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Ah, The Patriarchy

, , , | Legal | March 21, 2022

I was reading a thread about how technical questions often are directed to the male, and how salespeople will wait for the husband’s decision, and I was reminded of my old religion teacher.

This was the late eighties and the ink on her diploma was barely dry. We were in our last year of high school, so we were seventeen or eighteen and still close enough in age to relate.

One day, our teacher was so indignant she just had to share with the class. Her husband was still studying, so he was a dependent just as their newborn son. In Belgium, you receive a small stipend for children, until they are no longer studying or have their twenty-fifth birthday, whichever comes first.

Apparently, this is also the case when your spouse is still a student, albeit an adult. One day, a summons came for the head of the household to come to the police station; I forgot what for but that is not important for the story. Being the breadwinner, having two dependents, our teacher felt very much the head of the household and she went. According to the law, all that didn’t matter. Her husband was the official head of the household and it was him the police needed to see.

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