It came to me as something profound that Agatha Christie held the same view on feminism as me. Or at least on that bit which proclaims that, in order to assert the gender equality, women must participate in the labour force.
In her autobiography she wrote;
” The position of women, over the years, has definitely changed for the worse. We women have behaved like mugs. We have clamoured to be allowed to work as men work. Men, not being fools have taken kindly to the idea. Why support a wife? What’s wrong with a wife supporting herself? She wants to do it. By Golly, she can go on doing it!
It seems sad that having established ourselves so cleverly as the ‘weaker sex’, we should now be broadly on a par with the women of primitive tribes who toil in the fields all day, walk miles to gather camel-thorn for fuel, and on trek carry all the pots, pans and household equipment on their heads, whilst the gorgeous, ornamental male sweeps on ahead, unburdened save for one lethal weapon with which to defend his women.
You’ve got to hand it to Victorian women; they got their menfolk where they wanted them. They established their fraility, delicacy, sensibility–their constant need of being protected and cherished. Did they lead miserable, servile lives, downtrodden and oppressed? Such is not my recollection of them. All my grandmothers’ friends seem to me in retrospect singularly resilient and almost invariably successful in getting their own way. They were tough, self-willed, and remarkably well-read and well-informed.
Mind you, they admired their men enormously. They genuinely thought men were splendid fellows–dashing, inclined to be wicked, easily led astray. In daily life a woman got her own way whilst paying due lip service to male superiority, so that her husband should not lose face.
‘Your father knows best, dear,’ was the public formula. The real approach came privately. ‘I’m sure you are quite right in what you said, John, but I wonder if you have considered… “