A little while ago, I promised a rant about my feelings regarding what I call ‘modern feminism’. It’s taken me a little while to edit it into something coherent but I hope you find it interesting:
Consider a modern wife.
Do you see:
- a flighty woman in a part-time job, who rushes around after the kids in a Ford Ka and then goes home to throw together a chaotic ensemble of potato waffles, fish fingers and baked beans,
- an orderly, calm figure in an apron with dinner on the table, ironing done and house spick-and-span?
I’d wager dollars to donuts that you imagined something closer to the first option, simply because the traditional image of a wife and mother has grown to be considered politically incorrect. We who would like to spend our days ensuring our loved ones come home to a warm, friendly house are backwards and traitors to our gender.
Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not asking that I be kept in the lap of luxury at my husband’s expanse. I’m not a lazy person (I procrastinate, yes, but that isn’t the same thing). When a job needs doing I always pull out all the stops and give it my undivided attention, otherwise I feel there’s little point in starting the endeavour to begin with. However this work ethic seems to be the reason I am now both a full-time housewife and a full-time freelancer. I’d like very much to be the former, however moving furniture around in order to sell it, running to and from town on various errands, organising moves, organising car insurance, holiday trips, dentists, doctors and the birthdays of my ever-growing collection of nieces – some of whom aren’t allowed plastic toys – doesn’t, as far as society is concerned, count as a full-time occupation. The housework is my burden alone because I don’t want S-, who works almost an hour’s drive away, to come home to more work on top of his usual nine-to-five. Somehow though, I seem to have developed the ridiculous notion that it’s not unfair for me to do said chores on top of my paying job.
Feminism, for me – and I suspect most other women in Britain – has simply brought about more work. I appreciate the right to vote and do so every time the chance comes – the fact that people died so I could weighs heavily on my conscience – however, that I now have to work both full-time and run a household is grossly unfair. The theory was sound enough – every human being should have the right to work for a living and to be paid equally for doing so – but in real life, things just don’t work that way. Society has been geared for centuries so that when a man comes home from whatever bread-winning enterprise he’s partaken in, he can simply relax and enjoy his evening. And that’s a habit no one in their right mind would surrender simply for the sake of fairness and equality. Meanwhile, the prospect of an independent income attracted women out to work, however on returning home, the litany of chores and household duties remained, leaving the wife to don her apron and get to it. Over time, society has come to accept this liberated woman as standard and when I tell people I stay at home during the day, their first response is to look pityingly at me and ask, as if it were a terminal disease, “Are you a housewife?”
“No,” I reply, “But I’d bloody well like to be.” They take a step back then, as if I’ve expressed an intense desire for a lobotomy.
That’s what feminism has done – it has criminalised the mothering instinct. We who wish to turn our bare-walled boxes from house to home are socially inferior because we’d like to have a fresh cake ready for our husbands when they return from work, or to spend an afternoon baking with our children rather than pawning them off on a state-run institution. We who would like to sew fleece lined curtains to keep the draughts out, or who’d like to read to our offspring are wrong and unenlightened.
Well, to those who will undoubtedly spam this saying I am against women’s rights, I have only this to say: Feminism began to create choice. I chose to aspire to a life as a wife and mother, and eventually a granny who can hug better than she can initiate a hostile business take-over.
I’m not damning those who chose to put career first – merely asking that they respect the choice I plan to make.
I think the fact that I work from home compounds my part in creating a world where I must be both earner and nurturer. My one hour lunch break – set aside for writing fiction amongst my copywriting work – is soon consumed with loading the dishwasher, doing the laundry, or nipping into town to fetch something. In order for me to have enough time to pursue my hobbies – sedate things such as patchworking and painting – I’d have to either give up sleep or one of my full-time jobs. Though at present our income dictates that I must be both bread-winner and bread-maker, I hope that in the not-too-distant future I’ll be able to enjoy a little free time for myself every once in a while.
On a similar theme is the following article which I found very interesting. It speaks of the values of a traditional family unit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1215937/Why-thought-knew-good-parent-WRONG.html