The adage featured for today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS is:
A woman’s place is in the home
Well, I don’t agree that all women should be consigned to the kitchen and their own role in life should be serving a purely domestic function to care for their family. But, I am kind of chilled on this subject to be honest. I happen to be a woman who loves working at home. I also love working outside of the home. It would make me go loopy to be stuck indoors all the time.
I happen to have a gorgeous boyfriend who likes to try cooking. He has attempted numerous times to make me pancakes for breakfast. I don’t want to discourage him, but he won’t be applying for Masterchef any time soon. Jack does not make me think that he would view it as my role to feed him every day. I wouldn’t object if he did. However, cleaning and laundry have never been his strong points.
The only negative experience I have ever had about male and female roles, was when one of my colleagues refused to perform cleaning duties (we were all assigned a day on the rota) because he said “it is not a man’s job to clean”. Can you imagine how that went down at work!
I was born in the eighties. This was a decade famous for shoulder pads, electro-pop and feminism amongst other things.
I have seen women wanting to break through the glass ceiling, and want equal pay, rights and respect to men. I don’t consider myself a feminist as such. But I do enjoy the relative freedoms I have here in the west, compared to the limitations imposed on women in some other lands. My father, the men in my family, my male friends and volunteer colleagues have never made me feel inferior because I am a female. Neither have they had an old-fashioned mentality about what is a women’s role in life.
But throughout my life I have seen various faces of feminism and sexism. It’s clear that some people have their own thoughts on roles and rights etc. I have managed to avoid that for most of my life. Apart from one boss who was outrageously inappropriate in the way he treated me (he thought it was ok to make personal comments about my appearance and dress, to touch my thighs, arms, face, try to kiss me, and expose himself), I have managed to avoid a lot of strange antiquated outlooks.
I like to see men and women of all cultures dignified and respected. I have seen both men and women behave well and display beautiful qualities, I have seen both men and women exhibit the worst of human behavior. I do not feel either men or women can claim a monopoly on treating others appropriately all the time. Individuals should take responsibility for their own attitudes, speech and behaviour.
There has been a shift in expectations for women during my lifetime. Sometimes, I have not quite known what my role is, what opportunities might be open to me, how to gain the most satisfaction and fulfillment. I must admit, as roles have changed, perhaps people forgot to send me the memo on what on earth I was supposed to aim for. I am not sure what my expectations should be anymore.
I grew up thinking that one day I would end up married and my role would involve a lot of housework as well as other work outside the home.. I just thought it would happen almost effortlessly. In my mind, I thought he would be a farmer, and I would be a farmer’s wife. I still don’t get why the world doesn’t work that way anymore.
Now, as I grew older, I realize that just being married is not necessarily a good thing. You could be miserable. It means a lot to me, that as a woman in the western world I have choice over who I wed. I have turned down two marriage proposals for good reasons. I also ended a courtship with a fine young man (my best friend and I courted for years, but I ended it when I was around twenty-four/five) because I realized that I was miserable with him.
However, I am in no way against marriage. Quite the opposite. I have no objection to the traditional stereotypes – I have been a housekeeper for many clients, why wouldn’t I do all those tasks for the man I love?
In fact, when I was in Australia, I said to my gorgeous friend that if he ever decided to settle down with someone, he should make sure she knows how to look after his beautiful house properly. He looked baffled when I said that. He basically said he wouldn’t expect any woman to do that, but he would hire a cleaner.
That baffled me. Is it because I grew up expected to perform household chores throughout my childhood, that I see it as part of the responsibility of life that you clean and tidy your own home? Unless you are physically unable to? I would take delight in making his home a haven for him. I don’t get prickly the subject domestic tasks, probably because I enjoy them so much and find them satisfying.
Well, the fact that people hire a cleaner rather than doing their own housework has kept me with an easy way to earn my bread and butter. Did you know I earn a minimum of £15 per hour housekeeping in London? One client pays me £20 per hour. I can earn much more gardening or painting/decorating.
I know there are a lot of men out there who I would run a million miles away from! I would never choose them as my head. But I have no problem with taking on the larger part of domestic tasks if I was married. I guess everyone is different.
We have many happy marriages and thriving families within our family. Mostly they work together to look after their homes, but it is not unusual for the women in our family to be doing most of the cooking and cleaning and laundry. That does not mean their husbands are lazing about on the sofa watching sport! Far from it! The men in our family are usually out working – most of them perform practical work in farming, construction or as cleaners. Loving and supportive couples who make marriage look awesome.
Anyway…to me…work should be satisfying. I enjoy cooking, cleaning and ironing. I really do. Hey, the afternoons I spend cooking and filling up my freezer with meals to eat when I am too busy to cook, I put my favourite music on and have a glass of wine. They are afternoons I look forward to. I enjoy housework much more than being being shouted at by angry patients. But everyone is different. Every couple is different. They can arrange between them who is best suited to looking after domestic tasks and earning money to cover household expenses. At the end of the day, they are a team.
Housework needs to be done. Better to enjoy it than begrudge it. I am aware of feminism. I am aware of sexism. I am aware of mosongony and harassment. I am aware of all sorts of mistreatment. I do realize others have suffered a lot. I have managed to avoid idiots and I am glad of it. But for many others…it has been a very hard life.
This was my response to today’s FANDANGO’S FEBRUARY EXPRESSIONS: