International Women’s Day Gets On My Tits

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 This meme made my teeth itch yesterday.

It really got on my nerves because it (along with about fifteen other similar ones saying how great and empowered women are) was posted by a friend of mine who is anything but empowered. She is married to the world’s biggest misogynist and isn’t allowed to work until her child starts school. She is then expected to start a part time job on that day and continue to keep the house while she’s not working, because he has decided that that is her place in life. Any protests are met with the invitation to leave his house and cope on her own.

She’s not got any superpowers, and nor does anyone else outside of the world of Marvel just because they have a vagina.

Do you know how I spent International Women’s Day? I was doing what I do everyday, which is cleaning up after and living in the shadow of men. I cleaned the house while my husband was at work, looked after the toddler, looked after my father and I didn’t stop from the moment I woke up until the moment I collapsed into bed with the toddler, while her father sat in the living room and relaxed as he’d been at work all day.

I bet millions of other women did the same thing, while simultanously posting meaningles words about empowerment and equality on the internet.

I am not a wallflower, nor am I lacking in confidence, but I have spent my life either curtailing what I can do for the sake of a husband’s career, or I have been overlooked and ground dow by men whenever I have tried to to break out and do something I wanted.

I have been married twice and had a child in each marriage and both times I have put my own career on the back burner to look mainly look after the children and the home so that those men could concentrate on furthering thier careers without having to worry about the mundane things like mowing the lawn or loading the waning machine. I did it through choice both times, believing that I could still have my freelance career along side.

It has proved very difficult and almost impossible each time, mainly because once you step into the role of quasi Stepford Wife, the expectation that you will take on all the domestic responsibility and worries while your partner brings home the cash.

Nothing wrong with that in principle, but it usually turns out that the stay at home partner turns into the maid and general dogsbody who is made to feel incredibly grateful that someone else is providing for them.

Someone asked me if I was a feminist recently, and my answer was, “No, because I can’t afford to be”.

It’s sad but true. Having given up my dreams of a full time writing and comedy career to raise children and wipe the (metaphorical) arses of their fathers since the age of 21, I have had to live my life around the whims of others, trying to eek out a career in the moments when I have a few minuets to myself in-between running the house and all the mind numbing drudgery that comes with it.

No one held a gun to my head to do it, but being young, I didn’t quite realise the consequences and the ramifications it would have on the rest of my life.

Women and men are never, ever going to be equal because it’s women who carry, give birth and are usually the primary care givers to children. 

Like it or not, when you have a child, as a woman, your entire world changes. Those changes are less so for men. They don’t have the physical and mental traumas of pregnancy and childbirth and the raging hormones of motherhood to contend with. They also don’t have maternal guilt and most men pick up their lives where they left off after their two weeks paternity leave is up while most mothers feel as if a bomb has gone off under their lives.

Read any parenting forum and you will hear mothers talking about their guilt of having to return to work, or go on a week long work trip, or having to miss an important school event. For the most part, men don’t feel that way. Their role is to forge ahead in the world, not to worry about what they are missing at home.

That’s why International Women’s Day makes me feel slightly sick – it’s all about women patting each other on the back, calling each other superheroes while wondering what to cook for dinner and if they have ironed the school uniforms for tomorrow.

It’s unfair, but while we have wombs and men don’t, it’s not something that is ever going to change.

3 Comments »

  1. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out just where you left your memory about why you had those children and that you chose the life you lead. You weren’t forced-you made a conscious informed consent to do what you did.
    The second thing I am curious about is the audacity -with a choke -sputter-gasp-at your questionable certainty as to the the way others deal with International Women’s Day, especially since it does not in anyway resemble what I or friends or even strangers spend our time pursuing with others on that day of recognizing women in all walks of life all over the globe. Never once have I heard anyone use the description ‘superhero'(more correctly superheroine-and that only if you are Wonder Women or Kahina or Glynda) never mind wondering what to cook or how to clothe our/their children.
    And along the same vein, how is it that you, a female, has any knowledge of how or what a man thinks? Even radiologists and neurologists/neurosurgeons haven’t this ability -nor do wives, daughters, mothers or other significant women in a male’s life.
    How is it you missed the part in biology where it is explained than males and females are different? That pregnant and lactating woman have hormonal imbalances , and that the women’s uterus is the comfort and safety zone for the developing fetus, and that this continues until we females are through the menopausal years and can no longer bear children naturally? AND… that mothers are responsible for caring for their offspring… all mothers -not simply humans (who by the way are the worst of mothers!) Meanwhile, the males go out to gather and hunt for what will provide shelter and sustenance for his family, this include humans as well as the other creatures of this planet.
    We are not meant to be equal, but we are meant to have parity and equity with one another, particularly in the learning environments and workspaces where pay should be given for the jobs we do in the educational levels we have attained that match our opposite gender with whom we work.
    As for female and male organs, they are designed for performing specific acts in the life of the individual leading it.
    Your generalization about women in forums is at best lamentable. In women’s tastes, attitudes and habits, one size doe NOT fit all. Women who are designed to be the child bearers and the protectors, and teachers and guides and , and an, and all else have been working since we humans crawled onto land, lost our tales, became bipedal … some even found handsome Neanderthals to have some fun with…
    By the way, each life changes with the arrival of an infant… for similar and for different reasons but either simultaneously. You might want to remember that that womb less male, there would be no babies for us to take care of… nor would our gene pools be suppliers of all the traits we have inherited from each of our direct ancestors… that male you would often desire fling out onto the rocks along a beach is the same you will happily hold in a caress as the moon shines across your bed… and bless his name when the child is born who bears his name and who shares both his and your genes.
    Don’t ask for the moon when you have the stars! Be grateful for the life you have and the life you have brought forth-they are all that you are entitled to. Your arms are much to short to box with your creator.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with much of what you say here. (tho not all of it) At an event I was at recently someone commented that the best thing to be done for gender equality would be for fathers to have to take mandatory paternity leave, then the dependence on the mother which is created early and can be so difficult to move on from, is shared equally with the father from the outset. It has to be mandatory though, because as we know, although they might complain, men dont really want to take paternity leave. At lot of the IWD stuff is nonsense – but there is some good in it if you can see past the cliches.

    Like

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