Monday, March 9, 2009

Women in Vatican


It is amusing to think the Vatican, even a woman writer in the Vatican, can possibly think that the most useful function of a woman is to wash clothes. If that is not true, why would the article postulates that the automatic washing machine did more to liberate women than the right to work, or the pill, or the vote? Whether the article was tongue-in-cheek published on International Women's Day under a woman's name, or semi-serious proposal following instructions from on high, the fact that such an article was published in l'Osservatore Romano, the semi-official Vatican newspaper, suggests that the official position of the Vatican on women is out of date. The irony of its publication on the International Women's Day must not be lost on the newspaper editors.

A simple question: why is the washing machine, not equally liberating for men? What about the microwave? It is a silly assertion based on the Vatican's outdated assumption that women's purpose are in the bedroom and the kitchen, in that order. Neither the pill nor the washing machine was the most liberating influence on women in the 20th century. It was the right to vote. A political voice implies recognition as a person of worthy opinions. Personal dignity will always have the most liberating impact over any material artifacts. A representative of the holder of St. Peter's office on earth, the Vicar of Christ, should know better than to prefer a washing machine over personal dignity.


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Feminists of the world sit down before 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.

It then goes on to talk about the history of washing machines, starting with a rudimentary model in 1767 in Germany and ending up with today's trendy launderettes where a woman can have a cappuccino with friends while the tumbler turns.

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