A young toddler with a dummy is sweeping outside with a long handled blue brush.
Life

Gender Inequality Home Edition

Ever notice the different expectations between men and women. Of course you have gender inequality is everywhere! As I get older and especially after having kids I have noticed it so much more and it makes me so damn mad. Growing up I always wanted to prove I am just as good as the boys and having two older brothers I was always a ‘tom boy’ and anything they could do I could too. Except I couldn’t. There were definitely a different set of rules and boundaries being a girl. There was always a significant divide between the boys activities and mine.

I remember wanting to join the Scouts and at that time it just wasn’t the done thing. I joined Guides instead and although I liked it I had no interest in tea party badges or sewing and ironing badges. I didn’t want to do those I want to rock climb, shoot arrows, climb trees and canoe. At camps we were taught how to make a washing up bowl stand out of bamboo canes. Because that is what camping is all about making functional homeware. I hated those stereotypical gender roles before I even knew what they were or meant and I hate them even more now.

Years ago before we had kids both me and Mike worked full time and I decided to get a cleaner. Oh the controversy. Mike was not keen “we don’t need one!” of course he didn’t need one he had me. One thing that gets me in trouble is my ability to speak my mind and I’m more than happy to tell people what I think. So as I always do I questioned his logic. “When was the last time you vacuumed? When did you clean the bathroom? When did you last dust or do the windows?” For an intelligent man this hadn’t occurred to him that things do not magically happen. As he realised then that the answer to all these questions was never. He also has no intention or want to do those chores either.

Now I will give Mike credit he does the laundry and he happily empties the dishwasher but these are everyday essential jobs as he needs clean pants and dishes but the other stuff doesn’t even register. Does he feel guilty for not doing those tasks or any shame if someone came to the house and it was’t spotless. No, he doesn’t care and he hasn’t been programmed to care about those tasks nor will anyone judge him for not doing it but they will be happy to judge and blame me.

I do not like cleaning it is not something I enjoy or take pride in and it is not something I want to do with my time off. So we hired a cleaner for £20-30 a week and as two professionals with no kids in a small house it was easily in our budget. To me this seemed fine, we don’t drink much alcohol or smoke, we don’t have expensive hobbies or tastes but even so I don’t have to justify it to anyone. It made sense to me but to others they didn’t get it. I was mocked at work and colleagues made comments such as “what does my husband say?”. I was so shocked that it was still seen as my job to ‘keep’ a house even as working full time professional. I would reply in my honest way “I’m his wife not his maid. He is more than welcome to clean the house if he wants too. But he doesn’t and it is not my responsibility. ” They would look at me like I was a alien.

Women have proven we are smart, strong and independent and yet we are still having to justify why it is not our job to clean the house, cook the dinner and provide for our husbands. Didn’t you know they have been busy at work all day.. eye roll. Women are more than capable to hold our own in the world but we are still not seen as equal and the demand on us is just higher. No matter how educated you are and all the achievements we have made in the world, we still have these outdated expectations on top.

No matter what we do it is not good enough depending on who is looking at you. If you are a stay at home mum you are ‘just a mum’. When actually staying home with the kids is demanding, you don’t get paid and you coworkers love watching you pee. If you are a working mum then it’s seen you have sacrificed your time with your children for your career. How dare you earn money to feed them. If you don’t exercise or hold a perfect figure then you have ‘let yourself go’ god forbid you do not look perfect and well kept. Or maybe you do not want kids or a husband then that really blows peoples minds. Like our only two functions on this planet are to raise kids and look after the men.

Men on the other hand go to work and behold there job is done. They are the mighty hunter gather and have provided for their clan all hail the penis. If they don’t clean on their days off then that’s fine as they work full time. Or if the take the kids out for the day they are praised and seen as forward thinking men. When really isn’t thta just their role as a parent? The expectations between men and women are so different and no not all men are arseholes. But a lot of people are. How often have you judged a woman on their home but not the man? Or blamed a mum for the kids behaviour when there are two parents? We are all guilty of doing it.

So lets be kinder to each other and to ourselves. Ask questions! Ask our partners to help more and ask the questions like ‘why is it my responsibility?’ Ask why are you judging that person and does it really matter? Demand to be treated equally and it is not because you deserve it, it is because you have earned it!

And yes I still have a cleaner she comes every other week and I bloody love her. It never stays clean as soon as we get home and I still have to clean every day she isn’t here but on the days she comes I love it. There is no shame or guilt just a fresh feeling every other Friday.

P.S. Smash the patriarchy x

Author

jenny@jenjensdesigns.co.uk

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