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They need to get out more often

Don't have anything in your mouth when you read this.

The Vatican newspaper says that perhaps the washing machine did more to liberate women in the 20th century than the pill or the right to work.

The submission was made in a lengthy article titled "The Washing Machine and the Liberation of Women - Put in the Detergent, Close the Lid and Relax."

The article was printed at the weekend in l'Osservatore Romano, the semi-official Vatican newspaper, to mark international Women's Day on Sunday.

"What in the 20th century did more to liberate Western women?," asks the article, which was written by a woman.

"The debate is heated. Some say the pill, some say abortion rights and some the right to work outside the home. Some, however, dare to go further: the washing machine," it says.

Did the Onion suddenly start writing for the Vatican? Freedom to make their own choices liberated women, not one small bit of 20th century technology. Which I will also point out, much of the third world doesn't even enjoy. My Philippine in-laws when I first visited them had a two-legged washing machine. Her name was Lolita. I guess the Vatican isn't talking about the poorer parts of the world, but large numbers of Filipinas are liberated washing machine or no washing machine.

I've said this for years and much of this comes from having a wife who works for a Catholic diocese. The Roman Catholic leadership is totally out of touch with its flock. I'm inclined to give tomorrow's Knucklehead award to this.

Hat tip- Doug at Below the Beltway who writes "However, this is just so transparently dumb that it would have been better, for their sake, if they'd just stayed quiet."


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Comments (12)

Freedom to make their own c... (Below threshold)

Freedom to make their own choices liberated women, not one small bit of 20th century technology


First of all, relax. I've actually heard this view expressed before, though with slightly different wordings.

It's not asinine.

Handwashing for a family was a very hard and time-intensive process. What do you think the washer did for these women? It gave them MORE FREE TIME. More time to think. More time to read. More time to realize that they did not have to be so intrinsicly tied down to doing home chores every moment of every day. More time to get involved with the greater world than they might have.

Helping them realize that they DID have choices they could make.

My Philippine in-laws when ... (Below threshold)

My Philippine in-laws when I first visited them had a two-legged washing machine. Her name was Lolita. I guess the Vatican isn't talking about the poorer parts of the world, but large numbers of Filipinas are liberated washing machine or no washing machine.


Yeah. "Freedom! Now excuse me while I go rinse out my husband's dirty drawers for the 3rd time this week"

I'm sure Lolita would've appreciated the benefits of not having to be a "two legged washing machine"

Damn!And I always ... (Below threshold)


And I always thought it was the Vegamatic that liberated women?

Guess I better have another look at the Maytag Repairman to see what he's been up to.

Or into!

Washing machine liberation ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Washing machine liberation for heaven's sake?

This is unfortunately the same Catholic Church that invited in fascist dictator Franco to rule Spain and allowed for the German Luftwaffe to bomb Spanish citizens who opposed this alliance of the church/fascists/Hitler. This the same church that bellyaches about birth control, although looked the other way while abuse flourished for years by many of their own priests. God ordained all this crap?

Still many very good nuns and priests do exist in this institution, though.

What good is "freedom to ma... (Below threshold)

What good is "freedom to make choices" if you're stuck washing drawers all the time?

If you don't think that free time isn't a part of "liberation" you got another thing coming

Its 'cause a woman can sit ... (Below threshold)

Its 'cause a woman can sit on the washer while its spinning and get more satisfaction than a priest or a nun can offer.

Actually, McDonald's did mo... (Below threshold)

Actually, McDonald's did more for mother's than the feminist movement ever did.

It would be nice to have a ... (Below threshold)

It would be nice to have a link to the actual article to judge its content first hand rather than the condenced version provided by the obviosly unfreindly Reuters.
However it sounds like the article is arguing that the washing machine, along with other labor saving devices, helped with the economic liberation of women. Many perindustrial women were completely subsumed in the work of running their house holds. Not only did they not have the time or energy to contemplate liberation one could actually say that it was impossible or at least uneconomical to do so; a woman was far more valuable for performing houshold chores than she ever would have been working a second job. Right of work does not matter when the woman is too busy washing clothes to take advantage of it.
Washing machiens and other labor saving devices gave women more economic utility outside of the home and made feminine liberation possible. Naturally they are not the only cause and I am sure that there are liberated women the world around who don't own washing machines. Nevertheless the article is merely catagorizing the effect technology can have on social changes and certainly doesn't deserve a knucklehead award.
Slightly off topic but a similar argument would be that no other device has contributed more to the leagthening of the human lifespan than the toilet.

I agree with STaylor. Tachn... (Below threshold)

I agree with STaylor. Tachnology had a tremendous affect. Refrigeration, labor saving devices, gas oven instead of coal, prepackaged mixes rather than making everything from scratch. The culmination of these devices changed house work from 12 hours of drudgery to a part time job that allowed both spouses to enter the workforce. If you ever had to wash a load of laundry by hand you would understand this article.
Slightly off topic; Maybe not toilets but indoor plumbing. The effect of clean germ free water anytime you wanted is a major health improvement. If going to the bathroom in the middle of the night means boots and a flashlight you know what i mean.

"They need to get out more ... (Below threshold)

"They need to get out more often"

They can't. They're too busy doing their laundry.

" Freedom to make their own choices liberated women"

If they were free to make their own choice they were already liberated.

Actually, a similar point h... (Below threshold)

Actually, a similar point has been made about the health of the population. It has been stated that garbage collectors have prevented more diseases than doctors have.

In terms of time spent, even in cultures with the highest birth rates, women spend far more hours washing clothes than they do pregnant.

Late to the party - but for... (Below threshold)

Late to the party - but for anyone that reads this in the archives later - it should be reinforced that this 'washing machine' piece was nothing more than a newspaper column on a par, from a Catholicism scholar level, to an Ann Coulter or Maureen Dowd column. Any comments above, including from Bill, who attributes a newspaper column to an exmaple of the Catholic Church's leaders ("The Roman Catholic leadership is totally out of touch with its flock."), is simply and utterly wrong. The original link even notes that the column appeared in a newspaper that isn't even an official organ of the Vatican, let alone endorsed by the guy that dusts the Pope's hat, forget about the Pope or any church leaders.






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