Power and the lack of it

My daughter and I are watching the series Edwardian House, where 19 modern day people are 'sent' back in time to live and work as a household would have done in 1906.

Life is, of course, bad for the servants. I don't think anyone expected otherwise. What may have turned out to be surprising for some, however, was the difficult time one of the 'upstairs' family had. The lady of the house's maiden sister came to live with the family, but left after several weeks suffering depression and ill health.

It wasn't because of the luxury. She had every perk that a rich woman could have had living in her position. It was because of the lack of freedom that she had as a person.

Because her status was low as an unmarried woman, and because she was dependent on her brother in law for her food, clothes and shelter, she was unable to express her own opinions, choose her own activities, see her own friends, or entertain her own company. The formalities of Edwardian life made it impossible for her to get out and see more of life.

I wasn't surprised. I know how women fare in positions where they have no freedom and no power. In fact, it's not just women. If any person has to live in a position of dependence and powerlessness, it is damaging to health, physical, emotional and mental.

If there's one thing I value, it is my freedom to express my opinions and follow my own interests and passions. I'm so sad for the millions of women and children (and men too, but to a lesser extent) whose lives are so constrained by men in power.