Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Raising your f**king family - still women's work?

Gah this day just keeps getting better and better.

First women are being chided for not being Julia Child, but now we know the reason for our failure in the kitchen is because we work and thus don't have time to carry out our family responsibilities.

Stuff is carrying another wire story in which the head of the girls' school association tells us that young girls need to be taught the 'realities' of trying to have a career and having children and that we can't have 'it all.'

Gah! It's like feminism never happened.

Can we all please get over this assumption that it is only women who must sacrifice their careers because childcare/house work is women's work. Yes biologically dictates that it will be the mother doing the labouring and breastfeed, but that's only one part of looking after your offspring and managing a household. There's the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and those seemingly never-ending piles of laundry.

And perhaps instead of schooling girls in the 'realities' of parenthood and work maybe, just maybe, we could teach teenage boys that they should not automatically expect women to do all of the child-raising and housework if they want to have children or for that matter a partner at all.* And perhaps we could even, shock horror, teach boys** about the ins and outs of parenting in order to better equip them for this role.

Oh and while I'm on a roll, perhaps we can do something about that wage gap so that a woman's career isn't the one that is seen as more expendable because she earns less.

* But then you'd also have to bust another pop-culture meme that men don't want children and do so to placate us women-folk with our clocks a ticking.
** Yes, yes and girls too.


Azlemed said...

i so agree with you on this....

Chris said...

Since I'm trying to teach two boys household and life skills as a solo dad... total agreement.

Bavardess said...

Ack! I am right there with you. Spitting over that Stuff story at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Good on the Headmistress. She is just telling the girls how it is. Better to be forewarned. It is a said state of affairs that child rearing and most other things involved in running a household fall mainly on women. Yes some males take a 50% load, but they are as rare as hen's teeth.

At school in the eighties there were those wonderful posters which said "Girls can do anything". I grew up thinking that I could do whatever I wanted. If those posters were updated to today's time, they would read: "Girls do everything".

The ex-expat said...

Chris I totally heart you.

Anon - there are men out there that will help and gladly do so.

Shiny said...

oh hell, the crap we get because my husband stays at home and raises our daughter while i earn the rent money.
NZ is rife with this attitude.

New World have "mum and baby" parks

Restaurants and mall keep the baby change table in the lady's toilet (and call security when a man enters to look for one)

Magazines and books on child raising are rife with "othering" as they constantly use female pronouns, or "mum"s to describe their readers.

Brands of baby things (prams, cots) have names like "mother's choice", or slogans about "recommended by mums", which i harder to explain but re-enforces the "you have a penis, you shouldn't be buying this" message.

The ex-expat said...

My Dad was a SAHD way back in the early-mid 1980s and boy were there some stories... like the hospital not releasing me into his care until my mother came in to vouch for him after I bumped my head.