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“is there a woman in the house?” (paraphrase: Steve Paikin, TVO)

April 3, 2014

Ladies, would you be embarrassed if this happened to you?

Imagine, you are 33-years-old, and you are from the uber-middleclass, and you are hosting one of those kinds of Tuesday night dinner parties where everyone has come over after working in the offices and banks of the downtown district – so the dinner dress is a blend of business-formal-now-trying-to-be-a-business-casual look – and everyone is admiring the stark minimalism and stark cleanliness of your impeccably maintained house – when, in the middle of this semi-awkward and slightly formal dinner evening, one of your male guests points out to you, in front of his girlfriend, and in front of your husband, and the other guests sitting around the table, that there is a water mark on one of your wine glasses.

And then he proceeds to mock you in front of your husband and guests.

And then the guests turn on you and stare at you in horror at the depths of your home-keeping depravity, and lack of obsession for maintaining stainless glassware.

And you, like the woman in the commercial, are embarrassed that you have failed in the eyes of your community and in the eyes of your husband, who now, will feel a little less bad about banging the secretary at work.

Or, are you embarrassed (and secretly depressed) that this has become your life, and friends, at 33-years-old?

———–

Women got the vote in Canada in 1921. But only if you were white.

All women got the right to vote in 1962.

Women in Nova Scotia got the right to vote in 1917. But only if they were in the military, or were a nurse.

Personal Healthcare Workers in Nova Scotia – 95% women – lost the right to strike for better pay two weeks ago.

Healthcare Nurses – 93% women – lose the right to strike for better working conditions tomorrow.

The Nova Scotia Premier – a man – took away this right to strike.

The Nova Scotia Premier – and provincial Liberal Party leader – was publicly endorsed in our recent provincial election that swept him to power – by the poster-boy wonder kid himself, Justin Trudeau. I know, because I went to hear him speak-in-platitudes about the greatness of the Liberal Leader, and the greatness of Nova Scotia.

I was there when people cheered him on, and commented on how he had such pretty hair.

The average personal healthcare worker in Nova Scotia gets $12-14 hr.

When a Nova Scotia nurse calls in sick, she is not replaced. The other nurses are expected to just ‘pick up the slack’. Nurses spoke to the government this week of 16hr shifts, and of going 10 hours straight without a bathroom break, and entire shifts without a lunch.

The government ignored them and now wants to increase the number of patients per nurse across the province.

These women cannot strike. It is now deemed “illegal”.

I wonder what would happen if they went on strike anyway?

Just like they used to do when the very notion of a union itself was illegal?

———-

Walking by that upscale, and super-hip downtown condo furniture store this morning, you know the type – where everything is so clean and sterile – the kind of store that looks like it gets vacuumed three-times-a-day – where the staff all look like they have a big weggie as they walk around fluffing away the imaginary dust – I was walking by on my way downtown and I wanted to laugh at the clean young woman (and the well-groomed young man she was with) – as she looked for a new couch for her north-end condo.

You were both twenty-something and clutching Starbucks coffees – he in a navy blue pea coat and she in a spotless white new spring jacket. The waist belt, I noticed, pulled tight and knotted perfectly. I could see that he was the type of young man who likes the line of a $75 haircut and the feel of a three day beard, and she had hair that looked like it is bathed in pure mango-honey shampoo. Followed by a three-hour soak in an expensive conditioner.

I was about to laugh at you.

But then you suddenly jumped on one of the white leather couches with a smile that said it was Friday night, and you and some girlfriends have just come back to your flat from a good restaurant on Gottingen, and you can hear someone in the kitchen opening a bottle of wine, and you and your friends are happy because you have the whole wide weekend ahead of you. And you were doing it all, on your new white leather couch.

How could I laugh at the thought of that?

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