I’m all about equal pay, equal treatment, yadda yadda yadda. Perhaps more accurately feminism should be/is called humanism, but lately when it comes to gender equality, feminism is the term most widely recognized, though often misinterpreted.
Unfortunately I could write multiple posts about where extremism, aggression and victimization has taken the guise of feminism, but today I’m writing about a slightly lighter – though still serious – topic.
It’s the championing of men who are domestically responsible. It’s the cheering that happens when a woman, who considers herself an ardent feminist, sees a man pushing a broom. It’s the standing ovation echoing the halls when a man loads a dishwasher.
Sure, it’s cute and sure, everyone likes a bit of appreciation, but if someone truly considers themselves a feminist, shouldn’t the same happen for the woman who does these things on the regular? Shouldn’t anything a person do to be self-supporting, be taken as just that?
My partner is amazing, but not because he cooks and cleans (he also eats and makes a mess). He’s amazing because of a whole host of other reasons I’m going to marry him for. But the other day when a woman saw him making me pancakes and told me I have the best boyfriend in the world and am lucky because he can make breakfast, I felt like my partner was being lessened, and I wondered what’s up with this common worldview of men. I’ve cooked for that same woman and my partner, cleaned the house, and done a lot of domestic work in her vicinity, but no one ever told me I’m the best girlfriend in the world for doing the dishes or taking out the trash. I don’t mean to pick on one person here – this female response is so typical it’s not limited to just this one person or situation. This isn’t the first and surely will not be the last time I hear someone complimenting my partner for doing his share. Regardless, I do want to table it for consideration as these small reactions really do say a lot. They also put an enormous amount of strain on women who are burning themselves out to have a clean house, take care of the kids, work, pay the mortgage, etc – all things that, if you’re a feminist, should be shared equally as the hum drums of life.
It’s these same women who will tell you that “it wasn’t like that in my day.” How they cooked and cleaned and scrubbed the toilet. How the men came home from work and soiled the pristine carpet with dirty shoes. They’re the ones who say they believe in feminism, and yet when they see it – a small sign of equality – they rush to treat it as the second coming. In that kind of atmosphere equality in the household cannot exist.
And now, someone who can say this so much better than me… Ally Wong!