I think I've written about this before but given my life as of late I think it bears further discussion. Whatever happened to feminism? Seriously.
Most of my University career was spent examining the perils of a patriarchal society. Study of how women fought for the vote; for the right to choose; for equal pay for equal work. I have a friend who often laments the feminist movement because in her eyes, if it never existed she would not have to leave the home to work and could happily spend her days homemaking. However I don't think feminism is to blame.
Many women prefer to work outside of the home. Some have very little choice in the matter based on financial need. Feminists recognized this and the Women's Movement, in part, was in effort to ensure these women were/are being properly compensated for their work despite the fact they don't have penises.
So why the history lesson?
Here's why...people have been writing about the Double Day or the Double Work-Week, in reference to women, for at least thirty years now and yet nothing has changed. Nearly all of the women I know work a full-time job and still do the lion's share of the house work, child rearing and cooking. And on top of that, are now mired in trying to attain nearly impossible standards of 'beauty'. Booking waxing appointments, working out in their free time and condemning themselves time and time again each time a cookie or chip passes their lips.
I'm not suggesting Feminism means not taking care of ourselves, but more often than not, the appointments and work-outs are geared toward attaining these unattainable standards and less about self-care.
And men? Men will help when asked and expect a certain amount of acknowledgement (preferred 'acknowledgement', for most men means more than a hug or a simple Thank You, but that's what most of them can expect). Yet when we clean the house from top to bottom, chauffeur our children to their 17 different games and meetings, it is more expected than acknowledged.
Men, whether they are 98 pound weaklings or 'big boned' fellas, could not be prouder of their physiques (penises) and feel we, as women, should be equally enamoured. Most of the time, many of us would prefer to 'enamour' with the lights off and shudder at the thought of full nudity in broad daylight in front of anyone, even our husbands who take such pride in their less-than-perfect bodies it usually requires dancing when coming out of the shower.
Men do not understand what our fixation is on our weight and assure us we look 'just fine'. If they are convincing enough this may be believable for a moment. Until a size 6 walks past in tight jeans and Bubba nearly loses his balance and suffers from whiplash trying to take in her ass as she saunters past. And we admonish him for looking, lament our love handles and storm off tearfully at his failure to understand.
Then later, make-up-less and in sweat pants, enjoying our evening snack, we veritably howl like she-wolves at our favourite leading man on the television. And God help him if he says anything. We are entitled, he is not.
It's all pretty fucked up, if you ask me.
Back to feminism...it's dead. Posh killed it. So did Brooke Burke. And any other celebrity who has four, three or even one child and then poses in a bikini within weeks. Heidi-fucking-Klum ring a bell?
And we fall for it, time and time again. Berate ourselves, beat ourselves up for not looking like that within weeks, months or ahem, years, of birthing the little monsters ourselves. And our husbands look on, blase, scratching their bellies, think about losing five pounds and drop 10 after a brisk walk with the dog, and we are left bitter, bloated and bitchy.
Or it's the friend who appears to be some strange breed of Super Mom. She's thin. She always looks perfect. Hair done, make-up done. Her children are clean and well-behaved. Her home is immaculate. And again, we beat ourselves up for not being as efficient or as "good" as her. What we forget, is that she, is busy beating herself up too. For likely a multitude of reasons.
This is where the death of Feminism and current pop culture has gotten us. Self-doubting and self-berating our inability to measure up.
Today's most relate-able television character is Frankie Heck on The Middle. Their house does not look like it was decorated by Martha Stewart herself; they eat fast-food; their children are not perfect. Yet, the show loses some of it's effectiveness in terms of social consciousness by the sheer silliness of it. Yes it's entertaining, but real? Not quite.
So where does this leave us? What's the answer? I think it hearkens back to a post by Single Dad Laughing on perfection. We speak up. We no longer apologize for the condition of our home, no matter how clean or dirty, when a friend pops by. We ask for help. We stop berating our bodies and ourselves for not attaining perfection. Perfection is boring anyway. Perfection does not leave work two hours early without any other explanation than a misunderstanding of military time. Perfection does not leave the house with two different shoes on. Perfection? Does not laugh.
And above all, I think we need to laugh.
We need to laugh and we need to value ourselves enough to tell Bubba what he needs to do to demonstrate how much he values what we do as well. Time and time again the 'experts' on marriage say the best way to get a man to help around the house is to show gratitude and appreciation for his efforts. Well guess what mother truckers, maybe it's time the tables were turned. Maybe it's time we take the wheel on that one and starting asking for the same.
Maybe it's time for us to proudly strut our stuff upon coming out of the shower...
Well whatever the case, this will not be the last you'll hear from me. I have much more to say. From my sons already taking me for granted to my sometimes wish, on particularly bad days, that my daughter will never marry or have children. Simply because I shudder to think of her someday burning her candle at both ends in this miserable search for perfection that doesn't exist.
Like I said, those are particularly bad days. On the not so bad days, I wear my slippers in an effort to avoid crumbs on the soles of my feet in the kitchen; I make grilled cheese and french fries for supper and I wear sweat pants and eat chocolate sans guilt.
Maybe instead of labelling this all as Feminism,which I know sometimes puts people off for a number of (stupid) reasons, let's focus on less guilt. No more feeling guilty for a less than immaculate home. No more guilt for enjoying a treat; whether that be chocolate, chips, a beer or a pop, or all of the above.