PETER HARVEY: Welcome to the world of the surrendered wife — sisters who have come out of the kitchen but now they're going back in. Here in America's Midwest, women like Crystal and her two-year-old daughter Catherine, who's already in training.
CRYSTAL: We talk a lot about Jesse's, 'He's your daddy and you're supposed to obey your daddy and we want to honour him and we want to respect him'. And just talking about why we are cleaning. We want to have a clean house so that we can honour Daddy because Daddy likes the house to be clean. Put it right there. Do you know why we're making the fruit pizza? We're making it for Daddy. We want to please him. We want to do special things for him. Daddy's the king of our home, isn't he? You said that you wanted me to do the ironing.
PETER HARVEY: And does Daddy Jesse like being king of the castle? You bet he does.
JESSE: I think obedience is a good quality to have in a wife. An obedient wife does have a quality of being submissive and yielding her rights to the needs of her family and the desires of her husband. Okay. Gotta go.
PETER HARVEY: In their household, 26 year-old attorney Jesse literally lays down the law — written instructions for every moment of Crystal's day.
CRYSTAL: Jesse, he really likes for me to do things like this. It makes him very happy, because I'm being productive. Because I'm doing it for my husband, it's not just for myself.
The whole issue about sex as well is very troubling, because the language the couple uses really enforces a lot of unhealthy sexual stereotypes and beliefs that lead to a culture of rape. When women say no.... they mean no. They do not mean... continue to coerce me and maybe we'll have sex. Men should be taught to respect that 'no'... and not try to turn it into a yes. This myth that women want to be pursued is a nasty and pernicious one. FUTHERMORE, what kind of man who loves his wife would force her or coerce her into having sex with him if she doesn't want it!!! That's not love... that's seeing your wife as an object for your pleasure. To be used. As some sort of masterbation aid (I'm just saying...).
PETER HARVEY: But these rules don't stop at the bedroom door, no, sir.
SKYE: One of the basics of surrendering is that your husband always takes the lead when it comes to sexual intimacy. And another thing is that the woman always says yes to sex. And sometimes you might not feel like it but then when you start being together and kissing and hugging and just being together and getting that closeness, then, generally, I want to anyway.
PETER HARVEY: Oh, that's okay then, isn't it, Frank?
FRANK: Right now when they say, 'No', that might be true. But women are very much in the moment and what is true right now might not be true two minutes from now.
SKYE: He knows he will just keep pursuing me, you know? And he knows I'll give in eventually.
FRANK: Nowadays guys are kind of like — they'll bump up against a little bit of resistance with their partner and if there's a little bit of resistance they back off. And that's not what she wants, she wants me to pursue her to the end of the planet.
All these 'self-help' revolutions for women are so troubling, especially when they tell them that the way to have a healthy marriage is to give into your husband all the time. What about what the women want? What about their desires? Apparently, giving in is easier. There is one voice of reason in the interview though... Thanks god!
PRU GOWARD: There is no such thing as an adult who can entirely subvert themselves to another person. That's called slavery and I think we abolished that several hundred years ago.
PETER HARVEY: Feminist Pru Goward can't believe some of this stuff. Now a Liberal MP, she was the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. She knows it when she sees it.
PRU GOWARD: If you have to lie to your husband and tell him you're being obedient when you're actually just running everything, well, you do have a problem. I mean, we live in the modern age and I think men are actually quite grown-up and they do know that this is a partnership.
Yay Pru! Voice of reason! Here's the problem of being in a society that emphasizes equal partnerships while not entirely enforcing them. The equal partnerships are difficult to have, especially when one member of the partnership has some ingrained idea that they are better than the other member and that their opinion should matter more. I'd personally rather get divorced from a man like that and spend the rest of my life alone (and happy) than stay with someone like that. But then, I like my men in dresses apparently....
PETER HARVEY: But it comes to price. A century of women's struggle for equality with men has to be set aside the moment you walk in the front door. And, inevitably, some men will seize on that.
FRANK: I think it's hard for women in general just to stop the talking for a minute and allow their men to be men.
SKYE: I've discovered through experience, doing it for three years, that usually if I had done it the way that I was going to do it, it wouldn't have turned out as great as it did when he made the decision. He wears the trousers, absolutely, without a shadow of the doubt. I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't want a man who wears a dress.
So, there we go. I personally like equal partnerships because I would never abnegate my own desires for someone elses but that's because I don't consider myself a second class citizen and there are certain compromises I'm not willing to make in order to keep the peace. Until I meet someone who won't make me make those compromises, I'm very happy alone. Of course, any men who wear dresses feel free to apply.