An Ideal Woman and Why We Hate Her

Oh, don't you look  so smug in your perfection!

Oh, don’t you look so smug in your perfection!

“. . . she carried out her duties as mistress of a small family with ‘piety, patience, frugality and industry’. Moreover,

‘… her ardent and unceasing flow of spirits, extreme activity and diligence, her punctuality, uprightness and remarkable frugality, combined with a firm reliance on God … carried her through the severest times of pressure, both with credit and respectability …’ (The General Baptist Repository and Missionary Observer, 1840).” bbc history of victorian women

Here’s why we don’t like you, dear: You make us look bad–and selfish. You save money, dress with no hint of muffin-top or dirty flip-flop feet and in general seem to  actually take your place in society seriously.

 

We moderns scoff at manners and “rigid” rules. You see the value in a well-run household. And damn those studies that actually prove children thrive  in predictable, nurturing settings! And the homemade family suppers you insist upon–turns out you were annoyingly right about them as well.

 

Keeping busy at the church? Statistically people who attend church regularly are more active in their community so just being spiritual doesn’t seem to cut it. As much as we brow beat you, dear, and try to convince you that being an office manager is as important as raising the next generation of adults and that being a salaried employee automatically makes you happy and that free love and the abandonment of your place as moral arbiter will make you EQUAL to men, you demur with that look of placid innocence we despise.

 

You don’t have to have rabid Facebook wars–pro-choice vs pro-life–that honestly would make you sick. You give us that scolding look that shows how shocked and dismayed at how hostile and ugly we’ve allowed ourselves to become. At least pretend to have some manners, you say. Our language shocks you and how we laugh when children repeat it!

 

You’re not sure you believe in evolution at all. Unless there’s a species that devolves. You wonder at how often we speak of happiness instead of goodness and we laugh at you mockingly. If there’s no such thing as truth then there’s no such thing as goodness. You’d know that if you were paying attention to something other than being perfect.

 

You look at us like we’re mad.

 

Books I’ve Known And Loved

Liberation or degradation?

Liberation or degradation?

I bought this little book for research. What rules were ladies expected to follow in the 19th century? Admittedly, I fully expected to find it quaint and amusing. What I didn’t expect was how some of the chapters would lead me to question some of our accepted though crass behaviors of today. I didn’t expect to be challenged by the author’s polite though pointed suggestions about the power and importance of civility. The expected knowledge of German literature (in the original) took me by surprise, as well.

In short, the women who aspired to be ladies had very high standards. What are our standards today? Are standards undemocratic? What do you think? Do you have a truck driver’s mouth and a sailor’s brain?

Some silly advice. Some thought provoking questions.

Some silly advice. Some thought provoking questions.