#stayathome...so now everyone's place is in the home!
I named this podcast Woman's Place because I wanted to reappropriate the phrase and make it a positive way of talking about the near-infinite possibilities available to women and girls today. Don't get me wrong, there are injustices, inequalities, and inequities all over the world. Slavery still exists. Trafficking is still a huge problem. I wouldn't begin to minimize the impact of these negative things on a woman's experience. However, I do want to emphasize the realm of possibility for women today.
Next weekend, Episode 2 of Woman's Place Podcast will discuss woman's place, the history of sphere as a concept, and how ideology has and hasn't changed over time. So, I wanted to share some quotes about woman's place and woman's sphere on this blog as a teaser...
"Woman's primary place is in the home, where she is to rear children and abide by the righteous counsel of her husband." -Bruce R. McConkie
"A woman's place is in the home. Why should she go out and take away a workingman's pay instead of staying home and stealing out of his jacket like a good wife." -Sam Levenson
Some of these quotes, which you can find online, are said in jest. Some stem from truly authentic sentiments. One impactful poem, which we'll definitely talk about in Episode 2 of Woman's Place Podcast, is Patmore's "The Angel in the House." Here's an excerpt:
"Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman's pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself.
How often flings for nought, and yokes
Her heart to an icicle or whim,
Whose each impatient word provokes
Another, not from her, but him;
While she, too gentle even to force
His penitence by kind replies,
Waits by, expecting his remorse,
With pardon in her pitying eyes;
And if he once, by shame oppress'd,
A comfortable word confers,
She leans and weeps against his breast,
And seems to think the sin was hers;
Or any eye to see her charms,
At any time, she's still his wife,
Dearly devoted to his arms;
She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone."
In response to this poem and to her experience in life, Virginia Woolf wrote that "killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer."The Victorian's definitely solidified the ideology of the "ideal woman," confining her to the home, submissive to the men in her life, and self-effacing above all else. It's this kind of popularized ideology that brought forth the fights for equality that have been at the forefront of women's minds ever since.
In fact, Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a journalist, and political theorist, said,
"It was not seen that woman's place was in the home until she began to go out of it; the statement was a reply to an unspoken challenge, it was attempted resistance to irresistible change."
Somehow, though, decades later, may people hold fast to the fact that woman's place is in the home. American wrestler, Jeff Jarrett is credited with saying,
"I was always taught that a woman's place was in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, and I'm a firm believer in that."
Additionally, in 2010, Reuters did a poll on whether people agree that woman's place is in the home. The result is that 1 in 4 people do agree that woman's place is in the home. We'll talk more about this in this week's episode. That's actually not a large proportion, but it was still a surprising result for me.
Interestingly, with the recent lifestyle changes we've all be adapting to, not only women have been confined to their homes. Everyone has...and everyone is getting stir crazy. This is a time to reflect on the existences of women who came before us. Women for centuries did exactly what we've had to do these last two months, stay at home for the most part, educate their children from home, cook and clean, etc. But this time, hopefully, men are pitching in, understanding what it's like to have your sphere limited. And hopefully, we'll all come out of this even more appreciative of the freedom women fought for for so long. We all can go to work, go to school, socialize, shop, explore, hike, achieve, etc.
Altogether, it brings me back to my tagline...Woman's place is wherever she wants to be. Let's talk this weekend about how we got here after centuries of confinement and restriction.