Does doing the laundry make you feel liberated? Early this week, the Vatican in it's daily publication, L'Osservatore Romano, published an article commemorating International Women's Day in which they claimed that the 'washing machine had done more for the women's liberation movement than the contraceptive pill or working outside the home
This comes as no surprise from the Vatican, which is not known for it's support of birth control or abortion. Feminist commentators and bloggers went wild over the Church's assertions that the ability to do laundry conveniently and painlessly, is more liberating than having your own income, vote, or reproductive rights. The Vatican has since pulled this statement from the online edition of L'Osservatore Romano leaving no trace of the original statements in their original context anywhere in cyberspace.
This story was widely covered in newspapers around the world, but there has been a bizzare scarcity of coverage in the American media. Rumors on the blogosphere maintain that it was a grossly misinterpreted satire piece written by a lay female contributor. Most people find the Vatican's capacity for irony and sarcasm doubtful. Without the presence of the original anywhere eassily accessible, and with the paltry number of people who actually read the original article in Italian, the subtleties and intentions of the Vatican's 'tribute' to women remains a mystery.