Being a Woman, Wife, Mother, and Cardboard Cutout

Despite what I’ve written here, I have no fundamental issues with being female. I don’t believe I am transgender. I don’t want to be male. Do I envy the strength and power of men to do what they please in the world with fewer obstacles? Yes. I’ve already established I just despise the bullshit that surrounds being female.

There will come a day when someone will read this blog and say, what about men? Men have it harder when it comes to approaching women, getting custody, spending any time with children because of pedo-scares, etc.
Sure, they do. I don’t deny the struggles men have and never have denied them. I have read about and have empathy towards these struggles, and I think most women would too if they read about them as I do. I always seek to understand perspectives of others.
But I’m not sure about most people, mainly men, doing the same. I know there are men out there who care about what things are like for their wives, mothers, and daughters but can’t admit it, due to the strong macho bullshit men put up with.
But men often don’t learn to feel much empathy, also due to the macho “emotions are weak” stupidity. And they feel even less empathy for women, and what is unfairly expected of them.

I have always encouraged my husband to not be a male stereotype. Be emotional. Enjoy “women’s things” if he wants to. And in turn, I’ve always hoped he would encourage the same in me in the opposite way.
But he doesn’t have issues with the obligations and expectations placed on me because he simply never has had to deal with them and doesn’t understand why I’d have problems with them. He understands that I don’t like them. But he doesn’t understand why. He doesn’t have empathy for my concerns. He doesn’t perceive the ingrained attitude in himself that sets me as the default housekeeper and carer for the pets we have. With prompting (aka nagging) he will do some housework. He simply sees the dirty house and disregards it. Not his job.

 Sure, if I was a housewife who didn’t work full time and had agreed to this arrangement, I’d have no trouble whatsoever being the housekeeper. To cook and clean and care for all the pets and (maybe eventually) children we have. But I never agreed to work full time and clean the house by myself. When women’s liberation happened, the traditional duties of women to clean, cook, and care for children didn’t go away. They remained in force, with the added expectation of working full time.

That rankles me a bit. The ideal is that the burden of housework, cooking, and caring for pets/children would be spread between a working husband and wife. Not simply shifted over to the wife because that’s her job anyway. And I know it’s unthinking, it’s not intentional. But it’s something I’ll be fighting my entire marriage. That and with the other ingrained social expectations from being a “wife and mother” I sometimes think it’s not for me, in the long run. I am terrified by that, because I love my husband. But I know I will be fighting to be truly equal for the rest of my life in these roles. Fortyish years is not enough time to equalize after so much time spent only being housekeepers, child bearers and raisers, and cooks. And I don’t think I have the strength to do it.

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