Also, in my feminist utopia...

A man doing his share of housework or childcare will be entirely unremarkable and men who do this will not be considered particularly ‘wonderful’ and they won’t be considered as ‘helping’ their partner….they will just be being a normal human being doing the stuff that they’re responsible for. I will not be considered ‘lucky’ for living with a man who does his own share (and, gosh, even more ‘amazing’, doesn’t wait for me to ask him to).

Women will no longer talk about trying to ‘get’ men to ‘help’ with the kids.

Men who go part time or even give up work to look after their own children will not be considered peculiar or performing a great sacrifice.

Schools will not automatically ring the mother when a child is ill or needs to be picked up early.

I would like to thank Easily Confused for picking up with the ‘my feminist utopia’ theme and running with it. I told you, I had struck a chord…

This lack of surprise will not just be limited to the home but at social events where some communal chore needs to be done; in my feminist utopia there will be men, and even young unmarried men, who will take it upon themselves to be at the centre of the washing up and clearing up and not immediately go down the pub to ‘talk strategy’ once the quiz, talk or meeting has finished. It will be unremarkable, no one will remark on it because it will be entirely normal. There will still be the lazy people who go up the pub without helping to tidy up, but there will be a greater gender balance of those left behind to clear up after them.

Nobody will wonder in the case of women who want to do something extra like get elected to public office, who will look after the children. They will assume that they have a partner of at the very least the children have a father who looks after them when she’s busy and sometimes when she's not.

*big sigh*

7 comments:

Julian H said...
23 Oct 2008, 17:11:00

Without wanting to spark a discussion on the meaning of "feminism", I don't see why this is either feminist or utopic. It just seems reasonable. When I lived with a now-ex girlfriend, we just naturally split all the house stuff. I cooked, she washed up, I threw out the rubbish, she hoovered, and so on. Being students then, we had time to do this; if it was now, we'd probably pay someone.

As we all move beyond the 1950s-Style Housewife Era, I would have thought this is increasingly becoming the norm.

Jo Christie-Smith said...
23 Oct 2008, 17:36:00

Well, good for you Julian, but it doesn't surprise me that I don't think everything is quite as rosy in the garden as you do!

Firstly, there is the fact that I read around the blogosphere and see women all over the western world writing about just this (in other cultures women don't have the luxury of complaining that men who do housework and childcare seem to want a medal for it, as the men don't do anything). So, even ignoring my own experience, I would say that the world does not seem to think that there is an acceptance by society that men doing stuff about the house and sharing the childcare is the very minimum they should be doing.

Secondly, my own experience of living with men from a number of different cultures as flatmates, boyfriends and husbands is this: the man who just does something in the house without requiring some sort of praise or reward is a rare one. Some are worse than others and even when they don't (and my current partner is perfectly responsiblefor his own share without making a song and dance) the remarks by others 'oh, isn't he good - does his own ironing! Amazing!' is always there!

So, no, Julian, I don't agree with you that we are already there; you might me but the rest of the world has yet to catch up with you.

I should say that

Julian H said...
23 Oct 2008, 17:56:00

"good for you Julian": hmmm, I'll assume this is a deliberately ironic statement (!)

Rather than claiming "we are already there", I said that this is "increasingly becoming" the case, at least in poncey southern English middle-class circles. I of course accept that (especially in certain parts of the world) domestic servitude is still a role expected of most women, but again, I think people are at least moving in a more enlightened direction.

And to return to my point about 'feminism' (and therefore, in spite of my opening line, kicking off that whole debate) I'm not sure that my agreeing with the main sentiment of your post makes me a feminist. It's undoubtedly true that many people think in the way you've stated - as an example, my mother is one of them. But this is a consequence of growing up in, shall we say, traditional, patriarchal societies. So my view I'd more describe as "non-traditionalist" than "feminist".

Jennie said...
23 Oct 2008, 18:01:00

Well, I am proud to say that I am already doing my bit to move towards feminist utopia by being the bloke in this house - I go to work, I go to the pub, I don't do housework, and Mat struggles under the yoke of housewifely oppression.

And Julian, like Jo says, there is constant commentary from other people - not just of the "ooh, isn't he good?" variety to me, but to him, impugning his manhood, or asking him how he puts up with me.

Julian H said...
23 Oct 2008, 18:25:00

Yuh, I agreed with that part. I even offered an anecdotal example.

Tristan said...
23 Oct 2008, 18:54:00

Things are happily getting better - and hopefully they will carry on improving.
Keep at the advocacy though - the pressure shouldn't be let up.

Jo Christie-Smith said...
24 Oct 2008, 15:26:00

Tristan,

Hopefully they are getting better but things can and do go backwards...just like the number of female MPs is less now than it was in 2005!

But thank you for the encouragement to keep up the advocacy!

Jo

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