By Nora Helmer, Women’s Rights Advocate Nora Helmer delivered a speech about the idea of the separate sphere and how it affects the current Norwegian society at Parliament of Norway Storting as the first lady, who stepped and delivered a speech in this parliament.
“In the name of Honorable Frederik Stang, The Prime Minister of Norway in Christiania Respected Aasta Hansteen, Painter, author and Women’s right feminist Honorable Margrethe Vullum, Journalist, literary critic and Women’s Right ProponentAll respected members of this Storting Today, I am proud as the first lady, who has stepped into the Storting with full of men, which are considered as unfeminine, but I will not let any criticism push me down. Let me bring us all back in time and remind you of the establishment of Norway. There was no female ever involved in any political or scientific role, but all we can be are a housewife, secretary and a nurse, while the males are here every day raising their voice in this storting, debating and solving important national issues, but our voice is only for storage. Are we in the same world? Same sphere? Or instead the same ideation, where women are treated just like slaves in the United States? You are also aware of how prostitute has spread disease amongst you, but can I ask you something? Don’t you think the way you treated women are enough to describe us as a prostitute? We supported the need for you in the house and you take the money you earned from work and give it to us.
Just like how prostitute earned money from supporting men’s need. Is this the same as a prostitute? In one sphere, males have been working in an outside world and giving us money, while in another sphere, we received your money and working just to support your needs. We have been separated as in two different spheres for decades. This separation has been encrypted in today’s and future generation DNA. You may wonder how come female like me understand about DNA, which is beyond your expectation because we don’t follow your expectation and here is a thing: When males are being educated, you called them smart, but when we are being educated, you called us “Blue-stocking” and usurp men’s intellectual superiority. You say it’s unfeminine. Just because there is a division between two genders does not mean there needs to be a role for certain gender. During my life under the relationship with my former husband, I have faced under many situations, where I am not in charge with my own destiny.
I need to put myself into the risk of getting arrested and borrowing money as well as leaving me vulnerable to my debtor, but it is the only way to save my husband. I have sacrificed myself for his health, but all he did is scold me for ruining a reputation. My debtor is one of my husband’s subordinate and he was about to be dismissed. Therefore, he threatens me by trying to expose the fact that I borrowed the money from him to ruined my relationship.
I have been controlled and dehumanised by my husband. Being called “little skylark”, but I never been respected. I need to do everything to support whatever he wants and needs. I have been forced to be danced and dressed in a certain way. It reminds me of a doll, which I played when I was a kid. In fact, I feel like I am his “doll-wife” and my children are my dolls.
In the end, who gains all those good reputations? Hopefully, one day it will be me, but it doesn’t. Instead, my former husband gains everything. After realising these facts, I feel guilty about how our society has shaped us to think, believe in different ways. We were forced to act and controlled in a certain way. Taking my daughter into the “accomplishment” classes, which is gibberish.
We can all be accomplish anything in our life without the classes. Meeting female standards are not an accomplishment. It is just to satisfy your needs and wants. These are the idea of the separated sphere, where women are in the domestic sphere. Working as a housewife.
Doing things that are appropriate, just to meets men’s satisfaction. On the other side, men are working in public sphere. Raising money for us just like how the members of the Storting raised their voice and express our opinion. With eight years experience, living in my own personal sphere to satisfy community and my husband needs. The idea of the separate sphere is dividing us and men from doing a certain task and set the certain standard just like how we separate blue for boys and pink for girls for millennia. However, I don’t believe that this sphere exists. It is an illusion, which the society created and believe that it exists for a long time. Will you believe something, which is only an illusion? The only to escape from this illusion is we need to stop associating women and men with certain characteristics.
Every job can be for everyone. Jobs and colours do not have genders. Women can be doctors;Women can be an engineer;Women can be scientist;Women can love any colour including blue;And Women can love and can be anything. Men can be secretary;Men can do chores;And Men can love pink.
When asking question to girls about “what do you want to be in future?”, let her mind answer it, not let the sphere and the society answer her question. The answer belongs to her mouth and to you. Not the sphere and the society. Not associating women and men with certain characteristics is a key recipe for escaping from an illusion.