YANSS 079 – Separate Spheres

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Common sense used to dictate that men and women should only come together for breakfast and dinner.

According to Victorian historian Kaythrn Hughes, people in the early 19th Century thought the outside world was dangerous and unclean and morally dubious and thus no place for a virtuous, fragile woman. The home was a paradise, a place for civility, where perfect angelic ladies could, in her words, “counterbalance the moral taint of the public sphere.”

By the mid 1800s, women were leaving home to work in factories, and they were fighting for their right to vote and to get formal educations and much more – and if you believed in preserving the separate spheres, the concept that men and women should only cross paths at breakfast and dinner, then as we approached the 20th century, this created a lot of anxiety for you.

Despite their relative invisibility, a norm, even a dying one, can sometimes be harnessed and wielded like a weapon by conjuring up old fears from a bygone era. It’s a great way to slow down social change if you fear that change. When a social change threatens your ideology, fear is the simplest, easiest way to keep more minds from changing.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we explore how the separate spheres ideology is still affecting us today, and how some people are using it to scare people into voting down anti-discrimination legislation.

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This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron who sets the highest quality standards for their community of artisanal suppliers, family-run farms, fisheries and ranchers. For less than $10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers the best ingredients along with easy-to-read, full-color recipes with photos and additional information about where your food came from. Check out this week’s menu and get your first three meals free with free shipping by going to www.blueapron.com/YANSS

This episode is also sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Get unlimited access to a huge library of The Great Courses lecture series on many fascinating subjects. Start FOR FREE with The Fundamentals of Photography filmed in partnership with The National Geographic and taught by professional photographer Joel Sartore. Click here for a FREE TRIAL.

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Terry Kogan

Terry Kogan clerked for the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and practiced law in Boston before joining the University of Utah where he teaches law concerning contracts, copyright, trusts, art, and sexuality. According to his official bio, “He has spent the past decade considering the rights of transgender people, in particular issues surrounding the legal and cultural norms that mandate the segregation of public restrooms by sex.”

In every episode, after I read a bit of self delusion news, I taste a cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener/reader. That listener/reader wins a signed copy of my new book, “You Are Now Less Dumb,” and I post the recipe on the YANSS Pinterest page. This episode’s winner is Mark P who sent in a recipe for oatmeal engineers. Send your own recipes to david {at} youarenotsosmart.com.

Links and Sources

DownloadiTunesStitcherRSS – Soundcloud

Previous Episodes

Boing Boing Podcasts

Cookie Recipes

Terry Kogan

Sex-Separation in Public Restrooms: Law, Architecture, and Gender

The Weird History of Gender Segregated Bathrooms

Gender roles in the 19th Century

Campaign for Houston

This Anti-HERO Ad Is the Definition of Transphobia

South Park Takes on Trans Issues … and It’s Great

Feds issue guidance on transgender access to school bathrooms

Houston Voters Reject Broad Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Who’s behind the new LGBT bathroom laws?

Image Source – Currier and Ives Lithograph in the Public Domain

Music: