I’ve led a charmed life. Despite being born the year Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, my sex has never been an impediment. I grew up believing I was man’s equal. My dad’s attitude to foreigners sometimes gives me pause, but he’s certainly not sexist. He was delighted to have two daughters and no sons. At school, my left-handedness caused far more consternation than my gender. I spent 20 years working at an organisation primarily staffed by females. Admittedly none of them ran the company, but some came pretty close. Being a woman hasn’t affected my career. Having children hasn’t either. I bore two babies while editor of Woman’s Day. And I’m married to a man who believes I could conquer the world if I put my mind to it. Which means I’m pretty oblivious to things like glass ceilings, subjugation and sexism. When they raise their ugly heads, I get quite shocked. It startles me in the same way as racism or bullying – it’s so ridiculous, it literally doesn’t compute. But I’ve been thrown for two anti-feminist loops this week. The first came when I discovered that a woman at the Sprogs’ school, which is situated in the inner-suburban ring of Sydney (edging towards Asgard, but still pretty close to the epicentre) isn’t allowed to go to class mums’ dinners. As in, her husband won’t let her. Fark me drunk. Seriously? It fills me with white-hot outrage. What a terrible way to live – him treating her like a chattel, her letting him (or feeling so trapped that she puts up with it). Then, on Twitter the other night, I mentioned that Husband had shorted our electricity and stuffed the computer while doing his ironing. And one of my Twitter followers expressed flabbergastion (I made that word up) that he ironed. Now, she may simply have meant that she was shocked he didn’t use an ironing service. I forgot to check. But perhaps she meant women usually do the ironing? Now that’s a bizarre concept. I don’t even do my own ironing, I rely on my body heat to relax the creases. I’m certainly not doing Husband’s. Especially not his business shirts. Business shirts suck big time. Besides, he’s a big boy, he’s perfectly capable of ironing his own shirts. Although I could do without him disabling the computer in the process.
So now I’m thinking: Am I living in a fairyland that’s not inhabited by vast swathes of the female population? Am I deluded about my gender’s status in Oz? Do you – or women you know – feel obliged to iron your partner’s shirts or obey his every command? Would you let your husband/partner to ban you from socialising without him? Please, set me straight.