Every woman needs a . . .

November 22, 2004

Amanda at Mouse Words has been thinking about the social changes that she sees coming from the Christian right.

Dim thoughts indeed. But I for one am looking on the bright side. When the Wingnut Revolution is all said and done, I think I may qualify for a handmaid. I've always wanted one. I mean, not the child-bearing part or the watching my man have sex with another woman part. But I sure would like someone to go to the store for me everyday.
J and I know what she means. Every so often, usually while in the middle of tedious housework, J will look up at me and tell me that "every woman needs a wife." And, while I don't mind going to the grocery store, there are times when having another set of hands around the house would be mighty convenient.

Alas, we can not afford a housekeeper, the traditional way of adding an extra wife -- not quite as sexy or political as a handmaiden, but the emotional upkeep is much easier.

More seriously, through most of the 18th, 19th, and into the 20th centuries the most prevalant form of paid labor for women was housekeeping -- as maids or servants in other people's houses. In addition Kathy Peiss argues that many if not most urban factory workers in the late 19th century either supplemented their income with prostitution or, at the very least, relied on boyfriends for spending money, clothing, and other aids to their effective income. The handmaiden idea combines these two common practices in the form of a scare tale about resurgent patriarchy.

Perhaps I should finally read Margaret Atwood's book
. But first I must go finish Uncle Tom's Cabin by noon tomorrow - and I can't find my copy of the book so I am reading it online. I hate reading long books online.

Posted by Red Ted at November 22, 2004 10:50 PM | TrackBack

Glad to find a historian's blog. A long, long, time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a looking towards history as a career. While I didn't make a career of it, it's still my favorite genre, subject, whatever you might call it.

As my husband and I both work outside the home, I have often thought that a another wife would be useful. I've even considered a business to supply them to others (no, not prostitution)

Anyway, enjoyed my visit, found you via Blog Explosion.

Posted by: TW at November 23, 2004 12:28 AM

B and I have decided that I'm going to be a SAHW. I'm still not entirely sure how we're going to make it work financially, and I wonder how easily I'll be able to make the adjustment. But, we're going to give it a try. We think we'll be much happier people if we can make it work.

In any case. Margaret Atwood's book was pretty good, but it could've been better.

Posted by: Me. at November 23, 2004 02:36 PM
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