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I saw one of these “charming” “cheeky” signs in a shop window this week. It made me incredibly angry. It’s just a sign, I hear you cry. You’ve overreacting! You’ve got your feminist knickers in a bunch over nothing!

Well, I don’t think so. I mean look at the damn thing. “Ohh your husband called and said buy whatever you want.” You know restricting a partner’s access to money is actually a hallmark of an abusive relationship.

Beside the fact that this sign was out of date in the 1960s, you still see them everywhere, “cutely” promulgating the cultural assertion that the man is the head of the house, and the wife is a supplicant, begging for money to buy herself fripperies like a  new bonnet, or some bright ribbons for her hair. Won’t they swoon with jealousy at the WI to see what I have made myself? Oh silly woman me, all these pretty things I have bought!

The idea that a woman can be encouraged to buy from a little boutique with a sign pretending to have her husbands permission to spend her own money (don’t forget, ladies can be having their own monies these days) is so incredibly tone-deaf that it would be funny if I could bear not to find it beyond insulting. It makes me want to go up to the shop owner and shout, “I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT, MY HUSBAND DOESN’T OWN ME”. But why respond? You’ll get that dead-eyed stare and be told that it’s just “a bit of fun”. Well I don’t think it’s fun. I call bullshit.

 

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