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This might be your mother's feminism

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Inarticulate and ill-formed starting point [Dec. 1st, 2007|02:51 pm]
This might be your mother's feminism


This is probably going to sound very blamey. That's because I'm talking about my mother in law (since my father in law had NO INPUT WHATSOEVER because that's why god gave us gender roles) but not because I think she was operating as the sole blamable wossname in a vacuum.

I think there's a wife mother and housewife thing where to be perfect she has to keep the house spotless and do all the housework and cooking and cleaning and laundry and childrearing. I think that's why her son left home unable to cook, clean, shop for groceries (recent quote: "Of course he can't, he's a man!"), do his own laundry, remember to wash regularly without reminder, or, you know, any number of other basic life skills. He functions best (by which I mean most comfortably) in the manner of, say, a primary school age child - a very set routine, where everything he does at home he's reminded about a few times, from getting up, through eating, washing, and leaving the house on time, and again when he returns, from taking his coat off, eating, washing, whatever. This lack of responsibility for his own actions holds true for all sorts of things - calling his mother (she thinks it's my job to remind him to call her), sending birthday cards to his aunt (they all think it's my job to buy the card and ensure it gets posted), etc.

Now, he doesn't believe any of this crap, but he has a lot of behaviour patterns tied into it, which, because he's not a dickhead, he's working on changing. But I'm pretty sure that it's all tied into a sort of 1950s Stepford Wives childrearing thing, raising men to be helpless and depend on a proper wife at home.

Can someone more articulate please articulate what I'm talking about?

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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2007-12-01 03:26 pm (UTC)
He has a sister who is less competent than I or my four sisters but left home able to do laundry and cook a basic meal. She was lousy on finance though.

So although she is a lazy parent, she did make more effort for her daughter, and I'm certain that's gendered. BUT she thinks she's a feminist because she made him learn to iron his own socks and allowed him to learn to knit. AGH.

Edited at 2007-12-01 03:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2007-12-01 07:16 pm (UTC)
I've never read either. I've considered asking my in-laws for The Female Eunuch for Christmas. They tend to want a list, rather than going and choosing themselves.
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[User Picture]From: riarambles
2007-12-01 03:21 pm (UTC)
I can't help you articulate it, but I can say that what you describe sounds veeeeerrrryyy veeeerrrryyy familiar to me.
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[User Picture]From: thereyougothen
2007-12-01 06:03 pm (UTC)
oh gods. If Bill hadn't lived on his own from university until age 39 that's probably what our life would be like too.
his dad cooked his first meal after marriage 2 years ago when MIL broke her hip.
can't help with articulating it any better. what you wrote gave me a perfectly good impression. "good"? what am I saying?

Edited at 2007-12-01 06:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ailbhe
2007-12-01 06:55 pm (UTC)
Rob learned a lot from his male flatmate at university - how to use a laundrette, how to cook some very basic meals.
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[User Picture]From: dramasequalzero
2007-12-01 08:54 pm (UTC)
I know what you're saying, seemed articulate enough to me :-)

Your father-in-law is also to blame though, surely, inasmuch as he was your partner's model of how a man behaves? I mean, I get the "house is my domain" thing that some women do/did which means no one else is "allowed" to do anything, but I think the fathers of those households are complicit in that.
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[User Picture]From: drdoug
2007-12-02 09:02 pm (UTC)
Can someone more articulate please articulate what I'm talking about?

It's a desperate call for the only superhero who can save everyone: Second-Wave Feminism Woman!

(It is a bit depressing that this is still How Things Are rather than How They Used To Be In The Bad Old Days Before Marilyn French.)
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