May 19, 2011

The Sexist Surfer, and a Woman's Right to be a Stereotype

So here we are:  Blog entry number one.  Technically number four, with three old pieces from another site uploaded.  But this is it, the big moment, the real one I've been thinking about all day:  The inaugural post of the Linoleum Surfer.  So it had better be good, right?  Important.  The Arab Spring.  Libya, Bahrain, Syria, even what's been happening here in Oman.  Or the global economy, clean energy, saving the planet?  But no.  In recognition of my 100% female following (both of them) on the first day of this blog, I'm going to upset some women.

See, I am a sexist.  Kind of.  Not a sexist who thinks women can't do anything.  Not the kind who thinks their only conceivable (no pun intended) purposes are to provide sexual pleasure or cook dinner.  On the contrary, although I prefer the company of a woman for sexual pleasure, cooking I can quite happily do by myself.  And yes, women can do anything.  Or at least, just like men, for everything that can be done, there is probably a woman who can  do it.

The thing is, I'm that other kind of sexist: the ordinary man who thinks that men and women are different.  And we've not been popular lately.  Not in the West, that's for sure.  And increasingly, we're much maligned in the traditionally safe havens of Arabia.  We think men and women are just made differently - a biological fact that we all know from an early age, but also we believe, a difference in thinking, in skills, in nature.  And we're under attack:

Firstly, the role of the male has been successfully destroyed.  We have not only to accept the female boss, but also not to make jokes about our female boss's appearance, even though we can refer to our male boss as fat, bald, or just plain ugly.  We also have to pretend to understand signs that we just can't read from the women we love, for fear of being seen as "insensitive" otherwise.  N.B. Women:  men do not do "hints". So scream it, bawl it, print it on your t-shirt and then scratch it into our flesh with a broken pencil if you want it to register...thank you for listening...yes, you do it so're a woman...

And in the West, men have given up being men altogether:  No more sense of responsibility, no more short haircuts and stiff upper lips. Now it's all crying, earrings, video games for granddads, fizzy pop for booze and not knowing how to fix the boiler yourself.  And since when did superheroes, the Norse deity of thunder for example, start waxing their chests?  I'll tell you when:  since boy bands topped the charts, since cardigans replaced bomber jackets, since all talk show hosts had to be overtly homosexual and since not appearing to be an overgrown vanilla-flavoured freshly-powdered baby instead of a man made you a suspected rapist.  Men, have you ever found yourself wondering how your father or grandfather had all that discipline, and strange knowledge in repairing the vacuum cleaner or mowing those neat lines in the lawn?  It's gone.  And why?  Because the feminists made him cry.

Secondly, the feminist-lesbo-killers have given the female a real PR job.  Men are from Mars (stupid cavemen who don't listen!), and women are from Venus (beautiful, spiritual creatures who must be studied and understood).  No!  Men and women are from Earth.  Men need to watch the telly, and women are better at untangling knots, but really crap at parallel parking or putting suitcases into the boot.  These realities are now the stuff only of edgy stand-up comedy though.  Not to be taken seriously.  The Venusians must rule.

They've also invented a concept called "multi-tasking", which is what men used to call "fannying about".  Getting on with one thing and doing it properly is now known, conversely, as being "anal" and (how did this become a pejorative phrase?), "male-brained about it".  If you don't stop doing what you're doing and start fannying about, then you'd better move over.  Dither a bit, do a little of everything, share and care and talk about it.  Be a fucking big girl or die.  That's it, the modern world, the death of manhood, the beginning of the demise of the human race.

But there is a serious point to all this.  Not only has the archetypal male been summarily castrated, waxed, subdued and slaughtered, but equally obsolete is the female who raised us all.  I'm not kidding.  My grandmother had a "little part-time job" for a while in the War.  The rest of the time she popped out a couple of children,beat carpets, boiled cabbage, baked cakes, made-do-and-mended, ironed socks and stopped her husband leaving the house with a bit of paper stuck on his neck where he'd cut himself shaving.  She also spoke four languages, listened to Radio Four, knitted, crocheted, kept an immaculate garden, played the zither, went dutifully to church and helped raise her six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.  She damn well wouldn't now.

As a western woman, choosing to make your life's mission the production and direction of a series of healthy, well-adjusted generations beyond you, is now officially a failure of ambition.  Keeping house is voluntary slavery.  Raising your own children is a sign of mental deficiency.  Go to a dinner party and watch the look on the other women's faces as your wife answers that yes, she's well-educated, but her preference is to be a stay-at-home mother.  Maybe a bit of part-time work or a small home business when they get a bit older.  Watch them sneer.  Not the men, you understand, the women.

And don't think this is confined to the decadent West either:  The Arabian feminist is on the rise, mark my words.  Of course, the Omani working woman has her maid, and her mother's maid, to raise her children while she's at the bank.  No worries about expensive day-care:  The illiterate Indonesian slaves will do the upbringing thank you very much!  And mama can get a Gucci handbag.  In the mean time, because families are mostly "double-income" now, the market has followed them:  The average house price used to be around three times' the average salary.  Now it's around six times'.  So you're stuck:  Unless you're a very wealthy man, your lady just HAS to work, or you'll never get a place of your own.  And how's that record unemployment coming on, too?  Three million and rising in the UK is plenty.  In Oman, four times as many young men are claiming unemployment benefits as are in private sector employment.  Just think about that one for a minute.

Now I'm not saying that a woman can't be a pilot, a PhD, a police...person, chairman of the board or top of the hit parade.  Quite definitely some can.  And if they can and they want to, damn it they should, and nothing should stand in their way!  Nor am I saying that economic ills will all be resolved by firing all the women and giving their jobs to (presumably) less qualified, less motivated male alternatives.  But, feminist-laser-psychopaths, ask yourselves this:  When did a woman lose her right to choose to be a wife and mother?  When did that become something to look down upon?  When you get old and contemplate the end of your days, what will be your greatest achievement?  Maybe, just maybe, raising a family will be one of them.  Maybe the only one.  So maybe the woman who chooses that path deserves a bit more respect, not just from her caveman father, husband and son.  But from the woman who claims to be promoting her gender's cause.

P.S.  Fellow man:  Grow up and save society, will you?  If you want your wife barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, you'd better get a job - and learn how to unblock the sink while you're at it.


Jeff said...

Lovely writing!

TripleTee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TripleTee said...

Yes Linoleum Surfer I do enjoy reading how you express yourself.

and since I can express myself better in monologues I'll be able to give you a more rational opinion here.

In our previous discussion there was a slight confusion with the meaning of independence (since your definition and mine differed) so I'll have to clarify my understanding of it. The meaning of independence which I was referring to was: someone who is able to take care of him/herself.. it basically means someone who's able to stand on his/her own feet (full stop) in simple words...
The meaning that you were referring to was: someone who is independent from another or other influences, authorities, parties etc.

Perhaps that will explain the confusion and why I did not believe independence would be stripped off of someone when they get married.
I was brought up to believe that in order to be independent (able to fend for yourself) I have to be responsible. Both go hand in hand. So in the case of marriage, partners have more responsibilities to me yes... but that would not mean they would have a lack of independence (according to the definition that I was referring to). To me it means that they would have to be more independent (not independent from someone else, but more reliable) in order to take care of their families.

Independence has more than one meaning, but I was referring to a specific one within context.
now if we finally agree on this, I'll be able to explain myself better. lol.

1- women have come a long way from what they used to be and making them hold back is not something I would consider to be 'in their favour'.

2- Why multi-tasking is considered girly to you is beyond my understanding. Why you believe one job should be specified to each person is equally as confusing to me, especially if one believes in equal rights for men and women. I respect men who multi-task to help their women and it does not make them girly but rather supportive. Why should one or the other be limited to one job? It does not increase a job's efficiency and is rather the old way of 'You cook, I go hunt for food' sort of thinking.

- define a role of a man. I would not say it was destroyed.. I would say it was slightly changed/altered.
They're simply not the only bread winners anymore and they have to adapt to that by taking part in the household chores.

-to me, it is a necessity for every single individual to pursue a job. Be it a man or a woman. Self-security and sharing responsibilities. That is equality. And having an extra bread winner is always good.
That does not have to mean that the children will not be cared for. They may be sent to the best schools, they may have to spend some time with nannies or in day care.. that does not have to necessarily mean there'll be a bad effect on their education or the way they're raised. (I am referring to GOOD day cares and professional nannies... not the Indonesian maids or the likes whom Arabs tend to leave their children to)

now if I misunderstood anything you said I'll be glad to hear you out but I'm expecting that we'll have to agree to disagree.

Francesca Amendolia said...

Isn't the point to allow women out of the kitchen/nursery, should they so choose, and allow men into the kitchen/nursery, should they so choose? Isn't the point, in the end, about allowing a woman -- or man -- to feel as if she or he is there (in the kitchen, nursery, pilot seat or boardroom) by choice.

You are absolutely right that bringing up children is possibly the single most important job in the world. So why, then, is it not respected? Why are day-care workers paid so little? Preschool teachers? Why is nannying considered unskilled labor?

Feminism ought to above all demand respect for what has traditionally been considered women's work, and has therefore traditionally been denigrated. In a capitalist society, where value is closely tied to income, this is very hard (cf, the feminist movement to include women's unpaid, at home labor in a country's GNP).

Perhaps the true enemy here is capitalism, which again and again sends home the message that financial success is the only true success, that identity is paid labor, that a person's value is their extrusion into the capitalist machine.

The Linoleum Surfer said...

Awesome! Two proper feminists already. I'm saying nothing yet...just wondering why only women have anything to say so far. Still, I did kind of ask for that I suppose...

Anonymous said...

I agree completely that women should be able to stay at home and look after their children! Nice one! But isn't the flipside of that coin fathers who are prepared to take on the responsibility of providing for those children? Without that, with so many fathers not prepared to pay for their kids, thank goodness for those mothers who will take on work and then the second job of looking after their kids, because those women, at least, are willing to take on responsibility.
From: Realist

Anonymous said...

MashAllah! and finally a man with a brain!! I am a SAHM and i tryed working on and off because let's face it.. i am against accepting "assistance"if i have legs and arms and can work.. but the BIGGEST push was from who else? None other than my husband. Where he insists women, real women.. in US work to help their husbands etc. ( i was trying to listen so many times but the blood boiled so much it had nowhere to go but my head and i could hear my heartbeating loud in my ears) and when i DID work i go NO help around the house and working and balancing the home became impossible. My kids were crying for me to stay home, and the house was a huge mess, and (yeah i know as dramatic as it sounds i am being i am actually understating the facts) and my kids were eating out when i wasn't saddened me. i was tired (lack of sleep) a 3 mth old who i HAD to wean because of all of the stress i tried so very hard to "measure up" to his expectations and in the end i realized i really didn't want this for my kids. I didn't have kids to throw them off into any child care, or to have their father let them run around getting into only God knows what while he is surfing masrawy for the latest news in arts. I wanted my kids to have stability, love, discipline, and to be educated.. you can't just stick a kid in front of the t.v expecting them to watch "family guy" without repeating something.. it took me months for the obscenities in the house to stop (my kids are like parrots i tell you!) anyways am looking down that path again because i can't do "anything" right.. nothing is good enough and money is not enough.. and apparently it's all my fault.. despite saving, and sacrificing.. what the hell is wrong with men these days!! I seriously think the end is nigh because i honestly am thinking about leaving with the kids and remaining unmarried forever. Sad thing is i have about 10 friends who all complain about the same things. It doesn't bother me we are barely middle class but it bothers me to have it shoved in my face that i NEED to work. The kids? I guess they are supposed to take care of theirselves. It really saddens me that this is what marriage has come to these days.. husband stays on the computer for hours hair a mess, hasn't moved , ignoring the whole family until his friend calls to tell him to come over.. jumps in the shower to look his best.. off he goes to whatever guys do.. No wonder divorce rates are increasing.. where did the sakin (sakina) go in the marriage? why does it have to be all mundane? Why does it seem like we have room mates whom are halal "meat".. and yet they can not carry on a conversation without demanding you accept their opinion as right?? it's just one of those situations.. damned if you do.. damned if you don't.. Us women.. LOVE being invisible and loved to be treated in the way which i described above especially when he only notices us when someone outside, on t.v or net happens to "strike his fancy" that's what the stories should tell you.. not this fairy tale crap!! to prepare you for what is to come.. to prepare you for reality!!

Anonymous said...

i am what you would probably call an independent muslimah. reaching 30, single, working, renting a flat of my own. living my life the way i want to.
but then when i speak to any of my non-muslim female friends (and i have a plethora of those as i live in the so-called "west") they stare at me with bulging eyes as i say - "well, i really would like to get married and actually be a stay-home mum if that's financially possible..."
they know me well - im talkative, sometimes even too much, some men are scared of me as i do dare to reply to their "jokes" and in a talk-fight i usually win. i guess that is why they are surprised with my future goals - children brought up by ME and MY HUBBIE.
the attitude from muslim men is obviously different - they say "mashAllah, that is great" but what they many times mean is "OK, so I will work and she will bring up children". i don't mean that my dear... i want you as the other party in this relationship we dare call family to BRING THEM UP TOO! i know u work, i work myslef so i know how tired i am after the whole day. but i still manage to cook myslef dinner and clean my flat and actually even read a little. I admit - from time to time i treat myslef with a slumber party for one. but a slumber party shouldn't last the whole week... the trash needs taking out, the laundry needs cleaning, the stomach needs feeding... and somebody just has to do it. so working is no excuse.
as a stay-home mum i am willing to take a lot of responsibility for the home and the children. but don't u dare come back home from work and do NOTHING! being a father doesnt end at cutting the cord - thats just the beginning my friend... GOOD LUCK:)
and for all you women out there - think of your mum and how good it was to have her around:) i only wish my mum could stay home and take care of us...

still hopeful independent muslimah

Laylah said...

I agree with most things you say, I don't understand why women have this attitude!
Staying at home is not for everyone though. Im in a situation that I need to start making that decision whether to stay or to's not easy I want the best for my daughter and I would never leave her with maids but on the other hand at the moment at least we need the extra cash..part time would be the best solution.
P.s I'm an excellent parallel-parker :)