Take the quiz: is your husband treated as a child?
A recent post of mine about the weaknesses of men has been picked up by the very reasonable Hugo Schwyzer, who disagreed with my conclusions about the effects of early marriage in infantilising men. Some of his commenters have, however, got rather more hot under the collar.
I was looking around for some material for a post on Seventies feminism (for the upcoming Carnival of Feminists on Sour Duck - check out the call for nominations) when I came across one of my all time second-hand bookstores best-buys, Media She, by Patricia Edgar and Hilary McPhee, published by Heinemann Melbourne in 1974. (It was practically falling apart when I bought it, but for $2 - even then - was a bargain.)
Very much a product of the early Second Wave feminism, it charts the rampant, open misogyny then to be found in the media, advertising, and other public arenas.
I'll probably be quoting more of this soon, but for an example of how society encouraged men to behave like children, I present this quiz, about "how good a wife are you, and could you manage paid work and a husband?". You are supposed to answer to each question with one of: never, sometimes, average, often, always.
1. Do you keep his clothes clean and mended?
2. Give him a good breakfast on time - and share it?
3. See he gets plenty of rest and sleep?
4. Relax with friends in the day so you can do things he enjoys together at evenings and weekends.
5. Make him feel you are really interested in his work - not jealous.
6. Co-operate sensibly in handling the pay packet?
7. Praise his accomplishments and keep quiet about failures?
8. Help when he has homework or overtime by avoiding complaints?
9. Finish as many chores as you can so he doesn't have to do them?
10. Greet him with a smile and a kiss instead of moans about your day?
How to score: Never 0, Sometimes 1, Average 2, Often 3, Always 4. You can hardly give yourself the perfect 40, can you? At best, you will probably score somewhere between 20 and 30. So pick out your low scores and go to work to improve them. And then, maybe, go out to work.
My first thought is "who was your slave last year?" my second "this is a description of a mother (of a small children), not a wife".
Now of course this is a silly magazine quiz, but it is also a careful reflection of society's expectations.
If someone continued to do all of these things for you well into adulthood, or you even thought they should, you'd probably find it pretty hard to learn to take responsibility for yourself.
(In case you are wondering, the original source is not given.)
Feminism, Women, Men.