Monday, March 9, 2009

The washing machine: freedom fighter

Came across this little gem on Clearly, the Vatican has its finger on the pulse of the modern woman.

Vatican says washing machine brought rights to women

The washing machine has had a greater liberating role for women than the pill, the official Vatican daily said in an International Women's Day commentary.

"The washing machine and the emancipation of women: put in the powder, close the lid and relax," said the headline on the article in Osservatore Romano.

"In the 20th century, what contributed most to the emancipation of western women?" questioned the article.

"The debate is still open. Some say it was the pill, others the liberalisation of abortion, or being able to work outside the home. Others go even further: the washing machine," it added.

The long eulogy to the washing machine - for which the first rudimentary models appeared in the 18th century - highlighted "the sublime mystique to being able to 'change the sheets on the beds twice a week instead of once'," quoting the words of late American feminist Betty Friedan.

While the machines were at first unreliable, technology has developed so quickly that now there is "the image of the super woman, smiling, made up and radiant among the appliances of her house", wrote Osservatore.

Photo by Harry Freeman courtesy of

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