(Mum, this one’s for you)
I always thought that emancipation of women was about the right to choose. Because not too long ago we didn’t have a choice. We couldn’t vote (a choice, in essence), we didn’t have the same rights as men. We went from father’s house to husband’s house. We went from loyal daughter to obedient housewife. Did we want that? Didn’t matter.
In the 21st century, in the Western world, it does matter. We vote, we drive, we smoke, we drink, we go to university, we have sex, we buy houses, we are single moms by choice, we are childless by choice as well, we hold high places in big companies, we travel, and we get angry when other women don’t have the ‘rights’ that we assume rightfully ours.
What modern man dares say to a modern woman: “Go fetch me some dinner”? I think he would be thrown out of the house instantaneously. Never to be let in again.
In my current job, I am in charge of anything household related. I am cleaning lady, laundry lady, cook, dishie, you name it, if it is to do with the house(hold) I am your (wo)man!
In the weeks before I came here, I did a lot of job searching on the Internet and often enough there are ads specifically for girls/women. (There are also ads specifically for men. These jobs generally require physical strength.) I was told more than once that they would only ever consider a woman for the job of cook/cleaning lady/dishie/washer/… I guess they don’t trust a man’s hand.
On the same token, the local women, the jillaroos, the outback girls, also help out on the paddock. Your outback woman will mount a horse, ride a motorbike, muster cattle, shear sheep, and wien calves as well as bake a cake, prepare dinner, do the laundry, clean the toilet, and make the bed all in a day’s work.
Makes me feel their lifes are so much harder. Although I doubt they feel the same way as it is what they’re used to. And that is what it all comes down to, I guess. I am aware of these different behaviors, because I am not used to it. Out here I am yet to see a man enter the kitchen and help with the cooking, dishes or cleaning – or even suggest something of the likes.
My point is not to say outback men don’t work hard. Not at all. They do. Life here depends on it. Outback life isn’t 9 to 5. It never stops. There is always another thing that needs to be done. It is a never-ending story. It is not like the men come home and are home. They go back and forth fixing this, getting that. I am merely making an observation. Besides, there is nothing I can do to change it, I’d lose my job, plain and simple. My employer sure as hell won’t do the cooking, cleaning or washing. He claims he doesn’t know how.
My point is that women don’t do that. They go into the kitchen when they come home, make lunch or prepare dinner, some men don’t even make their own coffee. Each gender has its role. There is no choice, there is no thought of choice. It’s always been done that way. No-one minds, I suppose. No-one feels like they are in an inferior position.
Thing is though, every fiber in my body wants to scream out loud, thinks it’s wrong, says ‘That is not what I was taught’. Do something!
At the same time, I like it. Very much.
And I guess that’s what bothers me most…