We can either be traditional or non-traditional in the way we do things!
Wow – that’s a doozy of a starting place – thank you FTSF hosts! I was just popping in for 5 minutes of light relief in between redunkulous amounts of end of month work – and now I’ll be thinking about this one for hours!
So – here goes. Feminism.
It baffles me.
Sorry – but it does. Or rather – the definition of feminism in general – and in particularly how it relates to me. That baffles me. It perplexes, confudlees, confounds and mystifies me.
Traditionally – as in so long ago in the past that it was pre-war, last century, everyone wearing tabards and curly wigs long ago (smashing a few historical dramas into a clearly factual recounting of historical era’s is totally allowed – it’s my blog) – traditionally a woman’s place was to keep the house, bring up the sprogs, churn the butter and cook the dinner. Oh – and help the husband in the family shop, or delivering the lambs, milking the cows and tanning the leather.
So – managing the house and keeping down a job. Except the business was in the man’s name and the little woman wasn’t paid. Unless she was a widow. Then she owned it all, but everyone assumed she did it badly, being afflicted with a vagina an’ all. (If I was sexist, I could say that men keep their brains in their pants, which is why they find the concept of women having brains so difficult to understand – being as we don’t keep lumpy things in our pants. But I’m not sexist. So I won’t say that!)
Traditionally – as in post-war, half the male population was gone, the rest were too old or too young; the woman was expected to keep the house, bring up the sprogs, cook the dinner and buy the butter. And put in a full day’s work in a factory, or a shop, or be a receptionist or a nurse.
So – managing the house and keeping down a job. Except the job was a ‘lowly’ one, only fit for women. Mostly because they were organisational or required attention to detail, which women can do better because their brains are behind their eyes and not being smothered in the aforementioned pants, with a crap view of what was going on in the world!
These days – because we are now breaking down boundaries, reaching new heights, achieving new goals, the woman is expected to keep the house, bring up the sprogs, cook the dinner, use margarine (it’s faster) and run a successful business, have a career and fight for the equality of men and women everywhere.
So – managing the house, keeping down a job and pushing each other to do more and more and more and more . . .
This is where my befuddlement kicks in. I see women who are successful in their careers, equal or better than the men they work with. They are called ‘ball breakers’ or assumed to be a bad mother for not spending their time with their kids.
I’ve seen women who stay at home, manage the house, bring up the kids and prepare delicious, home cooked meals every night. They are derided for being a ‘housewife’, the term being used to denote someone who is failing to fight for her right to be career driven.
Then there are those in between, who work but don’t push the career path because they can’t dedicate the time needed whilst also bringing up the kids, although also use ready meals because they were working too late to cook the cock au vin. These women don’t need to be sneered at by the others, they already carry enough feeling of failure to condemn themselves.
Call me cynical, but it seems that the ones who do most of the name calling, deriding and condemning here are women. Women against women. So – how does this feminism work, exactly?
Now, apply this to myself. Feminism means fighting for equal rights and equal pay. Women can do everything that men can do. Right?
Except – they can’t. Not really. In most cases, yes. In office jobs and medical jobs and caring professions and teaching role and . .. yes, they can. But not in jobs requiring physical strength, for example – because we are not all built the same.
I am pretty certain, without having to go and test my theory, that a 36 year old man can carry a darn sight more bricks in his hod up a ladder to the roof on a building site, than 36 year old I can! So, if I was going to go work on a building site hauling about hods, should I be paid the same as the other worker who can do more per hour and is more productive?
Yes, I know it’s a single example and there are strong women and weak men. But generally, in that particular profession, equality doesn’t work.
Does admitting that mean I am not a feminist?
Let’s take a look at manners. It’s old fashioned, let’s say traditional, for a man to hold open a door for a woman, to sit down after her and push her chair into the table. Okay, scrap that last one, it never works for me, but the others…? A little courtesy is quite nice, now and then!
‘Being treated like a lady!’ It’s nice, right? We like to be given gifts and flowers and made to feel special. We like to be taken out for dinner and all that girly stuff.
But isn’t expecting a man to do all that kind of sexist? In an equal world, surely ‘being treated like a lady’ is wrong? What about ‘being treated like a gentleman’? What would that involve?
Does that mean in this case I don’t want equality?
Back to the old working thing!
Over the last 3 years I have seen my circumstances completely change, from being a full time employee with a pretty good wage, independent bank account and plenty of spare cash, to be being self-employed and occasionally dependent on Mr G for some cash influx.
I have to be honest, sometimes it smarts.
I mean, I know we’re a team. We work together to bring up our kids, look after our house and provide for everything.
And I know I am better off emotionally having time to go to kids plays, do the school run and have a little me time every now and then.
But I did like being able to consider myself ‘equal’ in the contribution stakes. I contribute in other ways – emotionally, caring, maintaining the home . . .hang on, aren’t those ‘women’s roles’!
I want equality, but I also want to be the one at home with my kids. I want my career, but I’m happy for Mr G to do the 9-5 while I get to go to the nativity plays.
Does that mean I am a feminist or not?
I don’t feel downtrodden or forced into a subordinate role. But I do have a niggly feeling I should be earning more, which makes me work longer hours to try to be ‘equal’, but to the detriment of the kids, who get less playtime. A niggly feeling that seems to be the product of needing to be equal, because we women should have equality.
Like I said – I’m confused!
If the traditional way to do things seems to be for a woman to keep the house, bring up the sprogs and cook the dinner whilst simultaneously working – I guess I’m doing things the traditional way.
With extra butter.