Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Reader’s comment: Trading places


In response to Julie Lynn, Men are being emasculated, not infantilised, PierrePendre wrote:

When Gro Harlem Brundtland became prime minister of Norway, she and her professor husband made a deal. He agreed to take full wifely responsibility for the family on condition that she did not interfere any more than a husband would in a conventional wife-led household. The professor drove a hard bargain but he had a clearer grasp of natural female inclinations than our north London headmistress. Power over the upbringing of their children is not something that women surrender lightly. In Brundtland’s case, it seems to have worked. She was prime minister three times and then took a UN job. The television series Borgen explored the same dilemma for women in reconciling the traditional family life and the time-consuming careers they want simultaneously.

Is it a woman’s nature to be domestic or is it a social construct? The answer hardly matters. The home has been women’s locus of power for so long that letting go is a challenge which has nothing to do with a husband’s competence and everything to do with a mother’s sense of her rights and above all her desire to have things done her way. Headmistresses who teach girls that they can override their natural inclinations without the risk of encountering problems that may make themselves and their families unhappy are potentially misleading both the girls and the families they go on to create. Is there a Mr Bingham, by the way?

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