Thoughts of a Backpacker Girl in the Outback

(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…

Apple pie!

Apple pie!

Bundaberg-rum-and-raisin cookies

Bundaberg-rum-and-raisin cookies

Chicken Tonight

Chicken Tonight

Homemade apple juice (10 apples = 1 glass)

Homemade apple juice (10 apples = 1 glass)

View from kitchen window

View from kitchen window

Laundry drying, sun setting

Laundry drying, sun setting


11 thoughts on “Thoughts of a Backpacker Girl in the Outback

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  5. I’m glad that I can cheer you up with my comment 😀 Of course I read your posts! They are far too interesting to not read and of course I am very jealous that you took your chance to go visit the other side of the world and become one of the coolest explorers I’ve ever met. 🙂
    Seriously. I still think it’s amazing that you are travelling, even while you are cooking and cleaning now. Those rum raisin cookies sound like heaven. maybe you can fix me a batch when you return to froggy land. 😉

    I had no idea they were really caring and animal friendly. That’s such a good thing to hear. It must be hard to end the life of your animals. And I’m glad that they only let them die if they really have to. Kudos for the outback men!

  6. Oh my. I had no idea they were this narrow minded! Well.. maybe I suspected it a bit, because I heard that outback men don’t really appreciate colored people. But not everybody is the same. There are always people who think different.
    I’m glad you think this way. Don’t let those weird crocs get in your head! Your values are important!!
    Sounds like you’re still enjoying yourself. I’m happy! There’s nothing wrong with cooking and cleaning. It can be very meditative too 🙂

    Have fun sweety!!

    • Thanks, Myo! I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. First of because it is motivating (it means you read my story!) and second because you make me think too 🙂 It’s funny how they are ‘narrow minded’ in some things, but in other things they are probably way ahead of us. Case in point is animal suffering. These men love their cows. They will do a lot for them, and when they need to they will end the cow’s life if it means they won’t hurt anymore. It is a horrible thing and I can tell it hurts my employer every time he needs to do it, but he does it because he knows it is better for the animal. I wonder how many vegetarians and supporters of animal rights would be able to do this…

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