Monday, July 21, 2008

Convenient Gender Roles

Yesterday my partner, SP, spent the better half of the day installing our new medicine cabinet. I spent that same time lounging on the couch, alternately reading, sleeping, and half-heartedly asking SP if he needed any help.

Now, am I capable of hanging a medicine cabinet? I'm going to say probably yes. I love building things, and I'm really good at following directions. But did I want to hang the medicine cabinet? Hell no. So I let my man go about his man's work. He called me when he needed me to hold something and my fingernails to peel the double-sided tape.

As I dozed, I thought about the fact that I was letting my laziness get the better of my ideology. So I think I deserved the slap in the face wake up call that the Washington Post published yesterday. One in a series about the global food crisis (which I'll be blogging about on my other blog which shall not be named--that's still not an official policy, I just like calling it that), the article talks about how, as food becomes less and less affordable, women give up their share so their husbands and children can eat. The woman in the article gets up before dawn to sweep the streets and makes $10 a month to do so. Then she and a co-wife, who also sweeps streets, use their earnings to feed their husband, another wife who has gone blind, and their many children.

It's a pretty stark reminder of how lucky we in the United States are (though don't think there aren't people experiencing abject poverty here), and it's a pretty good example of how, when you improve the lives of women, you improve the lives of everyone.

Now, considering the fact that SP makes up anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of my readership, I think I owe him an apology for my laziness yesterday and a thank you for the fact that, overall, we have a pretty fair, equitable relationship. I just made dinner, but he's emptying the dishwasher as I type.

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