Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Women’s work

I’ve actually heard people (multiple people!) claim in sacrament meeting addresses that women aren’t supposed to work outside the home in part because women working outside the home is a modern innovation that changes the way things had been done throughout history.

Um, dude? Women working outside the home was the norm since the time of Adam and Eve (according to the opening of Moses ch. 5, at least)—the fact that it wasn’t the norm for the middle classes in the 30s and from the late 40s to the early 50s doesn’t really lend historical validity to the argument.


Butter said...

That verse isn't saying that Eve is working outside of the home. It's saying that she did what every stay at home mom does. It's not all sunshine, rose, Oprah, and bonbons. We work. And we work HARD.

David B said...

I don’t know that i agree with your exegesis—the first verse seems to say that they both tilled the fields together.

I like to think that they also raised the kids together, but i’ve no direct textual evidence for that.

Michelle said...

I'd say it's all in how you define "working outside the home." In 1850, if a farmer's wife helped harvest a crop, was that really considered working outside the home? Probably not - more like working FOR the home. Which leads to a whole different discussion of whether or not women who work FROM the homes today (self-employed, etc) are actually working outside the home. There are a million ways to define working and I find that everyone adapts their own definition to themselves.

David B said...

@Michelle: True dat.

The conflation between income-generating activities and what counts as work these days is, historically speaking, rather weird.

Michelle said...

Have to say, I love when someone who deals with words for a living uses the word "dat".