Hang on, is it the ’50s?

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.

12 thoughts on “Hang on, is it the ’50s?

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  1. ! We both do what we like… As far as ironong goes whoever has the time does it. When I was off work I used to iron and when I went back to work I refused. My daughter had the ironing as a chore for a while till she got jack of it and now my 12yo son irons hubbies work shirts for him for $1 a pop. Boy child is really not very good at it but noone will give him the sack cause then the job will have to be done by someone else!!!

  2. Off topic but did you know that Odin and his wife Frigg (!) are the rulers of Asgard? Imagine being named Frigg. Love it.

  3. No one irons in our house so I can’t comment on that part of the story. As to sexism in australia? To right it still exists.

  4. i had to buy an iron so i could put some edging i put on some shelves i put up in the kitchen (yes, of my rented house – owner doesnt care)… i just dont buy clothes that need ironing – u know me, i usually just dont buy clothes!! lol
    as to jobs – chris does more of the cooking than i do, but, he’s just quicker at it than me & im always questioning him if im doing it right, him being a cook… but, if he needed 1 of his 2 good shirts ironed, he’d do them himself (on the kitchen bench with a towel, as we dont own an ironing board! lol

  5. My husband doesn’t forbid me to do anything, but maybe he should. Our cleaner does his shirts because we both can’t be arsed. Luckily for me, he is Swedish and very ‘modern’ – which means he does more housework then me.

    When we first visited home with our baby my mum asked me “Where is he going off too?” “He’s going to change her nappy” “OOOHHHHH isn’t he just wonderful!!!!” Imagine that, a father who changes nappies too God Bless Him. But she is from another time, truly.

  6. Why on earth would you ban someone from class dinners? How hilarious. Does he think all the mums get together and plan anti-housework rallies. Or is it just because he doesn’t get his dinner at the requested time on those nights!!

  7. I’m ironing at the moment, very slowly. Between checking e-mails and reading blog posts. I wash and iron, DH cleans and does the yard, we share the cooking. I work fulltime, he’s studying fulltime by distance (I do not have his discipline) and working 1 day a week. It mostly works for us.
    I’m going out tonight – alone. He was out last night. One of my friends was having a whinge about this last weekend. He goes out, she doesn’t. A big girls night out is needed here – when it warms up a bit.

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