Domestic Virtues

I confess it freely – I am not a good housewife. But then, I am not married to my HOUSE!!!

I’m a bit of a phobic house cleaner (I like to avoid doing it until you can see the dust bunnies so I know where I’ve been.) I don’t enjoy planning, shopping and cooking meals (which is why I did once-a-month cooking for so many years so that it took as little of my time as possible!) And though I love my own kids like crazy, it’s not my life’s ambition to work with large groups of children. (I did not birth a litter!)

This semester I’m taking two classes for “women” which are so divergent in their views that it is making it hard to keep my biases and perspective from impinging on a good scholastic analysis. One is a Feminist Theology class which is blowing my mind with the heady exegesis and argumentation. The other is a Mentoring for Women class, which is steeped in more traditional woman-to-woman mentoring.

It is not that I don’t believe that my mom, my older sibs, my grandmothers and aunts did notĀ build a lot into my life and into who I am. They did. And still do. It’s that they didn’t JUST teach me about “a woman’s place” or “a woman’s job” — because they are all strong, focused, gifted women… or were. They all cared about other people, and invested in those who needed more support and investment. They took their resources and used them, not just for their comfort needs, but to bring comfort to others.

So when I read this quote in my reading this week, I about flipped…

Quoting John Adams: “From all that I had read of history and government of human life and manners, I had drawn this conclusion, that the manners of women were the most infallible barometer toascertain the degree of morality nd virtue of a nation. The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Swiss, the Dutch, all lost their public spirit and their republican forms of government when they lost the modesty and domestic virtues of their women.”

I object.

Men AND women make moral choices, value choices which affect society. Men AND women own businesses, investments and are stakeholders in public enterprise. In John Adams’ time, MEN were the ones who were voting, elected to government and owning property. One might also remember that WOMEN had no voting rights (and in some cases few legal rights) in any of the cultures he listed.

OK. Back to my reading. Now I have to go look for where I threw that textbook I was reading…


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