Carrying on from my previous posts about Christmas, I have noticed this year that there is a lot of discussion about how sexist Christmas is. There is that Asda advert that has everyone in uproar over it’s portrayal of mum the Christmas hero and dad the useless layabout. I was watching ‘The Wright Stuff’ on telly yesterday that spent a good twenty minutes discussing how very sexist this advert is, how offensive it is to men and how it perpetuates the stereotype that women should be in the home.
Is it sexist though – or just representative of the majority of the country? This is not to knock the efforts of the single dad or the house husband or any other home where the mum is not the Christmas-maker. But sometimes, as a women, I do get fed up of being told I have been somehow mind-washed into my place.
Take my house, for example.
Mr G works long hours, outside in the cold all day. Often in the evening he falls asleep on the sofa. Stereotypical man.
I work long hours in my heated office with time to wander about getting coffee and browsing the internet. I also do all the school runs and most of the cooking. Stereotypical woman.
But at weekends, Mr G does the washing and helps with the cleaning. I get a lie in before we go shopping, often together. We are a team.
At Christmas, I do the present shopping. I know what presents the kids want, what toys they already have and realistically, no matter what they asked for, I know what they will actually play with. Mr G only has to buy for me and I can already see the stress showing as he tries to think of something great.
I order in all the food for Christmas. Mr G carries the boxes of decorations downstairs, I put up them up with help from the kids. On Christmas Day, Mr G lugs about furniture, pushes about the vacuum and carries heavy over laden trays of turkey, but generally I do all of the preparation and cooking.
Arguably then, the mum does do the majority of Christmas in our house. I fit the stereotype. However this is not to denigrate the tasks that Mr G does. They are important and they help in getting the task accomplished. In my opinion, we work as a team, while I do take on the majority of the obvious load. But there are reasons for this.
Firstly, I am a control freak. In my head I have the vision of the perfect family Christmas. In order for me to achieve that, I need to control the situation. I provide direction where I can, delegating where possible. But to get my Christmas, I have to work at it.
Secondly, I enjoy providing this special day for my family. I want to see the kids happy little faces and know it’s because of the work I put in. I didn’t need this feeling of accomplishment when I was childless, but now I do. Perhaps it’s something that was injected with the other hormones during pregnancy?
I wasn’t offended by the Asda advert. I took it as an exaggerated, mildly amusing view on the sterotype. Offensive no, just not very original.
It seems to me that there are more outcries than ever in this day and age. “That’s sexist.” “That’s offensive to women/men.”
Yes, there are men out there who like to cook and clean, there are women who want to work on building sites. There are house husbands and women CEO’s.
But there are also many women who actually enjoy doing the home making and child rearing. I consider myself to be a fully independent woman. I enjoy working for myself, running my own business and making my own choices. I also enjoy being able to take care of my husband and children, keeping them fed and happy. Yes, I will share the daily grind of cleaning and washing, but when it comes to making a moment special, I like to do it for them.
Does it ever occur to these people who throw the word sexism out there all the time that actually many of us choose the stereotype because we want to?