Friday, June 15, 2007

Marriage in the Patriarchy

Over here at Twisty's Place

And here at Feministe:

We're talking about marriage.

Marriage in the Patriarchy, which there isn't any other kind, is there?

I've been ruminating over this issue myself for, oh, what is it, nine years now? Might be more. Because mine didn't really get rough until the kid showed up. Before that I was married, sure, but mr. delagar was still working out of the marriage -- traveling a great deal, gone more than he was home -- and it was very like not being married at all.

Once the kid arrived, and he quit that job and became a stay-at-home-dad, that's when the actual marriage started.

And when we moved to Pork Smith, when the kid was three, and he stopped being a stay-at-home-dad, and started working at teaching and going to graduate school, hmm. Now we hit the patriarchy full-bore: because now we both work full-time.

See, mr. delagar, he's a good guy. A liberal guy (mostly). He loves me. Honest. I love him. But has he been raised in the patriarchy? Oh, has he indeed. Does he think he has a right to enter the kitchen and say to me, "Make me a sandwich"?

Do you need to ask?

And whose job do you think he thinks the laundry is? The vaccuuming? The cleaning of the bathroom? Childcare? Dishes? Fixing dinner? Arranging medical care and transportation to same?

He says he will "help" me with these, that all I have to do is ask, and he'll do what I say.

Notice the phrasing there.

Notice the position this puts me in.

Notice, also, that when I do ask, he (very often) ignores me, or says, "Not now, I'm working on (whatever it is -- his dissertation, his music, his writing)." Or he's watching some movie. Or something, you know, important. Not like me. My time is not of value.

This continues until, once every three or four months, we have a fight -- instigated by me -- in which I holler at him about how it isn't fair for him to force me to do all the work in the house, he admits it's not, swears he'll stop, and does stop -- for about two weeks -- and then slips back into his old habits.

So I have a choice: become a shrieking harpy, make our lives -- mine and the kid's, as well as his -- a fucking misery; do all the work myself, like a good oppressed member of the patriarchy; live in an utter sty(which, actually, I've tried that one); or continue this fucked pattern.

There's marriage with a good liberal man for you. Want to sign up?

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