A Woman’s Place Is In The Kitchen

Because she’s there to ask her man, “hey, is dinner ready yet?”

Image credit: Today In History

Statistically, women do far more work around the home than men. This is unfair. I know how it feels because I, a privileged white male, have always done far more work around the home than any of my female domestic partners. And that in addition to running startups and looking after two children.

And yes, I have experienced a woman coming into the kitchen while I was cooking (while juggling child-care duties and responding to emails from work) to ask me, “hey, is dinner ready yet?”

But I don’t think it’s useful to whine about the situation, nor to slip on a comfortable t-shirt upon which is emblazoned “I’m A Victim of the Matriarchy!” My situation has resulted from having selected partners who were for one reason or another unable to contribute to the running of the household and guess what? That’s on me.

Unfortunately, today it seems we’re all addicted to being the victim, to whining about how unfair life is and to resenting everyone around us. We rob ourselves of agency, preferring the comfortable posture of doing nothing but complaining endlessly.

And that is, frankly, a bit of a bore.

It’s also very sad because there’s still a lot that needs to change. It’s sad because we only have a certain amount of energy and if we’re wasting it on whining and complaining we won’t have much left for purposeful action.

I can’t help but contrast today’s supposed “fourth generation” feminists who spend their time tearing other women to shreds for supposed heresies, with the women who fought truly hard battles: the suffragettes. Emmeline Pankhurst and her sisters didn’t waste hours whining about how unfair life was, despite the fact that the legal system and social customs were absolutely rigged against them. No, they set themselves audacious goals and then set out to attain those goals through purposeful action.

These were women who didn’t rob themselves of agency by imagining an invisible all-powerful but unsubstantiated force (aka “The Patriarchy”). They saw a clear injustice and they set out to change the system. And, eventually, despite having to suffer significant personal hardships along the way, they succeeded. Thanks to the suffragettes and their successors, women gained the right to vote, gained the right to have stewardship of their own property, and ultimately gained the right to control their reproductive systems.

Marie Curie, likewise, became the only person to ever win two Nobel Prizes. She didn’t whine about how difficult it was for women to succeed in scientific endeavors; she forced her way to prominence with hard work and determination.

Those are all huge triumphs.

Today many of those triumphs are being threatened by repellent closeted white male homosexuals in the Republican Party and the Evangelical community. But where is most of the feminist outrage directed these days? Against soft targets: other women and fellow-travelers deemed insufficiently Politically Correct.

Where are the feminists taking strong purposeful steps to prevent the closing of Planned Parenthood clinics? Where are the feminists taking action to oppose the imposition of a quasi-medieval theocracy across large swathes of the USA? Oh, sorry: far too many are busy whining about The Patriarchy and excoriating each other for insufficient feminist credibility.

Sure, I’m a privileged white male so let’s ignore my thoughts on this matter. After all, anyone having the temerity to suggest that it’s better to take purposeful action to remedy ills rather than to sit and whine about them is, clearly, someone who needs to be condemned. Ideally by utilizing the trite stock formulations beloved of those who think the whine is mightier than the deed.

But frankly I don’t think any gender, skin color, or culture has a monopoly on reason. When we solve a differential equation the answer is either correct or incorrect; it’s no good claiming that your answer would be right if only the teacher wasn’t a man/woman/Caucasian/Hispanic etc.

I can’t think of a single instance in all of recorded history where change for the better was accomplished by having complacent people sit around whining and tearing each other apart with words. But I can think of a great many examples of positive change that happened because a sufficient number of motivated people got off their backsides and set out to make a real difference with real actions in the world.

Every day, real feminists are working hard to make their mark in a wide range of disciplines. Yes, prejudice and the old boys’ network often inhibit them. But they keep pushing, keep demanding changes, and finally they will succeed.

Whereas the supposed feminists who spend all their time criticizing other women for being insufficiently “woke” are achieving precisely nothing except making life easier for the far-right by providing examples of intolerance and ultra-political-correctness run mad.

So frankly I think if you want to call yourself an anything-ist, you need to be prepared actually to do something.

Otherwise, maybe you should just get out of the way and let the grownups take care of things.

Speaking of which, dinner is finally ready.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store