Colette Sheridan: Girl power has clearly passed founder of The Darling Academy by

Some people would drag women back to the days when women were submissive, writes Colette Sheridan
Colette Sheridan: Girl power has clearly passed founder of The Darling Academy by

The Darling Academy and Traditional Housewife Movement believe women should ‘submit’ to their husbands and spoil them.

I THOUGHT we had got rid of the concept of ‘obeying’ one’s husband, which used to be an integral part of the marriage vows, promised by women in front of a priest and their husband-to-be.

Talk about infantilising women! Not to mention patronising and oppressing women in a world designed for alpha males.

Which is why I pricked up my ears last week to listen to Alena Kate Pettitt on Newstalk. This 34-year-old English woman is the founder of The Darling Academy and a member of the Traditional Housewife movement that has decreed that women should “submit to their husbands and spoil them like it’s 1959”.

Ah yes. That would involve wearing a pretty ribbon in one’s hair and having a drink and slippers ready for the man of the house as he comes home from a day of wheeling and dealing in the working world.

His Mrs, on the other hand, will have been engaged in the feminine arts of baking cup cakes and preparing dinner with the ironing done and the house dusted.

Mrs Housewife provides her husband with a cosy refuge from the cut throat world of work. 

It’s a role that one would have thought would be almost obsolete, a throwback to Doris Day films where wearing an apron and smiling pleasantly were all the armour a gal needed to get on —‘in the home.

Forget going out to work. The sisterhood may have fought for women’s right to have a career and our own money. But Mrs Pettitt would drag us back to the days when women were submissive.

She said that women submitting to their husbands is a biblical idea.

“There are a lot of Christian families who kind of live this lifestyle,” she said. “We take it from the biblical perspective which means that the wife does submit to her husband — but her husband submits to God and loves his wife like Jesus loved the church.”

So there you have it, a kind of building block with God on top and the wee woman at the bottom of the neat pile.

Mrs Pettit says she is constantly contacted by women who would love to stay at home rather than focus on their careers — but they’re prevented from doing so by modern society.

Hello! What about the cost of living? How many households can rely on just one wage? Economics (and ambition, one hopes) dictate that women go out to work.

And yes, the feminist movement is supposed to be all about choice. But hold on. What about choice for men? Most men take it for granted that they’ll go out to work and the pressure is on them to make a decent living.

I don’t always feel sorry for men but it seems unfair that they have to pursue careers, even if they’re not - by some strange aberration - programmed that way. Of course, there are househusbands who look after the kids and do the housework while their wives/partners pursue careers outside of the home. But they’re rare enough.

The reality is that both parties have to earn money to pay for the mortgage. It’s unfair that one party generally can’t afford to stay at home. But such is the reality of paying for a home and the education of kids. It’s a bit of a luxury to be able to remain at home.

Mrs Pettitt said it is absolutely possible to be a stay-at-home wife and a feminist. 

She said that “the very grassroots of feminism” were about women having choice and being able to create their own destinies.

“Somewhere along the line, it has gotten warped into women absolutely being wholly independent and everything else falls by the wayside, even when you have children.”

She adds that “we need to have a bit of an analysis on that and I think this is also why a lot of women are turning away from feminism which is what I am seeing a lot of at the moment - because feminism now only defines you as an aggressive career girl, which is really sad.”

Although Mrs Pettitt grew up in the age of the Spice Girls and Sex and the City, girl power seems to have passed her by. She has stated that teachers pushed her to believe she had to do something more than stay at home.

Well, yes. Kept women these days are as rare as hen’s teeth. 

This is not to diminish the work that my generation’s mothers did in the home. But they had no choice.

Just like men have little choice on the work front. The real problem ‘though is women going out to work and being still expected to tend to the house — almost a fulltime (unpaid) job in itself.

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