May 30, 2011

Ladies! Calm DOWN!

I appreciate that the tone of the inaugural The Linoleum Surfer offering has ruffled some feathers (no, no, I didn't mean I'm calling you "birds", it's a turn of phrase alright?)  In a cheap, tabloid effort to attract an attention to an important point, I used sexist terminology and some hoary old lines about men and women, to draw the proletarian masses into the piece in the first place.  This is a blog, not a policy statement.  It's entertainment, sometimes with a serious point, sometimes not.  But maybe I've mixed up the two a little too much for some tastes in that post.  I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.

The point of the piece "The Sexist Surfer, and a Woman's Right to be a Stereotype" was meant to be in favour of a woman's right to choose.  I thought it was clear from the later paragraphs that I was never suggesting that women should not work, or be denied the right to.  I just think that a woman who has, and makes her own choice to prioritise a more traditional gender role, should be free to do so without the mockery of other women.  For a woman to choose to work is a right.  A woman has a right to be educated (whatever her future plans).  Equal opportunity, equal pay, and equal choice.  That's what I'd expect for my own daughters, and what I insist they expect for themselves.

In any case, it is often an economic necessity for both partners in a relationship to have jobs.  That is self-fulfilling in a way as I mentioned - if most families are dual income, dual income quickly becomes the economic baseline.  That's just a reality, not a suggestion on my part that women should give up their jobs to help men and reduce inflation!  That would be stupid, which again I said in the article.  Some people seem to have got past the first couple of lines and decided they were going to be annoyed regardless.  Please don't; I am far from being a misogynist.

Thanks for all the comments though:  the points about under-valuing the work of someone who keeps house and raises children (their own or someone else's), are really important.  Several people have also pointed out that very few men feel able to take that role either.  Fair point.  But in my limited experience (I've only known one or two) of the men who did decide to be full time parents, they seem to be better received almost because the role is less common: sure, their male friends joke about them chatting up the single mothers in the park.  But there is also a kind of admiration, a curiosity certainly, and an appreciation of someone daring to take the path less trodden.  My issue is that often, if an intelligent woman makes the same choice, it is other women who sneer at her.

I admire women (like the mother of my own children) who can manage to be all things at once - highly educated, professionally accomplished and attentive and responsible parents too.  In this day and age it is probably an economic luxury in most households anyway for one partner never to have a job.  But basically, I'm just saying that everyone should have their choices - men or women - and if they are fortunate enough to have this particular choice, not be judged for taking their own way.  If some felt that undermined the position of most modern women who somehow have to balance everything - often without an equal contribution from the men - it was not my intention.

That post annoyed some of you (and I have to say, delighted others, I just wish they'd commented too!).  But I hope we're a bit clearer, and I'll even it up: the next one will probably be disturbing on another level, but men are definitely the villains of the piece, and it disgusts me as much as it will you.  So watch this space.

And don't get your knickers in a twist, love.



Anonymous said...

So now you must explain it further. What i mean of course is for the very few moslem men out there that encourage their women to work (and the woman chooses to do so) he insists (i mean, suggest *ahem) she pay half of everything yet also expects her to be completely submissive in every way. Listening to his every demand.. *these men do exist you know.. i hear about them through friends and what not. So am very curious as to what your take on THAT situation is..

Anonymous said...

For these same types they also insist that she need to clean the house, cook the food, and take care of the children in her free time of course.. while he is left with his free time to do what he chooses.. i know this man.. i live with him, and i have worked just as hard as him if not harder with the added obligations/responsibilities it left me feeling empty.. and lonely.. but am just curious what your views are on that type of man

Anonymous said...

May i also add i take no offense to your blog posts as this is reality we live in.. but some men may say they are pro working women, education, and having her own opinion but when it comes time to confront these issues they go all cave man.. seriously what is up with that??

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Seems to me that whatever his or her views, it's a good thing to discuss before they get married rather than after! Personally I'd want to have that big stuff cleared up and understood early on.

I don't doubt there are men out there who are jerks. And yeah, if you're both working just as hard, then both need to be sharing the housework too. Or the cost of the maid...

But from what you've said there seem to be a lot of people who say something and do another. I think there are two problems with that: First, the guy who acts one way before marriage and another after. And second, the girl who thinks after marriage "he will change". One is lying to his wife, the other to herself. The two things are equally damaging to long term happiness I would guess!

As for submissive women and neaderthal men, there are still a few of both out there and I guess they suit each other. But again, I'd say get to know who you're marrying, what your expectations are and don't expect to change someone (either party).

Because, "what's up with that?" indeed.