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?