15. “Petticoat Rule” Will Dominate The Government
In the year 1910, when suffragettes were beginning to win the fight for the vote, Baroness Orczy, the author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, wrote a book entitled Petticoat Government. Like The Scarlet Pimpernel, Petticoat Government was about the French Revolution, the abuses of the aristocracy, and the ordinary people. Rather than critiquing the guillotine, however, it looked at the massive influence that Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV, held over the French government. This critique of women in government — written by a woman — did not concern the dealings of an elected official but rather someone that many considered to be a prostitute.
One concern about giving women the right to vote was that the government would fall under “petticoat rule,” meaning that it would come to be run entirely by women. Considering that women were not viewed as being competent in their own right but instead were expected to stand beside their husbands, this ideal was seen quite negatively. Today, though, there are entire cities that are run exclusively by women, and some countries are contemplating what the repercussions of a solely female government might be.
Perhaps there is something to this argument, after all. Also, maybe a “petticoat government” wouldn’t be such a bad thing.