Contributed by Jodi Kearns. The third installment of the “Psychology of…”
book item of the month blog series is a sound recording called “The Psychology of Modern Woman” (1970) http://collections.uakron.edu/cdm/ref/collection/p15960coll18/id/3461
The Internet is abuzz with mansplaining, a word coined probably fewer than ten years ago for a phenomenon that emerged much earlier.
Mansplainer and moderator Bob Hale (a television and radio personality from Chicago), for example, moderates a panel of experts with the core mission of deciphering “what kind of person a woman is, or whether you are a person at all.”
The panel of experts is made up of four extraordinary women.
- Dr. Mary Elizabeth Reeves – Dean of Women at the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Circle Campus
- Sister Ann Ida Gannon – President of Mundeleine College of Chicago
- Dr. Catherine Dobson – Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the University of Chicago
- Dr. Lila Swell – Psychologist in the Achievement Motivation Systems of the Stone-Brandel Center
Here are some highlights from the recording.
The panelists discuss the identity crises facing women as they become bored with the tasks of domesticity, have so many modern conveniences to make household tasks easier, and have more time on their hands to think about it from not needing to make clothing. “Oh come on. Ladies wait! May a husband jump in here and say…? Who are you kidding? Come on. Really?” Oh boy. Moderator Bob continues in his raised voice above the panelists attempting to be heard and asks the rhetorical question, if women don’t like being in the kitchen, then “Who’s buying all the stoves?!”
Mansplainer Bob tells the panelists that women find gratification through marriage and domesticity. To prove his point he reminds them that “We have an instance here, however, where one of the members of the panel is not married.” Presumably, he means the Sister, so it is likely she who asks the question, “Am I the only unmarried member?” After a few audible I’m nots, it is revealed that the moderator is, in fact, the only married person present. After laughing this one off, he tells the panel that the source of their gratification is their careers.
In spite of all the progress in equality for women and a history of objectifying women and second-rate citizenry, the mansplainer reminds the panel that it is still, even in 1970, the man’s responsibility to find a mate, to initiate the romantic cycle.
I feel grateful to these women and their cohort for ensuring my not having to explain why I wanted to enter a man’s profession and don’t have to ask my husband permission to see a female doctor. It’s a darn good thing this moderator was there to explain the psychology of the modern woman to you experts.
I may just take their advice and start my day tomorrow with this little pep talk.
Have a listen to the full panel discussion for more context and the complete dialogue: https://youtu.be/FTdPz4RfVl0.