FTSF – Feminism in the traditional way.

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.

 

About Piper George

Wife, mother, puppy chaser extraordinaire. Freelance copy-writer and blogger! Life is full of opportunities - it's having the time to grab them that's hard.

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Comments

FTSF – Feminism in the traditional way. — 24 Comments

  1. Great post, Piper! I grew up with two step sisters and their mom who were huge on equality. Back then and to this day I’m all in and a supporter. I also work in a field that does require women to have the same physical strength as men so it can get a bit cloudy there. I really liked your statement, “it seems that the ones who do most of the name calling, deriding and condemning here are women.” I always enjoy posts that make me ponder and think. Even if I’m still befuddled on the topic overall. You ladies are doing great 🙂

    • Doing great – but still not sure what exactly that is?! 😉
      ‘Traditionally’ male roles include things like dustmen, sewage workers etc. Now, since I’m all for equality I should also be able to do that kind of job – but to be honest, I’m happy to leave that to the men. Does that make me sexist? Wo-Man, I’m confused!

  2. I LOVE your post! I agree, as women fought for more equality the lines got blurred. Women toatally attack each other more than men…mothers are the worst to each other, which is sad. I think feminism now should be the right to do what you choose without harsh judgement from others or yourself. You choose to be a single mom…you rock. You choose to stay at home…you rock. You choose to work and put your child in day care…you rock. Once we ladies start accepting ourselves nad others…it will all work…okay…I’ll stop my rant now, LOL

    • Absolutely – and I think that is the actual basic heart of the matter. Equality is about choice. We women should be able to choose to be a career woman, a stay-at-home mum etc.
      Erm, so equally a man should be able to choose the be the stay-at-home mum too – right? Although how often does that happen? If both husband and wife wanted to stay home and both earned the same, wouldn’t we all kinda ‘expect’ the man to work?

  3. I can say without hesitation that I have no desire to be equal. I enjoy having doors opened for me, having my chair held for me, having my husband carry in the groceries, having him do all the typically “male” chores around the house. I should have been an adult in the 50s, because I am so old-fashioned when it comes to gender roles. But, at the same time, I fully encourage those women who want more out of life to go get it….if it works for them, congratulations!!

    • Yep – I’m with you there in a lot of ways. I like being treated as the woman and it’s nice to be cared for. But I’m still all for having the choice and leaving him with the kids when I need some me time!

  4. Crikey, you took this one off the deep end!

    Is there a ‘should be’? According to whom?

    Life’s for living in whatever manner makes it work. The better way to look at it (by far) is that you and your husband are a TEAM, and between you, as long as money comes in, the house is clean and the children are happy, the both of you should feel reasonably content that you’re doing okay.

    Life tastes good with extra butter. Don’t fret about it 🙂

    • I have been thinking about it all for a while – this just seemed like a good time to mention it 😉

      We are a team, everything is done between us – I think too much ‘independence’ and ‘rely only on yourself’ has stuck with me though – it’s hard to be an us not an I!

  5. Great post. I tend to become suspicious of anything that gets a label applied to it- like Feminism. Do we have a word like Masculinism? Most would say we don’t need one because it’s the platform on which everything else is built, but I don’t agree. Humanity has evolved only through the quiet efforts of both genders accepting a partnership in living life well. Is there a label for that?

    • Totally – the majority of partnerships work well – I guess it’s the ones where people get put together who had different views of how a partnership works that causes friction – work or home life.

  6. Great points here, ma’am. ugh to people who won’t recognize that men and women are different. That’s why there aren’t a lot of women playing in the NFL or for Manchester United, even though it’s good pay. It doesn’t make men better, but we are different, generally. My wife works full time, just like I do. I do all the cooking and we just do what we must to get the house and kids where they need to be. I don’t view anything as being woman’s work that I can’t do, except for the laundry. Wife won’t let me touch her fancy front loading washer…lol. She’s afraid I’ll break it.

    • Oh – is that why women don’t play for Man U – I thought it was something to do with the location 😉
      Mr G does our washing – probably because if I do it it happens much less often! I just make sure we have enough clothes to last between washes, he tends to do it weekly – maybe to stop me shopping so much 😉

  7. Oh my, it is so complicated, isn’t it? I think ultimately feminism is about women being able to choose what they want. The only sense of “you can’t have it all” that is true is that you can’t be a doctor and a lawyer and an astronaut ….. There are still only 24 hours in the day. But we can honor the choices that women make for themselves. I think feminism is about making it so that all women HAVE that choice. Some women work because they have to, or stay home because they don’t have affordable quality daycare. And equal doesn’t mean same. And as for holding doors open, I see that as a common human courtesy – if I see a man carrying a bunch of stuff into work, I’ll hold the door for him. It’s about kindness, not weakness.

    I love that you are thinking about all this — so fascinating!

    • You can have it all – but you would feel guilty about it anyway. Women are made to feel guilt I guess.
      You are right – maybe that’s the answer. Feminism is about choice – but humanity is about criticism of each other.

  8. I love your post, Piper. I just want the same opportunity
    to make choices. Not every woman’s group speaks for me, even though
    in many cases they claim they do. Your topic and the thoughtful
    responses have created such a great dialogue. Men…women…it
    doesn’t matter. We just need to treat each other with
    respect.

    • That’s so true – but all men and all women will never all get on – there is always another conflict ahead. I wonder that is?

  9. I hear you loud and clear. Funny, in my post today, I have
    a paragraph that touches on that — the dozen roles that women
    expect themselves to be able to juggle expertly. And obviously,
    we’re not the first to say it. Maybe that means expectations and
    attitudes regarding women’s roles are starting to change for the
    better? One can hope.

    • To be honest, I don’t think it ever will change. Women are hormonally made to function as the caregiver – in most instances. Yes, there are house husbands are great single dads and men are every bit as capable of being the caring parent – I just think that women do it naturally and maybe men have to actually think about doing it – due to circumstances or whatever. Obviously that’s a sweeping generalisation, but as long as we have kids, in most instances the woman would automatically have the urge to care for them and therefore have the choice to make about work/home life.

  10. Man, I have read some great feminism posts lately, I think it’s been on many of our collective brains! You make some solid points, especially-ugh- the “women against women” thing. That one really kills me. I see no reason to point fingers at ANY mom, whether she chooses to stay home, work, or a combo of both. Teaching our kids that women have the right to choose any path– and deserve to be supported on that path– is the most important thing. There are many glaring double standards in feminism. I feel I deserve certain “non-traditional” perks of feminism, but yet I still want my husband to do “traditional” manly things- in other words, I want it both ways! So complicated… great post, Piper!

    • Well – men have been saying for ever that we women can’t make up our minds – maybe that’s the problem. My view on this changes from comment to comment!

  11. Wow. You really DID take this one further than most huh? And I LOVE that you took it to the feminism side, because that’s been such an issue recently and one that seems to have so much conflict. For me, who met my husband and am convinced that part of the reason he fell in love with me was because I had a better job than he did, I get this. When I got pg, I was convinced that I’d go back to work because I loved my career. I quit about 4 minutes after my son was born. I didn’t work for 3 years and now work part-time for 1/5 of the (if you figure it out based on hourly vs salary) money that I used to make and at times, it STILL feels like too much. And my husband does all of the laundry. I guess he didn’t really like how I was doing his shirts.

    • Mr G does our laundry – as far as getting it dry, I do the putting away – but I think he just has an instinctual hatred of tidiness as he is the messiest person I ever met!

  12. Spot on Piper, why do women feel they have a right to criticise the way another woman lives her life? We’re guilty of it in our family, my sister gets a lot of stick for not having had kids. She and her husband are very happy together and just never felt the need, so why do me and my mum fell we have the right to judge that her life isn’t as fulfilled as it could be of she was a mum? Goodness knows, yet we do! She lives being a career woman, but by no means does she live to work. She has fabulous holidays and works hard to pay for them. It’s not the life I’d choose, but who am I to say it’s the wrong one for her? Feminism should be defined as the right to choose and be happy in your choice, no matter what that might be. Xx

    • After reading everyone’s comments it does seem to come down to choice – we all have our own idea of what we think would make us happy, we just need to be able to choose that way of life. Why women need to hit on each other all the time, I don’t know – but we all do it to some degree whether we realise it or not, I think.

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