I don’t hate makeup. I don’t hate hair styling. Sometimes I think I do, but what I really hate is my perceived lack of choice.
I am a programmer by profession. A job that relies on my mind and my hands. Not my face, not my shoes or purse, not my hair. And yet, I know I seem unkempt to my coworkers. Clean hair, earrings, and professional attire isn’t enough. My competence is always on the line, because it is difficult to assume it from a woman who isn’t “competent” at appearing womanly. If I don’t fulfill my obligation to the eyes of others, how can I fulfill my obligation to the company?
I find myself tired by interacting with almost everyone. Tired of realizing how immediately off-putting I seem because I do not do the right things, say the right things or look the right way based on that person’s model of a woman. Tired of realizing I will always be lacking in the eyes of others.
I’m also tired of fiction. I’m disappointed with heroines who are always feminine first, then heroic second. Even in books, the heroine is always concerned about her makeup and dress. Masculine women are almost always suspect, always brutal, and usually end up with bad ends. For women, femininity and heroism are tied together, just as masculinity and heroism are tied together for men.
I had a curious thought just now. While femininity and heroism being tied together rankles me, masculinity and heroism being tied doesn’t. It just seems natural. Huh. I have been warped by an androcentric (male-oriented) culture just as much as feminine women have, I suppose, but my reaction was wildly different. The flavorings of abuse and poor female role models probably contributed to that.
This is problematic. Do I view heterosexual relationships as being inherently unfair? Is my bedroom dead because I view my role as to always submit? I feel a lot of physical attraction to males, but not towards romantic relationships with them- male-female relationships tend to fall into comfortable, traditional grooves and a certain power structure that I am deeply uncomfortable with. More and more, I am unable to endure this in my own relationship. I don’t really think the traditional husband-wife dynamic bothers my husband because it benefits him. It’s easy. His parents did it, where’s the problem?
I love my husband, but I don’t love marriage. I don’t like this traditional role that I’ve settled into. Why did I get married, then? Because I didn’t think it would be like that. I didn’t think we would settle into that groove which is comfortable for him, but increasingly uncomfortable for me. He claims to want me to follow my dreams, but when I come home from work and spend hours cleaning and organizing, since he won’t do it, when is there time? He resists any efforts of mine to draw him into helping me, but will spontaneously, maybe once a week or less, put the dishes in the dishwasher or sweep the floor. And suddenly, he considers himself contributing equally to the household.
Is this a weight I’m always going to have to carry? What is the solution?
More thoughts to ponder upon.