Thursday, June 22, 2006

Chesterton on Housewives

There has beenmuch response in the blogosphere about this article and then this one as well. The basic gist of the original article is that feminism failed because women are choosing to forsake high paying careers in order to be housewives and raise their children. The author's basic premise is that it is detrimental to both individual women, and society as a whole, when women leave the workforce for the home. Go and read the articles and the responses to them, it is worth your time to understand what much of the popular sentiment is towards those who choose family over work.

I had thought about writing an article as well. After all, my blog is theoretically dedicated to my life as a housewife, so what better place to discuss one Professor of Womens Studies take on my life. However in reading some of the commentary on the web, I read the following quotes by G. K. Chesterton and truly he says it better than I ever could.

"Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred trades."

"When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give [the word]up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness."

2 Comments:

At June 22, 2006 8:41 PM, Blogger Spunky said...

Excellent quotes. Thanks for sharing them with us.

 
At June 22, 2006 11:06 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Thanks Spunky, but I can't claim credit for finding them, they're from the choosing home link from the first paragraph. They were just too great not to post.

 

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