US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Thank God for washing machines!

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L’Osservatore Romano celebrated International Women’s Day in March by publishing an article that declared the washing machine the most liberating advancement of the 20th century for women.

"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," the article read, according to Reuters.

Don’t forget those remarkable tools the dishwasher and the vacuum! Where would women be without these?  Men: Be careful not to go near such things. These are tools of torture and confinement for you.  

It’s not like men bought the wives washing machines and said, “Look, honey, now you’ll have all kinds of free time and you can do whatever you want with it.” Good feminist husbands!

No, women got access to birth control and realized that now they weren’t confined to being a mother—they can do whatever they want to do, even work! For better or worse, birth control is a more significant advancement for women and society.  (Also, less babies means less laundry!)

But seriously, even if you think the washing machine is an underappreciated household appliance, does it do anything for society to posit that it’s the most liberating invention of the past century?

My feminism says no. Today the struggle seems to be that women, whether they want to or not, have no choice but to work to support their families. On top of work, they still do most of the household chores and childrearing.

It doesn’t help when an article in the Vatican newspaper says that the washing machine is essentially a woman’s tool.