by Sarah Cavendish on 2005 May 21 - 06:50 | reply to this comment More Drudgery and Respect LouiseC wrote: It all depends what you consider drudgery. Interminable spinning and weaving was expected of the women of ancient Athens and Rome, and I daresay some of them got pretty fed up with it.

Perhaps not to the extent that a modern woman would anachronistically imagine, given the alternative for the well-off ancient woman, for whom spinning and weaving was hobbyist craftwork compared to the labors of all others.

And modern women of leisure have no such burden. Charity work, shopping, parlor visits, and lunch with friends seem to be the impositions under which they labor.

And certainly upper-class and middle-class women of the Medieval and early modern periods were expected to be actively involved in domestic tasks, not just supervising. Women whose husbands ran businesses were generally actively involved in the business as well, some were in business for themselves.

The Christian proscription of "idleness" - no longer a consideration. Modern women have to be *restrained* from being useful.

Besides, if the only criteria that makes a man 'worthy of respect' is that he can afford to employ servants so that his wife doesn't have to perform domestic tasks, that surely leaves most men as unworthy of respect, and where does that leave most women?

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