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Feminism: chat

The personal and the political - fighting for equality at home?

8 replies

woodington · 12/07/2021 10:37

I know this has been done to death probably but I am feeling it so much in my marriage at the moment. By which I mean, I feel as though I am still often fighting for equality within my marriage, in order to allow me to pursue my career on equal terms with my DH. I know this is central to feminism of course over many decades but I wonder, is anyone else feeling the same?

Just a couple of recent examples: I have attended school sports day for the past ten years (my DH has never been). This time I asked him to go and he said yes, but has just told me that he has booked a meeting. I told him to unbook it and grumpiness (his - then mine!) ensued. He is now going but with that sort of slight show of sacrifice that ends up making me feel guilty - it's subtle but is probably one reason why in the past I haven't pushed it.

Last week a member of his family (young-ish - we're not talking older generation here) addressed a letter to Mr and Mrs Husbandfirstname Husbandsurname. I have not changed my name on marriage as that family member well knows. I said to my DH that I found being addressed in those terms totally offensive and he said I should just let it go as it didn't matter. I think it does matter to be addressed as though I am his possession and to have my identity totally erased and I would imagine he would too, should he be addressed in similar terms. Which clearly, wouldn't happen.

There's more, these are just examples. I hate having to fight with him over things like this but WHY can't he see why this would matter to me?! To me, it shouts out male privilege. And in so many other ways he is 'good,' helpful etc - so then I question whether I'm over-reacting.

This is just a rant really ... it's just so rubbish to feel as though I fighting this fight at home with a DH who I do love!

OP posts:

334bu · 12/07/2021 12:14



quixote9 · 13/07/2021 05:19

To me, it shouts out male privilege.

That's exactly what it's shouting. It's not just you.

And what you're going through is why 3rd wave "feminism" petered out into empowering shades of lipstick. It's horrible to have to deal with that stuff at the heart of your love life.

That said, don't forget that his cluelessness is likely not malicious. It's probably really total ignorance. If he's ever had issues with someone of more status (boss? some full-of-it neighbour?) using that status in a way that annoyed him, you can draw the parallels. Once he sees the similarity, point out that now all he has to do is multiply by a million Sad.

The big understanding blocker in my case was partner gradually getting to the point of acknowledging the scope and saying, "But if I admit all that's true, then it's awful and there's nothing I can do about it."

At which point I noted, "You just have to see it. I get to live it." So he understood there are worse things than seeing it and decided to get on the side of truth and justice Grin.

Anyway. Good luck and never give up. Flowers Wine Cake


ErrolTheDragon · 13/07/2021 07:58

Rant away.Thanks

Yes, it's unconscious privilege. Men who genuinely think they're entirely egalitarian just don't see the drip-drip-drip of inequality including in their own behaviour. And because they are 'good men' they don't like it being pointed out to them and may get defensive.
I think it helps to accept that - to some extent - it's not their fault. They're the product of the pervading culture, and of their upbringing. I'm fortunate that 'my Nigel' is a reflective type, we can have sensible discussions. And he also had the benefit of that excellent teacher, a daughter!

Hang in there. If he's a good man he is capable of maturing and learning.


NeedNewKnees · 13/07/2021 10:13

Keep chipping away at it, he’ll get there.

And you’re absolutely correct, it is male privilege Flowers


BaronMunchausen · 13/07/2021 10:36

"I have attended school sports day for the past ten years (my DH has never been)."

My memories of school sports days include a lot of competitive Dads limbering up for the Dads' sprint race - maybe that could be a tease to get him interested?!

Mind you, I also remember plenty of Mums (some of whom brought along actual running shoes with spikes) taking the Mums' race very seriously...


FemaleAndLearning · 13/07/2021 11:52

Perhaps seeing it from the children's point of view. If you have a daughter what message is he giving, if you have a son what message is he giving?


2021Vision · 13/07/2021 13:23

RE the sports day, I would actually say that he has and still is missing out. Does he not want to spend time with his children and cheering them on? My DP was/is like this, from my point of view he has just massively missed out, you can't get those memories/occassions back.

Many men just seem to put themselves and their wants/needs before their families, how sad. They see everything they do as more important, However that said, many women prop this up by doing all the wifework, talking about their husbands/partners 'helping' them and saying they are 'really good'. No they really aren't.


Hollyhocksarenotmessy · 13/07/2021 14:22

How oldish are you? Feminism h, as lost ground.

I thank fuck my exhusband, current DP, and I came to adulthood during 2nd wave feminism. We are in our 50s. Men in this age group seem to get it far more than older men, and younger men. I honestly think we were a golden generation.

Carry on ranting. Isn't your DP embarrassed to have the awareness I associate with people 70+?

Why doesn't he care if his family know your name? Would he care if your family didn't know his name? It only needs a polite correction.

Why doesn't he WANT to go to school events? Why can't he enjoy his children's lives and achievements? Why doesn't he care about how much joy it brings the children to have their parents there? Why does he think he is too important?

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