This week’s article commences with a Victorian poem and readers can be forgiven for not identifying with the poor maidens rejection, for these “ gentile “ times thank goodness have long passed;
I lie here banished to this room
with thee so distant from mine gloom
thou who has simply caste aside
my love for thee with hurtful pride
The world has indeed morphed into a more direct , brazen place with some of the precious, old fashioned “ niceties “ long gone.
The discussion starts with Honorific titles , in other words the ways in which a person is addressed.
A male can be addresses as Master, Mr, Sir , your lordship etc depending on age and position in society, women commonly as Madam, Mrs, Miss and Ms .
Powerful dynamics Have come about with those ambiguous “ M “ words. Mrs generally refers to a married woman, Miss to a young woman or one unmarried but should one be more senior, the dreaded term “ spinster “ crops up, somewhat derogatory and seen as one rejected by men. However women may have chosen to remain unmarried as many do these days, marriage in itself considered an unwanted burden when alternatives are available.
We then arrive at the title Ms, originally misconstrued as a title for lesbians, but no longer the case. In fact this title has acquired an air of superiority associated with business women who have succeeded in the financial world or in other elevated positions.
One could assume that the adoption of the alternate title Ms was intended to announce “ my marital status is of no interest or importance to anyone save myself “
No to be overlooked is the title “ lady”. In previous times there was nothing amiss being called a lady and was in fact complimentary, associated with breeding.
But connotations with cleaning lady and a” bag lady “had somewhat of a degrading effect on the word and a lowering of status !
During the 1940,s and 1950’s it was commonplace for women to be at home as wives and child rearers , housewives to put it bluntly, but as time progressed being a housewife was considered degrading conjuring up visuals of apron, “ doek “ and feather duster ! Many South African women have foregone income or had the privilege to spend valuable time with their offspring and created a loving home environment instead of a challenging and exhausting business career, even if temporarily
In some European countries housewives are a near extinct species and in the developing world a woman staying home is increasingly seen as old fashioned and a burden to society. However greater migrations and population shifts of different ethnic groups have created job opportunities , not considered degrading. One finds au pairs, and housekeepers, chauffeurs, cooks and so on being provided with much needed accommodation and income, be it somewhat transient.
In-as-far as tying the knot goes the formality of marriage is far less important now and a greater number of couples these days decide to cohabitate instead .
As far as benefits go career women can contribute financially and there is not a sentiment of “ being kept “ by a husband.
A number of women and men for that matter have stated that if the relationship goes sour leaving can be more amicable than a divorce, but greater freedom for infidelity is an issue minus the marriage certificate. Women mostly treat living together as a testing period before committing to marriage, which frequently occurs after time.
Finally men overall, are les frivolous in experiencing enjoyment in life.
Having rugby, pals and beer is for many critical, whereas the gals get along just fine with wine and chocolates !
Women too have such fun with a wide choice of clothing , hairdos, nail techniques and makeup.
Not many of their male counterparts would relish hours in a health spar surrounded by candles and music wafting from a sitar !
And if time does not afford these treats Matsimela’s body butters, scrubs and lotions used at home.