Wife School: how to raise a housewife

Are miniature versions of household appliances an excellent learning tool? Harmless fun?  Or are they an insidious form of social conditioning from the cradle, given to daughters indicating keeping house is their responsibility, whilst their brothers are given tool kits and told to go out and build their world?

The following are some toys that may encourage budding hausfraus to pursue a life of domesticity.  Or not.  (I was the lucky owner of these delectably retro toys, and I am yet to qualify for Housewife of the Year). 

1. The Washing Machine

I loved using this hand-me-down toy to wash puppies small enough and quiet enough to sit in the warm bath of suds.  (Settle down, I never used the spindryer on them).  Effectiveness as a laundry training aid was minimal.  I  credit my current status of Stain Ninja to a lifetime of spilling food and wine down my front/sofa/carpet/husband.

2. The Sewing Machine

This was another hand-me-down toy that I greatly enjoyed.  It is an excellent tool of sibling persuasion, capable of inflicting incredible pain on a chubby little digit, if held in the correct position under the needle whilst the handle is slowly turned. 

3.  The Buffet and hutch

Useful for instilling a house-proud attitude from an early age by displaying well-kept and worthy household items, this was used for displays of collected cicada shells, snake skins, snail shells and occasional dead lizards. 

4.  The Clothesline

A brilliant replica of the full-sized Hills Hoist clothes line in our garden, the miniature was rarely used to dry clothing, but often draped with fabric, to convert to a ‘beach’ umbrella placed by water’s edge (the lawn sprinkler).

I don’t think these toys taught me anything about domesticity, since I repurposed all of them to achieve more satisfying results. 

Did you ever have such toys? And did they teach you anything?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Christina on June 26, 2010 at 7:29 am

    You crack me up.

    Reply

    • Tell me, as a child did you have the surgeon’s kit, astronaut costume and chess captain’s tracksuit whilst I was busy trying to shrug off ‘femnine’ typecasting?

      Reply

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