Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Battle(of the sexes)ship

During our (warm!) trip to sunny (warm!) southern California, the boys and I stopped by to visit with my grandparents. Garrett wanted to play his favorite game ever of all time, Battleship. My dad's parents are in their 70's so there is really no telling when they purchased this particular version. I'm guessing, by the way these guys are dressed, that this is the game my father used to play in the 1960's. 

Look how clean cut they were. Look at those paneled yellow walls. Ahhh, it was a better, simpler time. 


I like that the son got all dressed up in his collared shirt and his sweater to play a rousing game of bombing the opposing Navy with his father.

Now I'm not going to sit around and argue the points for or against feminism. It means something different in Christian circles than it means in collegiate literature circles. There is feminism with a "radical" in front of it and bras burning up all over the place and there is feminism with a "sure I can sell that product as well as a man so hire me already" in front of it. In its simple definition, a feminist is someone who advocates for the social, political, legal, and economic rights of women to be equal to those of men.

These women coulda used a feminist, is all I'm saying.



No doubt, the dad, William Charles Smith (he goes by Bill) came home to dinner on the table, filled his belly full and then challenged William Jr. (aka Billy) to a competitive round of Battleship. He worked a long day at the office so its understandable that he'd like to kick back and relax for a little while. But what was Billy's excuse? A long day at school? What about Suzie (that's the sister) didn't she also have to go to school? Why does Suzie have to do the dishes but Billy doesn't? Although, to be fair, maybe Suzie really enjoyed doing the dishes--look at that wide smile she's sporting. And look at the mom. Peggy is so proud of Billy for hitting his dad's ship. She also might be proud of her remarkable sink full of incredible bubbles. What kind of dish soap is that woman using? And do they still make it?

Why couldn't they all clean up the kitchen and then enjoy some family time together? Is it because Battleship is only a two person game? In that case, couldn't Peg and Suzie have sat down with their knitting? Or a good book, even.

Maybe this immediately caught my attention because, while I do almost all of our cooking, my husband does almost all of our dishes. Maybe it's because of how far we've come in fifty years. Really, it's not even the fact that this is a snapshot into the life of a family in the 1960's. It's the fact that it was so normal for the women to be doing "women's work" that it made the cover of a box selling a game.

Did little girls everywhere get the not-so-subtle hint that game playing and war were for men while housework was for them? Couldn't the picture have simply omitted the top right corner allowing everyone to suspend their disbelief and think that Peggy and Suzie were actually at the mall together?

But, more importantly, what season is it? Why are Bill and Billy wearing sweaters and long sleeves while Peggy's in a summer dress and Suzie is sporting a tank top?

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