respond with something in a similar vein, but much less diplomatic.

Thanks for taking the high road for at least one of us.

Mandy said...

I hope that Matt without the F. is doing that thing where you say something that's asinine just to get a rise out of people.

The fact that there are people that still think the way he seems to makes me throw up in my mouth.