There is a rotating stage show at Tomorrowland, Magic Kingdom, Disney World, called the Carousel of Progress. It was my favorite Disney attraction. It shows a typical American home in the 1900’s, 1920’s, 1940’s and present day. Here’s how it goes:
- The first act takes place during Valentine’s Day around the beginning of the 20th century, and features the family using the new innovations for that era, including gas lamps, a kitchen pump, a hand-cranked washing machine, and a gramophone.
- The second act features devices such as radio, a sewing machine, and a homemade cooling device during the 4th of July in the 1920s
- The third act, set around Halloween in the 1940s, has the family interacting with technologies such as an automatic dishwasher, television, and a homemade paint mixing system.
- The final act is set around Christmas and depicts the family interacting with the technology of the present day. It shows the home in the first decade of the 21st century with high-definition television, virtual reality games, voice activated appliances, and other recent innovations.”
What strikes me most is not just the technological progress, but what impact it made on society. In all scenes except the last one, the man is sitting on a chair talking to the audience while his wife is doing house work in other rooms of the house. In the last scene (that had a 60 year leap from the last one), the house had an “open floor plan“(the living room, kitchen, dining room are not separate rooms but parts of an open space). And here’s what I see: The wife using a laptop in a business outfit, the husband cooking in the kitchen, the grandson and the grandma playing virtual reality games, the granddaughter playing with her ski-boots and the granddad sitting in the living area.
Speaks volumes, right? I couldn’t help but smile. Thank you technology, you have blurred the gender roles. If this could happen in America, India should not be far off. Remember, this was in Tomorrowland, not Fantasyland. It’s an assurance to us, feminists, that eradication of gender roles that we fight for everyday, in not a myth. It’s not an alternate lifestyle but THE LIFESTYLE of the 21st century.
(Here are some pictures of the last act I found on the Internet. The wife is cropped but her laptop is visible in the right: http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyworldsecets/2770782298/ http://touringplans.com/assets/attractions/mk45/8.JPG?1290673007)