Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Trip to the Museum - 2041

Hannah Harper arrived at the nursing home where she agreed to help out during her summer holidays.

Hannah was aged 15 and in her last year at one of the girls' only special academies that specialised in teaching science and technology. Hannah had set her sights on becoming a Doctor, a popular profession amongst students at the academies, and wanted to get some work experience in by helping with the elderly.

Hannah was welcomed by Mrs Allen, the manager of the home, a no nonsense attitude lady in her fifties who wore jeans and a denim shirt. She showed Hannah around the home, which was a hive of activity and efficiency. The nursing staff were trousered females, whilst the more lowly care staff were males in pink and white dresses, with a white apron.

Mrs Allen explained that the residents of the home were all elderly men ranging in age from their late 60's to the early 80's. Their faculties were intact and they were in good physical shape for their ages, thanks to advances in modern science. Most of them were divorcees, widowers or just old bachelors. Some of them had been placed in the home by their daughters, who did not want the bother of having them around.

Hannah decided to ask a question that had been on her mind "These residents...they must remember the old days...you know, when men were in charge. They must have some interesting perspective from that era".

Mrs Allen replied "Oh, yes, I'm sure that they do".

Hannah was fascinated. Here were relics from a completely different age where the male had been the protector and provider, and wore the trousers, and had the best jobs. That had all changed of course in the early 21st Century, when girls outperformed boys academically and women outperformed men and replaced them as leaders and breadwinners. Hannah could not imagine a world where women were not in charge.

Mrs Allen took Hannah to see some of the residents. They were as Hannah expected, elderly men dressed in flowery frocks and stockings. Along with the change of roles between the sexes had come an inversion of dress. Hannah had worn trousers all her young life and could not envisage what it must be like to wear a dress or skirt. She wondered what it must have been like for the elderly specimens in front of her. From trousers one day to skirts the next.

The men were, without exception, grumpy and miserable and would not look up at Hannah when she entered the room. "What's up with them?" she whispered to Mrs Allen. Mrs Allen smiled "They still hate having to wear dresses and stockings and drawers! They spent most of their lives in trousers, so I suppose it is understandable but still it does not make for a happy atmosphere here". She raised her voice to address the residents "Morning, gentlemen! Today we have a special treat for you. A visit to a museum! Doesn't that sound good?".

There was a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the residents. Mrs Allen shrugged and she and her staff shephered the residents out of the home and on to a bus that had been hired for the day. Hannah followed behind, since this was her first day, she was not expected to do more than shadow Mrs Allen.

The drive, that lasted just over an hour in duration, was uneventful. Hannah, sitting with the staff, noticed that whilst the staff were chatting easily, the residents were largely silent and deep in thought. Hannah wondered if they were thinking back to the days when they strutted about in trousers and had had lives.

The bus pulled up outside a large building in the centre of the city. Hannah recognised it immediately as the Museum of Women. Hannah had been there twice before on school trips, and that had been before she had gone to the academy and so there had been boys in her class. Hannah remembered them vaguely as shy, submissive, docile little creatures who wore the school dress for boys of pink gingham dress, lacy anklets and mary-jane shoes and who spoke only when they were spoken to. In her experience of boys, limited though it was, they were ill-equipped to do much more than menial jobs or to care for homes and children.

The staff herded the residents off the bus. The men were grumbling and seemed reluctant to enter the museum.

The museum was a vast, modern complex of glass and steel. It had been built entirely by women to celebrate their ascendancy.

The first display was "Adam and Eve". It showed a man and a woman, wearing nothing but fig leaves. The recorded commentary proclaimed "In the beginning, man and woman were created equal and given dominion over the earth and everything in it".

The next display showed a caveman and woman, dressed in animal skins. The man carried a spear whilst the woman was tending a fire and cooking meat on it. 'Over time, the roles of men and women became strictly defined. The male was the hunter and gatherer and the female was chiefly responsible for raising children and cooking, but it was still an equal partnership".

Circa 1000 AD

The next scene displayed a man dressed in warrior garb and the woman in a woollen shift. The man carried an axe whilst the woman was shown at a spindle. "Millennia passed and over that period of time, males asserted themselves as the dominant warrior sex whilst they relegated women to the status of property and servants and made to perform menial tasks".

Circa 1580

Then followed the scene of a man and woman wearing Elizabethan attire. The man wore an embroidered doublet, jewelled hat, tights and boots. The woman wore a jewelled dress with a flaring skirt and headress. "Along with the roles of men and women, the dress of males and females gradually became rigidly defined, with men wearing bifurcated garments and women wearing skirted dresses".

Circa 1800

The visitors then saw a man and a woman. The man was dressed in silk leggings and breeches, embroidered waistcoat, heavy overcoat. He was wearing a wig and wore jewelled rings on his fingers. The woman wore a silk dress, with many flounces and frills and a bonnet. "In the 18th Century, male and female fashions were closer than ever, with male fashion being distinctly feminine in character. Men still wielded the power of course and owned all of the wealth. Women were not permitted to work, except as a domestic servant, and were not allowed to own property in their own right".

Circa 1870

The scene then shifted to another man and woman, along with a boy and girl. The man was dressed very soberly in a dark suit and top hat. The woman wore a pink gown, petticoats and crinolines and a bonnet. The children, both of them, were wearing dresses and petticoats, with their hair in ringlets. The boy child wore a blue sash as a concession to his maleness. "In the 19th Century, adult fashions between the sexes suddenly diverged. Men wore dark suits suitable for work. Women, confined to the home, had to look pretty for their husbands and wore corsets, petticoats and crinolines and had to endure much discomfort. It was, of course, quite impossible for a woman dressed in this way to engage in any strenuous activity. The 19th Century marks the high point of female subjugation not only under the law but by the very clothes that they had to wear. Oddly, small children regardless of gender, were petticoated until the age of six, when boys became breeched and wore trousers and girls continued in skirts".

Circa 1910

The next scene contained women only, dressed in white blouses and heavy woollen skirts and hats, wearing sashes. They seemed to be protesting about something. "In the late 19th and early twentieth centuries, women had become aware of thier subjugation and were determined to achieve equality with men under the law. These women were called Suffragettes and they were the pioneers of the women's movement. Some small gains were made. Women were allowed to own property and were entitled to an education although of course boys were still favoured".

Circa 1943

The scene shifted to an image of women dressed in blue overalls performing manual work and looking like they were having some fun "The most fundamental change in women's status and opportunities came in the first half of the twentieth century when men, indulging in two world wars, went off to fight them. Someone had to keep the economy going and governments turned to women. Under females, industrial output in both world wars was superior than in peacetime, and women were given the vote and allowed to stand for political office, the most important concession granted to date. Now male politicians would have to consider the needs of women if they wanted to be re-elected and meanwhile a few female politicians began their careers to advance the cause of women".

Circa 1960

There then followed another scene. It showed a man in a suit and hat, carrying a briefcase and leaving for work. His wife, wearing a dress and apron, carried a feather duster and was waving him goodbye. There were two children in the background. The boy, in a shirt and shorts, was riding a bicycle. The girl, in a frock and ringlets, was playing with a doll ". "This image was the idealised male view of the roles and dress of males and females. The male was the worker, the female was the homemaker. Unbeknownst to the male at this time, this rosy image was to be obliterated forever as the superiority of the female was beginning to become apparent. Women now had the vote, political office, the right to work and own property. There was discrimination against women but women were fighting it and battling to assert themselves by gaining educational qualifications and securing jobs".

Circa 2010

The image changed to the picture of a man wearing a suit and a woman wearing a trouser suit. "By the early 21st Century, laws had been passed to outlaw discrimination against women. These laws and the ambition of women to succeed led to women becoming the majority of graduates and a majority of the workforce for the first time in recorded history! Men, by contrast, were gaining fewer qualifications each year and most of the traditionally male jobs had been lost in recessions in the 1990's and 2000's, including the man-cession of 2008-09 where 80% of the jobs lost had been held by men. Women were increasingly becoming the main breadwinners in their families and men were becoming responsible for homemaking and childcare. The rise of women had become an unstoppable force!"

Circa 2020

The next image showed a woman wearing a trouser suit and seated at a desk and a man, clearly her subordinate, dressed in a silk blouse, pencil skirt and high heels. His face was made up and his hair was styled. He was taking dictation from his female boss. "The changes in the power balance and dress between the sexes in the early 21st Century were truly revolutionary. Women now held the power in the economy and occupied all of the executive positions. The former roles held by women had to be filled and were. By men. These were the only jobs left for men due to changes in the economy that made males almost obsolete. However, taking a traditionally feminine role meant adopting feminine dress. The new female oligarchy now insisted on their male secretaries wearing the blouses, skirts, high heels and make up that any female secretary had been expected to wear for her male boss and that insistence extended to the private sphere too. Women, as breadwinners, were shedding feminine garb as inappropriate to their new status and insisting that their househusband or lower earning spouse wear feminine garments instead. Males had no choice. Most were now kept by their wives and made to be homemakers and child raisers and discouraged from pursuing a career, for which they were unfitted".

Circa 2021

The image showed a schoolgirl and a schoolboy. The girl had short cropped hair and wore a shirt, jumper and trousers and flat shoes. The boy wore a blouse, jumper, knee length skirt, lacy anklets and low heeled shoes. He had a pink bow tied in his long hair and wore minimal make up. "The way in which girls and boys were brought up was altered. Girls now wore trousers and were encouraged to study hard and assume the leadership role over their male siblings and classmates. Boys now wore dresses and were brought up to be pretty and to follow the lead of their sisters. Education was not important for a boy, for his goal was to find a girl to marry him and provide for him whilst he kept house for her and raised her children".

The last image showed a woman, wearing a trouser suit and smiling triumphantly. A man wearing a dress and holding a baby stood some distance behind her, looking submissive. "Women, once downtrodden and without any rights, have by their innate superiority over the male of the species, assumed their rightful place as leaders".

The women present applauded enthusiastically. The male residents were sullen and silent. Hannah felt a little sorry for them. What must it have been like to have been born to be male and allowed to wear trousers, hold jobs and to be the head of their families and then for everything to change and to lose their jobs, their status and even their trousers to the females they had been born to be masters over?

Hannah saw Mrs Allen's face. She was smiling at the sullen group of males and Hannah realised that this little trip had been planned deliberately to show these men how far their gender had fallen in such a short time.

Their ordeal was not over yet though. A group of elderly ladies, dressed in expensive suits and looking happy and confident entered the chamber. One of them exclaimed "I don't believe it, it's Simpkins!....and Hall...from the old days at Brett Incorporated!"

The two men named went red and looked embarrassed. The elderly ladies circled around the group of befrocked males "How the mighty are fallen!" one woman said "Believe it or not, ladies, we used to work for this bunch of losers!"

"Oh, yes!" said another "We used to be the secretarial pool for this lot. We had to dress ourselves up in pretty blouses, skirts, high heels. We had to file and paint our nails and put cosmetics on our faces and be sweet and submissive. We had to take dictation and type at a hundred words an hour. For them!" she spat.

"Yes, and they used to ogle us as we walked across the office and even gave our bottoms a slap whilst we were bending over to retrieve some work from a filing cabinet!".

The men looked distinctively uncomfortable and looked for the exit.

"Nice dresses by the way, boys! Suits you a lot better than those suits you wore way back when!". The group of women cackled with mirth at the sight of their former bosses in dresses.

"Of course, we girls were always way ahead of you boys" said another woman "as soon as we left work, we went to college and got our business degrees and our MBA's whilst you went down to those wine bars and tried to pick up women. Then, a few years later, your boss retired and you applied for his job. But so did I and I got it! I became your boss! Remember that day boys?"

The men remained silent, with their heads bowed low, as if in a nightmare.

"I became your boss. The sweet little secretary whose bottom you used to slap now controlled you. Of course, I eventually sacked you and appointed these other ladies here, who were better qualified and better motivated, to your old jobs. I'll bet you haven't worked since. Who would employ a bunch of losers like you?"

"Nobody" mumbled one of the men, almost in tears "Since you fired me, I have never worked. All jobs were going to women". The other men nodded sadly in confirmation.

The women looked smug "That is as it should be. You men shouldn't trouble your pretty heads with work. Leave that to us women. We are better qualified, after all! Well, it was good to see you boys again, especially in your lovely dresses, but we have to go now". The women mockingly waved as they departed. The men looked thoroughly humiliated.

One of the women turned back "Oh, by the way boys, the way that male fashion is going nowadays, you'll be trading those frocks in for some corsetry, frilly drawers and crinolines! Seems that that is now how women like their men to be dressed! I'm sure you'll look very sweet in them!". The woman laughed and gave a final wave.

The men's faces were a picture of misery as they departed the scene of female supremacy.

3 comments:

  1. The world was changed for the better, but why males are so embarrassed? ;)

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  2. Alexvyaz, the males were embarrassed because they were once dominant and have been overtaken, controlled and finally consigned to the scarpheap by the women they used to control and forced to wear feminine clothing. Of course, us more enlightened 21st century guys are used to dresses and high heels and taking orders from women. The future is bright, the future is female.

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