Bishops Court resident Virginia Longcup-Cakebottom recently contacted Vokpops requesting an interview to share with us her experience of her conversion to feminism.
A victim of parentally-endorsed suburban slave trafficking in stay-at-home moms from the tender age of 23, Mrs Longcup-Cakebottom recently realised that the manicured hedges around her front lawn and the taffeta curtains in the parlour had been conspiring to conceal from her the conditions of her bondage.
Mrs L-C is part of a new wave of converts to the feminist cause, who has had the courage to see beyond the her superficially comfortable existence and recognise this for the enslavement it really is.
"It started with my father, really," Mrs L-C confided to me over a flute of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 1995 champagne. "I always found it rather suspicious that the First World War was also described as the 'Great' War. It was clearly a patriarchal slip, for all the moaning about the Somme and Verdun, they couldn't quite hide that it was actually a great time had by all."
"The oppressor [editors note: men] likes nothing more than running around with guns and dodging explosions, and I suspect that they had a ball. Why, my own father was literally left speechless by the fun he had, and it doesn't really surprise me that he returned from the front with a drinking problem cultivated by an unending succession of ribald parties in the trenches."
Like many young women born before the 1960s, and even today, Mrs L-C spent much of her childhood oblivious to the strands of oppression that enshrouded her. She failed to see that the sunny afternoons spent playing with gender-stereotyped dolls in her mini-maisonette, and with her miniature china tea-set, were a subtle process of indoctrination designed to groom her for the conditions of her future enslavement as a domestic serf.
As was bound to happen, with the conditions for eternal servitude so painstaking laid down by the heinous patriarchy and their crafty accomplices the toy-makers, young Miss Longcup soon had a run in with the superficially charming Mr Cakebottom, and the cage door slammed shut 12 months later once she had been lured into perpetual bondage in his starter home in Wynberg by a gleaming piece of rock attached to a small band of metal.
"I felt like Sigourney Weaver in those extra-terrestrial movies," Mrs L-C continued. "My husband carelessly implanted a seed in me, transforming me into a human replication machine. Before I knew it I was well into my twenties, with all my time taken up with the care of children and the agony of domestic minutiae. Never for me the breathless camaraderie of the factory floor, or the glory of the cubicle! Oh no. Instead I was left to rot at home, cooking, making beds and caring for the two selfish little wretches which my husband had begat upon me."
"The weekends were the worst. My husband would come home, mow the lawn, potter around in the garden, cook our meals over an open fire and play with the children - a sick parody of my daily life that was intended to reinforce the capitalist notion that my situation was in some way beneficial to me, or even pleasant and desirable."
"To make matters worse, my husband beat me and the children relentlessly on these frightful weekends," Mrs L-C said, her voice shaking. "Monopoly, Scrabble. If wasn't for 5 card Rummy my self-esteem would have been totally destroyed by the capitalist, imperialist pig. He could at least have let one of the children win - but it isn't in him."
Eternally frustrated by her servitude, Mrs L-C breathed a sigh of relief once the children were of school-going age, and spent her time listlessly roaming the halls of shopping malls, boiling with envy at those who worked in the stores, so callously disregardful of the joys of 9 to 5 employment.
"Imagine! By the age of 35 I had never paid tax, never given or taken an order or instruction, never been fired, never sat in a three hour meeting jousting playfully with fellow employees and employers over business matters of no importance and failing to find resolution on these. I'd never even experienced the adrenaline rush of impending redundancy. I was stuck in the doldrums of eternal servitude, and only rescued by my book club, which introduced me to Germaine Greer's 'The Female Eunuch'."
Greer's book had a profound effect on Mrs L-C's life - not only was it confirmed that her husband, like all men, hated her, and this was why she found herself in her present condition, but she also discovered that all men were in fact demons from the deepest pits of the lower 5th dimension. The most logical resolution to the situation was obvious: the best way to celebrate the divine female principle was to become like a man.
Beds went unmade and children were fed on take-aways as she cut her chains and re-joined an amateur theater group which she had briefly been a member of between the ages of 20 and 32.
"Freedom was heady," Mrs L-C reminisces. "Unbound from the purgatory of domestic life, I rediscovered myself and my passions. I joined a small publishing company, and worked on an internal project - a book about writing books to make a statement about escaping the clutches of capitalist patriarchy."
"During this time I began to scrutinise the activities of my husband more closely, and it soon became apparent to me that he was a racist. His kitchen refurbishing company would hire only black men to perform the demeaning menial tasks required to install the cupboards. When I went into his accounts, I found that instead of redistributing his profits to his labourers he was simply using it to murder more trees and build more cupboards - a relentless cycle of destruction and greed."
It didn't stop there as Mrs L-C, freed from heteronormativity along with loading the dishwasher, experimented with lesbianism.
"Well not really experimented, as such," Mrs L-C concludes. "So far I have just cut a straight line across my fringe, while changing from medium to extra firm tofu and spending more time hanging out on Kloof Street."
"To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm. The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson in humility, which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society—a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals." Friedrich Hayek