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It's time to consign the lady of leisure to history

Date

I hate nothing more than a woman who can’t stand on her own two feet. Get educated and get a job and stop relying on your husband to support your every need.

I want the phrase “lady of leisure” removed from our vernacular.

No one should get a free ride, it’s un-Australian.

And before the stay-at-home mums suffer a convulsive fit of indignation, let me clarify.

There is no harder job than being a stay-at-home mum, a thankless task with limited leave entitlements and a pay packet banished well below the poverty line.

This woman is NOT a lady of leisure. She is a workhorse, the likes of which you would want with you in the trenches if we ever went to war, according to my friend's dear mother.

My wrath is firmly directed at women who suffer the misguided notion being kept by a man is something to be proud of.

Free-loading is not a sign of success measured by one’s ability to manipulate. Parasitic tendencies are not an achievement that warrants boasting to the other women in the nail parlour about how one has breezed through life on the coattails of her beau. In Australia in 2004 approximately 50 per cent of women were employed, compared to 70 per cent of men.

A friend of a friend has two children. She also has a nanny and a cleaner and a gardener and she places both her children in daycare despite the fact she does not work.

Yep. Not even one hour of the week is spent in the pursuit of professional or academic development. My first reaction was – what does she do all day?

The response – go to the gym, swim in the pool, hold dinner parties, go shopping, get her hair done – whatever she feels like. I suppose it’s not much different from the appalling (lack of-) reality show The Housewives of Anywhere Superficial. Ironic really, they have nothing to do and so capture the nothingness on camera in a bid to make it into something.

There should also be a distinction between those women who are victims of environment, circumstance and sexism that forces them into a submissive slave-like role whereby they spend their life in servitude to their husband resulting in an inability to gain employment or a life outside the domestic boundaries - she is NOT a lady of leisure. She is a trophy wife.

Although she, and the lady of leisure, will both suffer the same lack of independence and powerlessness over their lives. Both will experience a crisis of identity.

As CityKat addressed in a recent blog, both may find themselves engaging in the prostitution of marriage - sex in exchange for a Prada handbag.

These are the same individuals who turn a blind eye to a husband’s affair because they need to. Because if she walked out on him, where would the weekly allowance come from to service the new BMW?

Contributing to your own future and your own identity is paramount to a healthy self-worth.

Feeling valued in a professional capacity to manage your finances and your time and your life as you see fit means your existence will not be etched out in the shadow of another.

I appreciate some enjoy serving their man. But relationships are partnerships and both must contribute equally in order for the partnership to succeed.

Stop making it so hard for the rest of us by perpetuating the god-awful stereotype that women should just sit there and look pretty.

PS.  To be fair I’m not claiming there aren’t males who take a ride on their partner’s gravy train – Oprah’s Steadman, Julia’s Tim.

PPS. I am jealous of the friend of a friend. I want a cleaner too. Nothing else. Just the cleaner.

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32 comments so far

  • Jealousy is a curse.

    Commenter
    Marc
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    June 12, 2012, 9:44AM
    • +1.

      Commenter
      Jack
      Location
      Brisbane - High and Dry
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 3:00PM
    • agreed.

      After 20 years of working which provide me with very little of the satisfaction it is apparently meant to, I'd love to be a lady of leisure. I am jealous of those who are pretty and thin enough to be one....i'm not ashamed to admit it nor do i attempt to disguise/justify my jealousy by standing on my high horse and carrying on about independence and dragging nationalism into it.

      Commenter
      Sarah
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 4:34PM
  • regarding the 'sex in exchange for a prada handbag' thing. yes that can be a situation of the man using his financial power over his wife to get what he wants... but it can also be a situation where the woman is manipulating the man to get what she wants, using sex as a weapon.
    both are as bad as each other.

    Commenter
    eh
    Date and time
    June 12, 2012, 10:36AM
    • I would say that much of your commentary most certainly applies equally to both men and women, however, suggesting that Tim Mathieson is taking a ride on Julia Gillard's gravy train is punching below the belt, and misinformed.

      Mr Matheison has been wholly and completely supportive of Ms Gillard with whom he has been a partner since well before she was PM. Until that time he was fully employed and capable of supporting himself and his children. He is currently a property agent.

      He also volunteers as the Men's Health Ambassador (unpaid), is an ambassador for Kidney Health Australia, a patron of the Australian Men's Sheds Association, has involvement in the Indigenous Diabetes Association in Alice Springs, and the mental health group Beyondblue. He also was appointed Patron of the National Portrait Gallery.

      Furthermore, the public face of their relationship is one of unity and love. Until you suggested it, there has never been a single news report (that I'm aware of) that even remotely suggests Mr Mathieson is a man of leisure. Any benefit he does gain is fairly and honestly gained through hardwork and spousal unity.

      Aside from Ms Gillard's public office, this would be considered a normal healthy relationship.

      Commenter
      Journeyman
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 12, 2012, 11:10AM
      • Well I'm glad a woman said this. I can imagine the reaction if a man had. Think incoming artillery fire :)

        I totally agree. God those dinner parties must be dull! What would they talk about? Shoes? I would rather have root canal therapy without anesthetic than go as a guest!

        As for "prostitution" by marriage, if the man is getting any at all, it probably isn't at home. Most of the examples I've met are so narcissistic nobody else, including the gravy train enabler, matters in the least.

        Commenter
        Mark
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        June 12, 2012, 12:07PM
        • Just a quick clarification of my last paragraph...

          I was referring to men with a parasitic wife the article was referring to. Not women or relationships in general.

          Commenter
          Mark
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          June 12, 2012, 1:15PM
      • I would much rather work and have a hard time raising my children and making ends meet than have a life of leisure and comfort, I AM SO NOBLE!..........
        I could almost keep a straight face why I typed that sentence.
        What a BS story

        Commenter
        Bitter & Twisted
        Date and time
        June 12, 2012, 1:05PM
        • Money = power.
          Sex = power.
          Therefore sex for money (or a new prada handbag/ cleaner/BMW) is simply an exchange of power.

          How do you like them apples?!

          Commenter
          it's true
          Location
          brisbane
          Date and time
          June 12, 2012, 1:33PM
          • Um, I thought everyone was different and should be able to live how they want to - but I am clearly wrong.

            According to this blog, how you choose to live is open for criticism and ridicule in the big bad world of online hate and judgment.

            Also, if you enjoy a so-called life of leisure you should feel bad about how everyone else has to live.

            And if your relationship isn't the type of partnership this author talks about as being right, well, it is clearly wrong and doesn't work. Even if you think it does work, let her tell you, it DOESN'T.

            So there.

            Commenter
            Paul
            Location
            Brisbane
            Date and time
            June 12, 2012, 1:37PM

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