Disclaimer: These are my babblings about the divisive nature of sexism of any form. I am not trying to trigger (new word for me) anyone. I am hoping this is an encouragement to be better humans. I am tired of the false narrative that seems to spew out of the t.v. and internet, so this is my response.
About six years ago, my husband and I moved with our good friends to Missouri to explore the reasons why families typically choose to live in their own houses versus sharing a dwelling space with other families. We also wanted to cultivate a few self-sufficient skills like gardening and animal raising. We lovingly named the house, The Ozark House (check out their blog!), and the 17 months we spent there created some of the sweetest and most precious memories of my life.
But getting everyone to The Ozark House was quite the undertaking. The plan was to move into a vacant home that our friends late grandparents once occupied. After helping our friends move from Maryland to Missouri, then turning around and moving ourselves from Texas to Missouri, we then had to move all the grandparents’ furniture that remained in the Missouri home to the attic just so we could fit our stuff inside. Basically we moved three households in about a week’s time. I don’t recommend it. But as we spent this day moving things into the attic or down into the basement, I came across several Life magazines from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I flipped through a few and found several interesting articles.
One article had several pictures of miscarried babies during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. It was very interesting (not to mention heartbreaking) to see the little faces and bodies of such tiny little humans who never got to see the world earthside. I will never forget those images. Its baffling to think that someone could dismiss a child as a piece of tissue when in the 1950s, there were detailed images of a perfectly formed hand resting on on a dollar bill no bigger than the printed “T” in our country’s name.
Another article I found had a list of things that a wife should do during her day as she watched over the children and cared for the home. I don’t have the magazine in my possession but if ladies today could read the dated article, I am sure it would provoke a certain amount of outrage. I don’t remember all of the points in the article but one definitely stood out to me. It had to do with the last few minutes of the day before the husband returned home from a long day’s work. After all the housework is done, the children are entertained, and the dinner is already cooking, the wife should lay down for about 15 minutes so she can be well rested when her husband returns from work. The point also said to make sure to check the mirror and fix her hair and touch up make up beforehand and to not bother the husband with talk about her day. Instead, she should listen sweetly to the husband as if she were really interested. This will help him to relax after a long day of work.
I definitely remember rolling my eyes after I finished reading. It was baffling that someone deemed it important to put this advice into print as well as the ridiculous assumption that a woman should follow these guide lines. Pretending like she didn’t have a long day as well, the wife was to continue working in order that everyone else in the home was relaxed, comforted, fed, and happy.
I read this article before I became a mother and my opinion has shifted a bit since then. I am all for women’s rights like voting and being equal in the work place if she is qualified for the position. And I am definitely for open and honest communication between husband and wife. One should not stuff down any stress or pretend to the other spouse. Marriage is a partnership. But in my opinion, the pendulum has swung way too far back the opposite way since this 1950-60 article was written. Feminism is divisive. It seems more and more that instead of making women feel like equals with men, it is intending to make men feel shameful for being males.
I am basing some of my thoughts, of course, on and the social justice warrior videos I have seen on Youtube. CRINGE! So I admit that all my negative views on feminism should be directed at the feminist activists and not the self proclaimed feminists who truly just want women to be equal to men. But I have also been apart of conversations when the residue of feminist/anti-man ideas have infected people’s thoughts and actions.
In order to organize my thoughts, I will break them down into three sections: Misogyny, Feminism, and Marriage/Family.
Misogyny is horrible, demeaning, and, quite frankly, hard to believe that anyone could truly buy in to the idea that men are better than women. But not all men harbor these feelings toward women. When I think of a true misogynist, I don’t think about the man who wants to open a door for a woman or the man who wants to take a girl out on a date and pay for everything, or even the man who insists on opening the pickle jar when he sees a woman struggling. I think of the man who can’t help but point out times in which he perceives women to be inferior to himself. All the while, being single and greatly desiring a girlfriend but not understanding why no woman wants him. I also think of the man who has a wife or daughter that he sadistically, emotionally, and verbally abuses if not physically, as well. This is horrible and evil. But not all men commit these offenses. Men can be precious, fun, supporting, leading, loving, and strong. The individual should be considered and not his gender. Feminism should not be response to Misogyny. Two wrongs never make a right.
Feminism is also horrible, demeaning, and, yes, unbelievable. Unbelievable, mostly, because it seems to be an acceptable form of bigotry. Women do not have to be angry and loud in order to be strong, independent, self-providing women. We have numerous examples of single moms and single women with no children who have stepped up and done exactly what they set out to do. We can list the many married women who are the breadwinners of their family or are the energizer bunnies that keep their families going. We applaud the women we see who have been through difficult times and remain to be a pillar of strength. Providing financial support for themselves and their kids. Women do not need men to be successful. So if we know all these things, why are feminists still fighting for equal rights? I do not know. The pay gap is debatable, at best. If it were true, employers would only hire women, because they would be saving boo-coos of money on salaries. This PragerU video is interesting.
I am not saying that men do not put women down or dismiss them as being emotional. That still happens. But it happens on an individual level, not at a systemic level. And if we know that some idiot man thinks he is better than all women with no reason or explanation, why does it bother so many women? How did some random man’s opinion of you change your day? There is so much anger and sensitivity. If a man is literally holding you back from a promotion or raise, report them or find a different job. If a man is abusing you, call the police (its probably not that simple but there is always a way out). If you know you are in an unhealthy relationship either seek counseling or keep that person at a distance. If a man on the street catcalls are you, roll your eyes and just keep walking. Sensitivity to the smallest injustice or perceived injustice from a man doesn’t have to ruin your life. If a man does something or says something sexist, do not let it effect you. That is putting your day, your mood, your feelings in the hands of a man. Why give a failing human being any power in your life?
Marriage/Family: Neither form of sexism should exist in the home. Both are equally destructive and divisive. Marriage is a partnership. There are roles that both spouses assume in order to make the home functional. If they are traditional roles, i.e. husband works while wife tends to house and children, it doesn’t mean that anyone is oppressed. If the chores/tasks/work are divided evenly in a non-traditional way, that doesn’t mean you are more progressive and less oppressed. Whatever works for your marriage in order to achieve a peaceful, efficient household is awesome. Submitting to each others needs and rules is how a marriage thrives. Women have lots of particularities about their house. If you can tell your husband to pick up his dirty socks, clean the whisker shavings up around the sink, and mow the lawn then he can tell you to put away your make-up that clutters the bathroom or expect you to have the dishes done in a timely manner.
Children are soaking in everything they are seeing. I do not want my kids to sense that my husband is more important that I am to our family and I do not want them to think that I am more important than my husband. I want my boys to grow up feeling confident in their manliness and not cower to loud, angry women. I want them to love and appreciate how wonderful women are. I do not want my daughters to ever feel less than anyone. But I also want my girls to be kind, giving, and adore the preciousness of men. Grumbling and arguing who cleans what because the ladies on The View said if you do this chore,then you may be married to a misogynist, is suffocating your marriage and poisoning your children. I don’t want any pretend morning news show to reinforce negative actions that destroy the harmony in my home. Men and women are equally important and need each other. Just because both can stand alone and be successful in a worldly sense doesn’t erase the God-given desire to walk through life with a partner to make the journey more enjoyable.
This post is mostly directed toward women so if it seems like I am harping on feminism more than misogyny, I most certainly am. We need to be strong, ladies, and we need to be better every day. Succumbing to hate and anger is not a sign of strength, its a sign of insecurity. Let’s build our husbands and children up so they can be confident and peaceful. Let’s take time each day to recognize the significant attributions we bring to the table. Let’s speak up when we need something (I am not good at this at all). Let’s give cheerfully always. Only give what you can truly give, not resenting an ounce of what you do for your family. If you want to be loud and passionate about something, champion for peace and consistency in the home. That will have a bigger impact on the world, than cringy Youtube videos about women running around angry and naked, daring any man to objectify them by looking at their boobs. Seriously, over the top eye-roll to those extremists. Anger and violence is only going to make the world even more angry and violent. The world is divided enough. Don’t let your family be a reflection of the unfortunate and failing norms in our society.