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Vatican: Washing Machines More Liberating than the Pill for Women

1950s Maytag washing machine

1950s Maytag washing machine

Michele Hanson in the Guardian UK:

To mark International Women’s Day, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, has graciously commented on women’s lib for us. Its editorial decrees that the washing machine has contributed more to the emancipation of western women than the pill, or the legalisation of abortion, or being able to work outside the home. But it would, wouldn’t it? Abortion and pills aren’t allowed over there. Washing machines are.

What a bizarre world L’Osservatore describes, with its “image of the superwoman, smiling, made-up and radiant among the appliances of her house”. It’s more than half a century ago, back in 1953, that the automatic washing machine took off and women apparently went mad in the suburbs, turning to drink and sex. Only I didn’t notice my mother and her chums being radiant and smiling. They may have got rid of their heavy mangles and twin-tubs, but it was still a fairly bleak life, stuck at home fiddling with these new machines.

This is an open thread.