I am writing this as I have a little PBR and a little SoCo because I have had a dozy of a day and when you’re me and you’ve had a dozy of a day you have a little PBR and SoCo, as an award or a balm.
I spent some time thinking about feminism this weekend. Most of you are probably familiar with feminism by now and realize that I mean equality of the sexes, not man hating. I’ve been calling myself a feminist since I was about 15, that’s 14 years now, and I have read some of the literature (I actually meant to minor in women’s and gender studies in college, another story for another day) and asked a lot of the questions and fought a lot of the fights. In high school I was the only person I knew who admitted that she was a feminist and got a label from it pretty quickly. I honestly and truly believe that men and women are capable of equal things. Biologically we may be different but after that a man can raise a baby just as well as a woman and I know lots of great women firefighters and cops. We can all be rock stars and writers and artists and teachers and doctors and so on and so forth.
So, here’s my problem, and I can’t even really say that my problem is with feminism. I haven’t really been able to break it down.
If the last wave of feminism was about opening up choices, where the hell did the choices go? Yes, we’ve blown open the doors to careers outside of the home but where is the equality? Here’s a few things that got me thinking about this.
Today, I had to work from 10 to 7. On a typical Monday, I actually have to leave at 9 because I have to make a completely work related stop and be out of there by 9:30 to get to the branch I am supposed to be at. I don’t get home until almost 7:30. So, if we include drive time, that’s a 10.5 hour shift. I get a half hour lunch. My day ran like this: I got up and worked out (because I need to lose weight, you know), showered, journaled, checked the internet quickly, was stuck with doing paperwork that should have been done weeks ago and was due today but my husband was feeling unsure about doing it until this morning, loaded my car with Goodwill donations (that have to be taken care of by Saturday and will take numerous trips), cleaned the litter, makeup, hair, packing for work, grabbed a packet of peanut butter crackers because I didn’t have time to eat, went to work stop 1, dropped off paperwork to hubby that he forgot, work stop 2, work stop 3, dropped off paperwork from earlier and spent 20 minutes at the office doing so, dropped off donations, grabbed a sub to eat on the road, stopped home for the last 15 minutes of my lunch which I spent packing a snack and cleaning up the yard (not my job but we’re having a party this weekend), drove to work stop 4 and worked until 7 then came home. Lucky me I had time to clean and do laundry yesterday so there weren’t chores waiting for me but I still have to clean and decorate for a party and carve pumpkins.
I’m not devaluing anyone’s day here. This is really how most days go for me. I run until I collapse. AND I DON’T HAVE CHILDREN. I work crazy hours because those are the hours I have to work if I want a full time job. By the time I had my master’s I was actually lucky that the place I worked at created a crazy position for me out of two jobs so I could pay my bills and have insurance and a retirement fund. To top it all, hubby has had an awesome employment opportunity and had to go on my insurance (thus the paperwork) which means all health related insurance comes out of my heck and a hefty sum (almost a mortgage payment!) is being taken out of my next check to catch it up. He won’t have a check for a month so today I also diligently checked my savings to make sure we could bridge that gap. Luckily my Christmas account was deposited so we should be okay.
And this, I fear, is the plight of the average American woman today.
Yes, we have options, kind of. I mean, some women are lucky enough to be able to decide to stay home when they have kids and, bless them, that is awesome. I will not. I had to make sure I could take care of myself and I will have to work forever to pay that off. It amazes me, AMAZES ME, that there are households with kids involved that actually have two working parents.
My point is that child rearing takes no less work than it used to and I will actually even argue here that it takes MORE. Because other people are not actually parenting and someone has to make up for it. I firmly believe that one parent should be able to work part time or stay home for this reason. No, the economy does not allow us and I DO think that part of that is because two income households have become the norm. Suddenly we are all expected to have it together enough to be good spouses, parents, and employees. AND HOUSEKEEPERS! Someone has to cook and clean and unless you’re fucking Jay-Z that’s going to be someone who is working. Yesterday, a dreary Sunday morning, my husband asked me to please sit down and relax and I actually told him, “It’s more relaxing for me to clean because that means I don’t have to spend my lunch breaks doing it this week.” Seriously. Add to all of this that I am an aspiring writer and have tacked onto my average day reading and writing? Fucking forget it. There’s no way to keep it up and NOT be an alcoholic.
The other point I want to make is: Where the hell is the respect???
I was listening to the radio the other day and I will admit that I came across some rap or hip hop or whatever the fuck it is these days and it’s all “shake your butt on me, bitch” and all I could think was, “Not on your life, buddy.” Go back to the 70’s and give me a song where the pick up like is “Get your hot little self over here and bring me another beer.” You can’t find one. Back then, men at least didn’t write shitty lyrics about us. They didn’t write them while we were busting our asses to be pretty and smart and employable and 50 million other things.
All I’m saying is that we may have given ourselves the short end of the stick.