Okay, I couldn’t resist. Here’s one I’ve had percolating for a while. I’m still not sure that it says everything I wanted to say, so maybe I need a followup, but here you go.
Okay, I might piss some women off here. Believe me, I’m not trying to, but for goodness sakes. I’ve been reading this blogger called Dating Tips For Men (aka DT), a forty-something year old woman. And she has a reader named Mike. Mike is a 19 year old…boy, really. Not only does Mike never seem to agree with anything she says, but it appears that he subscribes to her blog for the sole purpose of disagreeing with her. Mike’s favorite platform seems to be that he knows more about the modern female’s mind than DT does.
Now, I don’t always agree with what DT says, which is my right and privilege as a fellow MySpacian. I actually don’t have to agree, as utterly amazing as that might sound. A lot of times I do, though. For me it’s kind of a common sense thing…I take the stuff I agree with, and not the stuff I don’t, and sometimes she changes my mind, and sometimes not.
So recently, a topic was broached that caused a lot of furor, both on DT’s blog and others. To get the context of what DT is saying, you need to read a few of her blogs to get what her points are. I haven’t read any of Mike’s except his rebuttal linked below, but the topic was feminism. Sort of. Specifically, what happens when a man doesn’t make as much money as his wife/girlfriend, and the effect that has on the relationship.
DT says that women are inherently happier when a man is the primary breadwinner. Mike says that DT doesn’t know shit, and that as a man he expects a woman to carry her load and split costs on everything.
Feminism is a touchy subject for me. First, let’s define feminism:
Feminism: “The view, articulated in the 19th century, that women are inherently equal to men and deserve equal rights and opportunities.”
Now, I interpret this to mean, that as a woman, I expect that I can vote just like men can. That I can get the same jobs as they can (IF I am qualified, whether that means intellectually or physically) and that I will be paid the same as another person with my same experience and same intellect and same drive to succeed would for the same job. It means that I won’t be passed over for promotion, if I am qualified. That I am considered to have a soul (This was actually a point of contention in religious circles a while back, believe it or not, whether or not women had souls).
It doesn’t mean that I don’t like a man to take care of me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like a man to be self-sufficient and be able to make money on his own. It doesn’t mean that, given the opportunity, I wouldn’t take the chance to be a stay at home (or part time home) mom. It doesn’t mean that I’m servile, or an invertebrate asshat that wants to be “pampered and subjugated”, I believe his words were, in reference to women as a whole who think like me.
As defined above, I am a feminist. I beleive that women deserve the same opportunities as men. If I am physically strong, I expect that I will be eligible for a job in construction, if I so desire. If I am smart, with a degree, I expect that if I apply for a job, I will get it, if I am more qualified than the other applicants, male or female. I expect that I have a soul. I expect that I can vote, just like a man. It doesn’t mean I expect to have jobs and opportunities handed to me; it means that I expect to be considered equally for things that I am qualified to do. I expect to have to work for things just like I would expect anyone else to work for things. I just don’t expect that I would have to work twice as hard to get the same effect as someone with equal intellect, education, experience, etc.
So my point is that feminism, just like the civil rights movement and affirmative action, started in order to help correct a very serious problem facing women – the extreme prejudice affecting their status as PEOPLE and Americans. Now, it’s turned into this extreme, often mocked, totally misunderstood and misused school of thought. Women sometimes walk into companies and expect that positions and jobs will be handed to them because they are women. They get turned down for positions that another applicant (usually male, or it wouldn’t be an issue) is better qualified for. People oftentimes use the term feminist in a derogatory way to describe man-hating, dykish women who are trying to be just like men.
This is not to say that gender discrimination does not exist, not by any means. Men still outnumber women in executive positions. The company I work for is a perfect example; we have no female executive officers. I would love to see more women in the upper echelons of our corporate management; not because I think that women are being treated unfairly, necessarily, but because I like seeing women succeed. They set good examples for my kids, and yours. People make claims that women make less than men in the same position; I haven’t seen any statistics to back that up, and I can say that for my same position I get paid as much or more than men in my position and industry.
What all of this comes down to, is that just because when I am in a relationship I like to be taken care of, doesn’t mean that I’m servile or spineless or that I expect a man to pamper and subjugate me. It doesn’t mean that I am not self-sufficient, or that I can’t take care of myself. Just because I appreciate when a man carries things for me, or opens doors for me, it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t do it for myself…it just means that when someone does, I can accept it and say thank you, and feel well taken care of. It seems to me that for women to be able to accept it when men do things for them is being comfortable with their femininity, just like we like men to be comfortable with their masculinity and not be threatened with things like crying and talking about emotions.
I have to say that in terms of me making more than my significant other, that’s never been an issue for me so much as it has been for my past boyfriends. I think that the real point behind DT saying that women would not be happy if their man makes less than them has more to do with whether he’s even trying. Currently I make more than my boyfriend. I have made more than the last three or four men that I have dated. Once you get to a certain level of pay, that’s pretty much going to be the standard, I have realized. It does not bother me that I make more; I worry that it might bother HIM, but it doesn’t make me think less of him or respect him any less, because I know he wouldn’t be happy unless he was contributing by having a job. I can say that if my boyfriend was happy to stay at home and live off me, I wouldn’t be happy with that. I would want him to be contributing member of the household. Now, I realize that contributions can come in various forms, such as housecleaning and chores and stuff, but to me, that reverses the roles too much, putting me into the masculine role and him in a passive, or feminine role. A role which I really prefer not to be in, I like men that are more dominant. So, it has nothing to do with whether he makes more than me, it matters that he wouldn’t be happy doing nothing, and he is trying.
So I guess what it comes down to is that when it comes to things like chivalry and opening doors and the man being the Man, and stuff like that, I am all for it. I kick ass at work all day, and when I come home, I want to take the pants off (literally, sometimes) and be taken care of. I like to be treated like a princess, a goddess, and in return I treat my man like the king he is. It seems to work well. It might not follow the conventionally modern women’s lib rules, but oh well. I’m nothing if not a rule bucker.