Feminism Friday – The Blog

Reflections of a young feminist… and much more!

When a feminist moves in and gets engaged… July 10, 2009

This post will be a perfect example of the infamous quote; “The personal is political.” Also, it is sort of a two part entry, which should hopefully make up for the fact that I have not written for some time now.

Recently, I am talking within a week, I moved in with my partner of the past 5-6 months. This is the man I intend on spending the rest of my life with. However, things around the house still need a bit of work. Like last night when I found myself holding not only my empty plate and fork but also his. I was shocked and I asked him to clarify if that really was what had just happened. He responded by informing me that he had cooked the dinner so maybe I would clean up. Unfortunately, he neglected to remember me cooking dinner the previous night and also doing the dishes. I am all for equality but sometimes I just want the dishes done now, not the next morning or whatever else is offered.

As a feminist, I feel that it is not fair for me to expect someone else to live up to my standards which involve cleaning the dishes immediately after dinner and keeping the whole house at a consistent level of clean. I know I used to hate living with my mother because I never cleaned the kitchen or bathroom to her standard, however, I saw a perfectly clean space. Still, I find myself already wishing that every item would be immediately returned to its appropriate space. (As a note, I hate to vacuum and my partner hates dog fur on the carpet – so we could easily turn this whole situation around.)

Any advice on how to address or tackle this situation so that each of our needs can be met while still allowing us to live comfortably in our shared home?

The second part of this entry is around the fact that we have every intention of getting engaged and soon after married. I am barely, if at all traditional. In fact, until meeting this person I had made a promise not to get married but to live in a committed relationship only. In our small town community it is extremely common to find that most of the work is gendered towards females. (Not to say that men are not capable of being in these roles, but they are not encouraged to in this community or in a larger societal context.) And therefore, many heterosexual couples find that the woman is actually the breadwinner.

My partner and I are not an exception to this rule. I make significantly more money than he does on a monthly basis. To be clear, I make 4/5th of our entire household’s income. As a result, we do our best to balance our portion of shared bills so that each of us is left with a portion for our own spending money. However, I am generally left with much more to save or spend as I please.

While we both want to get engaged as soon as possible, it is me that is still holding her breath and might not make it much longer without taking that next step. Quite frankly, I anticipate that it will take far longer than I want to wait for my partner to be able to save the money needed for an engagement ring and wedding band set.  Alternatively, I would be able to make the purchase or give my partner the money to do so immediately.

What is an independent woman to do? As far as traditional proposals go, the only thing I want to keep around is the fact that he ask me instead of me asking him. It is pretty certain I was the first one who mentioned being in love, etc. so I think it is my turn to be wooo’d a bit. I would be completely fine with picking out and paying for my own ring, then giving it to my partner to do with as he pleases when he is ready. Once the question has been asked and answered I fully intend on getting him an engagement ring as well, fair is fair after all.

So my problem is the fact that my partner wants to keep some of these antiquated and patriarchial traditions, like paying for the ring himself (and also it being more expensive than necessary – seriously try EBay!) as well as picking it out without any help or prior advice from me. So, any suggestions on how to proceed?

 

The Patriarchy Exists May 13, 2009

Okay… I know, this is not exactly news! And it likely, is not news to you either, especially since you are reading a blog about Feminism. But sometimes you meet specific people or hear a short conversation that really blows your mind. The discussions are always a bit different but generally filled with the same kind of crap they all are.

*** After writing this entry, I realized that this is mostly a rant. Enjoy! ***

As an example, the other day I was chilling in the basement of my (soon to be) fiancee’s basement. I happened to be watching “Iron Jawed Angels” which I had been trying to catch since Courtney at Feministing linked to about 6 months ago, but every time I saw it on it was in the last 10-30 minutes. I live in a small town and neither movie rental store had a copy. When the movie started I was alone, as I would have needed to be to choose such a movie. Not that my partner would object necessarily, but his entourage of dude friends certainly would.

Needless to say one of the aforementioned friends joined me and started to ask what the movie was about. He assumed the depression. When I told him that it was actually about the Suffragettes and the fight for the vote early on in the feminist movement, he actually responded by saying; “Sometimes I really wish it was like it was back then, but I guess women have brains and their own thoughts you know.” Yeah buddy, I fucking know, cause in case you forgot, you are talking to a WOMYN!!!

He continued on to say that it would be really nice if his pregnant girlfriend just stayed at home to take care of the kids all day, as well as cook and clean. I should clarify by saying that at this time, she is on maternity leave and that since I have known this man, he has not been gainfully employed. So I suppose he would have someone to cook the food he couldn’t pay for or clean the apartment where has is in rental arrears.

I still cannot get over the type of crap this guy spews. Thankfully even my “fiancee” is only friends with this person out of pitty and can barely do it for that reason any longer. This is the same person who told us that his girlfriend “is due in August and has only gained 4lbs.” Now maybe it is just me, but dieting while pregnant is probably not awesome for the baby, however, I can totally understand how she may have internalized his comments or attitudes and be afraid to gain some baby weight.

If there was ever a person I wish I could direct to Derailing for Dummies, this would be the person. He always knows better than you do, about life, experiences, racism (he is white), sexism, and generally any topic that comes up in conversation.

It would be impossible to list all of the ridiculous things this person has said in my company, but given the work that I do I cannot leave out the fact that like most “Men’s Rights Activists” he insists that he knows many, many physically abused men – a what about them mentality. The answer is simple, the services exist in their current format because 98% of the time violence is perpetrated by men either on women or on other men. If you really want to know where the services for men are, perhaps you should be asking why women are taught to prevent violent attacks on themselves while men are not being taught how to not attack women in the first place!

“If 98% of all sexual assaults are committed by men, why is it still considered a women’s issue?”