Jan 22, 2014

What Feminists Really Want for Their Daughters: A Maid

Carolyn Jones, feminist, tells the story of shopping with her mother for her three-year-old daughter's birthday present here. Sure, there's all the requisite feminist angst about glass ceilings and Barbie's DD breasts and persistent gender inequality in housekeeping duties, but I find the whole read delightfully revealing.
I'll concede housekeeping isn't glamorous. And no one -- not even the girl with the most traditional "I only want to be a wife and mother" aspirations -- envisions herself cleaning the commode someday. But, to state the obvious, someone has to do it!
There are a million and one ways to make oneself unhappy in life and marriage. One of the most common we succumb to is having unrealistic expectations. As a favor, let me advise the ladies: it is in a man's nature to go out and make the kill and drag it back to the cave for you to cook. It is not in his nature to notice that your mother's cut glass cruet collection could use  a thorough cleaning.

cruets-001
Let's face it, women will continue to shoulder the lion's share of housekeeping, because it's more important to us. It is in our nature to keep the cave tidy and free of pests. If you marry a man expecting the even distribution of housework, you're in for some unpleasantness. Feminism, once again, has lied to you and set you up for serious disappointment.
I recommend spending some time considering what it means to have a full and meaningful life. I entered adulthood knowing I wanted a husband and family, but not realizing the full implications for how I would end up spending my time. Once I saw the struggles of my contemporaries to have it all, and experienced the "joys" of the working world, I knew the feminist myth wasn't for me.
I'm very privileged to have a husband able to sustain our family and provide for our retirement without my having to get a job. We're both blessed that he likes his work -- he's out there on the fruited plain with his hunting buddies every day.
Do I feel my life is less fulfilling because I don't use my engineering degree to pull in a paycheck? Not at all. The service I provide to my family in the way of homemaking is more than compensated by the time I'm able to spend practicing my faith and satisfying my intellectual curiosity (thank you Ricochet).
There are two ways to approach that which must be done. One may graciously accept the fact, and make the best of it. Or one may resent the fact, and make oneself (and usually everyone else) miserable.
We all want our daughters to have choices. I'm not opposed to women becoming high powered CEOs, stay-at-home moms, or anything in between. What I am opposed to is denigrating work that, most likely, somebody's daughter will be doing, even if it's not your own.
Keep the "pigeonholed pink" toy vacuum cleaner with the brightly colored bouncy balls. Lose the elitist feminist attitude about housework.
First published on Ricochet, May 13, 2013. Subsequently linked at James Taranto's Best of the Web, Wall Street Journal under, "Questions No One is Asking."