Keeping calm in the face of ineuqality(12 Posts)
Before i had dc I never really noticed or gave a second thought to gender inequality. I guess i felt quite liberal about it, and niavely thought that we had equality in this country, and that i couldnt be a feminist because i got on better with boys than girls at school. It was only when i simultaeounsly had my daughter and started uni that the shades began to fall and i realised just how deeply ingrained sexism and inequality is.
Now its been seen though, it just cant be unseen, and it makes me so angry. I feel like anything i might want to do or achieve in this life is always now going to be secondary to what dp wants to do. Not through his fault, just because its structurally set up that way. I find myself repsonsible for the cleaning of the house, the cooking, the organisation of the house, majority of the childcare, responsibility of bills being paid on time, homework, and without any dreams for the future that dont include my dc or dp. Its not that dp doesnt participate in any of those things, just that the responsibility naturally falls to me, i feel as though if those things werent done it would reflect worse on me than dp.
I also found that it was mostly me who gave up friendships, hobbies and potential outings/experiences due to time and money constraints, whilst dps life continues to flourish. I find it hard to get along with his friends anymore, its difficult to explain why, but i do think there is some gender related stuff there, maybe me being unfairly resentful. Also in my life there has been more than a few occasions were what i percieve to be a friendhsip with a man has petered off or turned sour after them making a sexual advance, leading me to think they're not really interested in friendship at all. Either im just really shit as a friend, or these blokes just arent interested in knowing a woman in a less than sexual capacity. In fact, looking back, i wonder if most of my so called friendships were actually sexually orientated. I used to get about a bit when i was much younger, mainly i think because of low self esteem, not many close girl frienships and wanting company. I seem to find that whilst women are almost always open to friendhships with men, men are only really interested in friendships with other men.
I feel so angry about it all. I have mh issues anyway, which are particularly bad at the moment, so im over sensitive to it all. But i just cant help being so angry at how unfair the whole system still is. Its really putting me off men, which i know isnt fair, as individually its not their fault. But i just feel like screaming about how they dont know how easy they have it, compared to women. Im in bed with stress at the moment, thinking about dropping out of my course because i cant deal with the pressure, have shouted and fallen out with someone (unfairly), alcohol issues, eating issues where ive been cutting calories then bingeing, and just generally feeling shit about it all. Ive become a ridiculous characterture of female sterotypes, unstable, nagging and angry.
Dont know what im really trying to gain from this, just wondering i guess if anyone else has been through this and managed to find some peace with it. Maybe some tips for how to have a more balanced home life? I reiterate my dp is more than willing to help out, and in theory would allow me to do anything i wanted, but the reality just never quite comes through. He's been away for more than a night 5 times in 3 years, and me once (for a funeral). Theoretically i could but i never have the money, or the time, and would feel guility about just uprooting. I do the majority of early mornings and bed times too, and feel guility if i ask dp to. really sorry this is long, i think i just needed a rant really.
Three words jumped out of that last paragraph OP. "Help" "Allow" and "Guilty".
He helps, he allows and you feel guilty.
This is not how it should be. And it need not be.
When you are feeling better maybe you should sit down with DP and have a serious talk about partnership and sharing.
Even the most ardent feminists among us can find it easy to fall into the trap of being responsible for holding life together. Been there, done that.
But it can change, providing of course that your DP acknowledges your feelings and the very real unfairness that is going on. But you will have to make it clear that things are going to have to change.
Thanks for the reply grimble! we have spoken at length about it because i get so worked up, and we have made temporary changes and tried to re-address the balance but its not that easy, as these problems stem from wider social structures, even though my dp is apparently willing to facilitate i still have to carry to the burden of social pressure about parenting and household. Its socially acceptable for a man to go off and holiday, persue their dreams, and everyone bends over backwards to accomadate, but not so much for the mum, particularly if the family is stuggling finacially anyway. Of course I dont mind putting my dd first, but i hate the inequality of it all. I feel like i have to try and shout twice as loud to get my needs met and im tired of it. I cant cope. Im sick of trying. The resentment just keeps building, i think i need to get away for therapy or something because i dont feel like i can be around people at the moment. I wish i had some money and i would check myself in somewhere, but im not ill enough to get more help on the nhs yet. Had the pills and stress courses, conselling etc. Think i have to wait to hit breaking point again before anything else can be done.
I'm going to come back properly later but and that you are feeling crap.
Thanks garthsuncle, sorry to write such a rant. I think I'm just having a bad time with mh, it's probably unrelated to all the gender inequality but I'm channelling it through that at the moment so it feels like that's the root of it iyswim I'm just having a wobble. But will try and get help.
I don't have much time to post but I just wanted to say that I completely understand where you are coming from. Large chunks of your post I could have written.
I'm your standard keyboard warrior; reading literature and articles and posting on forums and comment sections on feminist issues but in the real world I just conform. I worry about looks and weight, worry if I look attractive enough, rarely speak out and challenge people (unless I feel very safe) and do all housework and house/child admin. It's a complex relationship at the moment with my H meaning he does do just above his fair share of childcare but I always feel terribly guilty and grateful for this and hide it from friends and family lest they judge me a failure and him a saint.
But I see inequality everywhere and I just want to scream about it, too.
No idea what the solution is. I think I just compartmentalise it...keeping my rants for H and smiling sweetly in public. But that's not healthy, really and it makes me cross with myself for not fighting the good fight and standing up for what I believe instead of smiling when some bloke tells me to 'cheer up love'.
Will be lurking for advice. Sympathies and sorry you are feeling so bad.
Only if you let it. I live unconventially and I dont do any of that. I have never read any feminist texts or books Im just not a doormat type.
Good for you george. It must be all OP's fault, then for not being as good at life as you
Op why on earth are you martyring yourself to have no life outside of your dcs? You feel guilty but there is no reason to
why on earth are you martyring yourself, feel guilty but there is no reason to
Ever heard of patriarchy, peer pressure, societal pressure? It's what feminism looks at.
Yes, some people find it easier to resist it or have had better role models or have more support in their lives. Sounds like george is one of these.
You can't be suggesting that the Op takes on too much and feels guilty just for fun.
OP I too could have written much of your post. I have mh issues (recovering from anorexia, alcohol issues, hair pulling...it is very, very difficult) and like you I have had the blinkers fall from my eyes regarding the unfairness of things for women, and this happened after I had my first daughter. Because of this, I too am struggling with my view of men right now...I veer between HATING them to at least dislike and distrust. This bothers me so much as I have a small son I love desperately and a husband and dad who I love and who love me. Somehow I separate them from other men in my mind.
My life also changed so much after children...I have no friends of my own anymore, no career now (when I met my husband, I was the one with the career...now he is while I look after the children and the home) and all the sacrifices and changes seem to have been mine to make. It is lonely, stressful, unrelenting, and the world just seems to keep on turning while no one looks at you or listens to you to see how you are really coping.
I wish I could help you - I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone. I understand just as I know almost everyone here will and hopefully people will offer some good advice. I hope you keep at your course. It is something for you, something to aim for and work towards.
Thanks everyone for replies. Good to know I'm not just going completely loopy! Inequality exists and we all experience it to a certain extent, but actually making changes is the hard part. I think the resentment naturally grows until you have like I had today, pretty much a complete breakdown.
I had annorexia too and was in hospital for it as a teen. Mostly past it now, but it manifests in different ways and shows up from time to time. I wonder if a lot of these things are linked as they seem to affect people in intersecting ways. When I was annorexic I was completely off men and sex, and they were off me, because I looked so ill. It may have been away of trying to escape my sexuality all together. I don't know I haven't had much talking therapy but cbt was helpful for a bit.
I'm trying to even things out in rhe relationship but the more I do that the more I feel like a needy bitch (that's how I've been socialised to think about it) and end up hating myself more, then it spirals. I hate myself for wanting more, but I know deep down its fair!
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