Not putting the man in your life at the centre of your life

(127 Posts)
BasilBabyEater Sun 11-Aug-13 08:24:35

I came across this really interesting article this morning and thought I'd share

feministcurrent.com/7784/on-feminism-writing-and-doing-womanhood-wrong/

Am still thinking about it so am not going to comment but thought others might like to mull it over too.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 18:05:21

I don't believe that. Sorry, but as a woman and a feminist, I sometimes say or do something that is sexist against women. I have to catch myself, examine my belief system and be more aware the next time.

I simply don't believe there is a man alive who hasn't inadvertently said or done something sexist. Doesn't make them a bad person, just unaware.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 18:06:22

What kind of examples are you talking about?

BalloonSlayer Sun 11-Aug-13 18:10:25

They learn to be “forgettable supporting characters” to their male lead: “Men grow up expecting to be the hero of their own story. Women grow up expecting to be the supporting actress in somebody else’s,”

When I was with my ex-husband, at the last gasp of our marriage, I used to say to friends that if someone had made a film of my life, the person playing me would not have been the star. The star would have been the person playing him. The person playing me would have been "co-starring" or "with." sad

Funny she says the exact same thing. (Great minds? grin )

Ex-H wasn't particularly sexist though. I think that he just wanted to do what he wanted to do, and if I wanted to do something with him, then it would be accompanying him to his hobby, seeing his friends, basically tagging along while he did what he liked . . . things I wanted to do I did on my own.

After him I went out with a lovely bloke who would probably call himself a feminist. He had an action-man hobby which really wasn't my cup of tea. He would go out and do his hobby and I would go to his house and wait for him . . . people always asked when I was going to start doing the hobby too so I could do it with him. Erm no. I put that one down to him having been single for a long time and set in his ways (he was) rather than sexism. However, my Mum has a tendency to fawn over men and I wonder if I didn't expect much from blokes as a result.

DH loves doing things together and I am the hero of my own story again!

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 18:13:01

BS, that is fundamentally sexist though, is it not ? That your exH thought what he wanted to do was more important than what you wanted to do

of course, give and take is required. But when it's a pattern of behaviour, it is sexist. Men's interests take precedence.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sun 11-Aug-13 18:14:52

petey Well the only other option would be to start a relationship with a genuinely feminist man (like you have) and as I said, I don't think I've ever met one.

I can live in hope, but not too optimistic. Will just enjoy being my own 'leading man' for now.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 18:16:04

Talking about lady doctors, women drivers, telling young boys to be strong and not cry, telling young girls they're pretty, assuming women are the more natural parent, automatically assigning domestic chores by gender, assuming the man will drive, judging women who are drunk more harshly, telling someone to man up, assuming a man will protect a woman, minimising sexual assault, not recognising sexual assault, laughing at sexist jokes, not being aware that a joke is sexist, giving a woman away, assuming the man should propose, taking your husbands name as a default, etc etc etc etc

See LRD's thread on all the everyday little stuff that is so commonplace that it's barely recognised.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 18:16:10

It is 1000% sexist if a man says anything he wants to do is more important than what you do. A mans needs definitely do not come first to the detriment of everyone else. You have to think what is he doing for me? Not should I be doing more for him. Men respect women that do that a lot more, and the ones that dont arent worth your time.

Glad it all worked out in the end balloonslayer.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 18:20:05

Dh doesnt do any of that tbh. I dont either.

Blistory Sun 11-Aug-13 18:23:05

"you only get treated how you allow yourself to be"

You do it, you just don't recognise it.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 18:25:05

I wouldnt say any of those thinhs you have written are normal, but I didnt reallu grow up in a conventional family. My mum is the leader of everything, and always has been so I do realise I am priviledged in that sense as I have subconsiously copied everything they did.

BalloonSlayer Sun 11-Aug-13 18:30:43

Yes I agree it is sexist to think that what he wanted to do was more important than what I wanted to do. I am not sure he thought that though, his hobby was something I knew about when I met him, it was part of him, and I don't have any hobbies like that.*

When men have "hobbies" that take them out of the house, as my Dad did, and my ex-H did and the ex-boyf did, and you, the woman, do not, the hobbies do seem more important. It would look a bit weird to say "Well I went out to xxx with you last week, so this week we are both going to stay in and read books and then talk about them." grin

So you end up feeling like a spoilsport for stopping them going out to participate in their hobby, a bore for not having an out-of-house hobby of your own, or bored shitless sitting on the touchline/whatever watching them just so you can spend some time "together."

*I suspect that my Dad's all-encompassing hobby made me think it was normal for men to be constantly off "doing something" . . . I must admit that round about the time Ex-H and I broke up it dawned on me that he was a crashing bore who talked about little except his hobby and in that respect very like my Dad. confused

Thank goodness my DD has DH as a Dad!

sameoldIggi Sun 11-Aug-13 20:59:04

Balloonslayer you have put that so well.
I struggle to get equal free time as the things I want to do are not date/time specific, whereas his (sport) are. So he "has" to be out on Saturday afternoon, but I can spend time reading/go to the cinema etc any old time. And then it rarely happens.
I do collude with this. Before children, I didn't mind as I liked the independence. Now the ways seem to be set.

TheDoctrineOfAllan Sun 11-Aug-13 21:10:42

Interesting - we are on a trip right now driven by DH's hobby. I'm happy to be here and I know if I said "let's go to
X next time so that the kids can share in my hobby" he'd be happy to go - but I can't see that ever occurring to me as a "right" - so it's a self-fulfilling thing.

BasilBabyEater Sun 11-Aug-13 21:18:58

I'm with Youmakemewannalala re relationships with men.

For many years I compromised because I assumed you had to have a partner, that the basic domestic unit was two people.

And now I have the self-confidence and feminist analysis of society to realise that's crap, I look around at all the men I've met in the last 5 years or so and there is not one of them I could describe as a man I would like to share my space with.

I don't completely dismiss the idea of being able to have a relationship with a man again; but I know the chance of me finding one who I could even tolerate, let alone with whom I could enjoy spending time and energy, is about as likely as winning the lottery. And tbh, I'd rather do that. grin

kim147 Sun 11-Aug-13 21:25:20

So what are you looking for in a man? What would he have to be like to be tolerable?

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 21:30:00

Sameoldiggi - Can you not arrange things with friends or alonw and just go? Things like the cinema just say going cinema at 3 this afternoon and just go. It is definitely your right to a social life.

I went out last night and didnt get home until 4am. I havent done one single chore and have barely stood up today as its my day off. Dh has done the lot, but he knows when its his turn he can do the same.

kim147 Sun 11-Aug-13 21:46:34

I wish my mum was still around as I've forgotten a lot of my chilldhood but I do remember my Dad doing his hobbies at the weekend when I was young and all the family coming along to watch him.

I would love to know what life was like and the expectations - did Dad put us to bed, cook etc? I know my Mum worked part time but I would love to have got her views on life back in the 70s.

I know my male cousins have "weekend hobbies".

sameoldIggi Sun 11-Aug-13 21:57:08

Peter I think we need a three-day weekend - a day when he can do his stuff, one for me to do mine, and a third for doing something as a family! You're right, nothing to stop me going out on the other weekend day, but it does sacrifice doing much together with the dcs (who are too small to have their own plans) never mind getting anything done around the house.
I do get tired of fitting in with him. He points to how much less he does his hobby compared to before dcs, but my socialising etc has dropped a hundred percent more.

kim147 Sun 11-Aug-13 22:01:41

"You're right, nothing to stop me going out on the other weekend day, but it does sacrifice doing much together with the dcs (who are too small to have their own plans) never mind getting anything done around the house."

Now that's an interesting point. I do find it hard to understand it when someone who has been busy working in the work wants to spend time at the weekend doing their hobby rather than spending time with DCs and doing the house stuff that also needs doing. DCs get older before you know it. I know people say that hobbies are important and it's only a few hours but family time is important.

peteypiranha Sun 11-Aug-13 22:20:51

I was mainly talking about one doing one sat one doing the next etc so you have another day to do a family day out. We have at the very least a family day out once a week, but usually more frequently as a lot of the things I do are at night. Dh wont commit to anything that is a regularly weekly thing.

With what dads did when I was growing up. My dad did nights on own with us every week as my mum did nights. Did all packed lunches, can cook anything, did all cooking for xmas dinners and family function meals, took me, my brother out all the time, and often our friends to, did weekly food shop, and did all drivng us to our extra curricular activities. He went to every parents evening, play and open day that I ever had.

We live in a sexist society, and we are all products of it. My DH comes from one of the least sexist cultures I've ever seen, but it's still by no means perfect. I've always been strong and independent, but still, despite this, DH and I find ourselves slipping into the traditional men's/women's roles in our relationship sometimes. I only had my full feminist awakening last year, DH hasn't had his yet, though hopefully my rants about sexist BS I read about are having some effect on him!

I'm waffling though - I'm trying to paint a picture of a relationship where we're both intelligent people, equal in terms of childcare/housework, but still both products of the society we live in, which means we're not as always as equal as we could be, and sometimes need to step back and make adjustments.

DH is always willing to listen, always willing to make that adjustment if I tell him I feel to much of the domestic burden is slipping onto my shoulders. But it needs awareness and vigilance, and I suspect the same applies to any relationship unless the man has truly had a feminist awakening. And if I, as a woman, didn't have mine until I was nearly 40, it's a bit much to expect DH, as a man, to immediately have one too.

It certainly is comforting to me to be very aware that I don't need DH in any way, as much as I do want him in my life. But if I were to find that he were hindering me in my ambitions, my happiness, if I were having to give up any part of myself to "keep" him, I would cut him loose. And I'm sure he's well aware of that.

I wish he liked tattoos more though grin - that's the one area where I have compromised and respected his feelings, and not got nearly as many as I would like to have.

I'm sure there's a point in there somewhere!!

BasilBabyEater Sun 11-Aug-13 22:49:09

"So what are you looking for in a man? What would he have to be like to be tolerable?"

He would have to be a) intelligent and b) a genuine feminist ally and c) look like George Clooney.

grin

OK maybe I'd drop c). <Regrets concession immediately>

But seriously, most men aren't feminist allies. They pay lip service to equality, but as soon as they are even vaguely challenged on real, substantive issues where they feel their privilege is being threatened, they suddenly reveal themselves as bog-standard sexists who only want equality to go as far as is convenient for them and no further. They're not really capable of thinking outside the parameters of patriarchal assumptions and I've got to a stage where I find that really boring and limited and vaguely disappointing. I used to have such a high opinion of men. <Sigh>

I literally only know one man whom I would describe as genuinely understanding feminist issues and aware of his own privilege as a white educated able-bodied man and as he's my brother and I don't fancy him and we're not wierdies, he's off my candidate list. grin I don't mean a man has to go on demos etc. - just even understanding what feminism is and acknowledging his own privilege would be enough, but I literally don't know any men like that. They're all very nice, but just not very interesting - stuck inside the patriarchal thought-prison.

TheDoctrineOfJetlag Sun 11-Aug-13 22:53:48

Yy annieL

AnyOldFucker Sun 11-Aug-13 23:16:52

My DH comes close

I have taught him most of what he knows though smile wink

I think the best we can hope for is that they listen properly listen and reflect

I don't want a lapdog who does what I tell him to, or pretends to think the way he thinks feminists expect him to

I want him to come to those conclusions by himself, even if it takes a while

and it sometimes does...

an inherently good guy is half the battle, IMO

the rest, he has to want to get there himself

peteypiranha Mon 12-Aug-13 06:40:46

We have never done traditional roles at home, but dh had 3 months off when dd1 was born and so did everything for me. I would say overall I do less than dh, as my career is more important. Dh came to me fully trained, but I am a work in progress.

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