Monday, January 24, 2011

Post Feminist Movement?

When I moved, I felt comfortable vocalizing about how sexist the cleaning product commercials were (are). I was about eight when I listened to Marlo Thomas rant about those ads, depicting happy women doing chores around the house. And that life lesson was from the seventies. And now it is a new millenium and those commercials have hardly changed. They haven't changed at all, come to think of it.

Watch any commercial refering to dinner, washing your floors, dusting, cleaning the shower, carpooling kids, laundering clothes, baking dessert - you get the hint. The star is always some happy lady.

Newsflash - I am not smiling when I am washing my floor. And any man friend/relative I am close with will also be spotted on their hands and knees, washing a floor. Or changing a diaper. Or baking a pie. My boyfriend cooks. So do my brothers-in-law. And my uncle and his son are the best cooks around. For dinner the other night, my brother-in-law made the entree. My sister made a side. My boyfriend made the salad. My mom and I made dessert. If you are a female slaving away, go on strike and find a modern man, my friend.

How come we have only come this far? The feminist movement came to some sort of halt in the 90s. It's like the feminist, post-modern era happened and my generation thinks the movement is over. But it's horrible. I consider myself very feminine. I am very much into my appearance. You don't have to look androgynous to play a part in this movement.

Who said pink is for girls and blue is for boys? I have decided that I will wait at least six weeks after my baby is born to tell anyone what the gender is in hopes that I don't get any "gender specific" (aka - sexist) looking items.

When you think of the noun "doctor," what do you think? When you think of the word "nurse," who do you see? Can you change that?

The wage gap between men and women still exists. Skinny, happy looking women are still starring in household cleaning commercials (while plenty of men do that job), men are representing scientists and researchers in magazine ads, and here it is, 2011.

If you are reading this and you dress your son in sports paraphanalia and wait on your husband, I want to know why. If you refuse to let your husband do laundry, cleaning, ironing (I don't even own an iron and you cannot tell), please advise. If you refer to yourself as "Mrs. Joe Smith," why?

If you let your son wear a pink shirt, I like you. If you are reading this while your male partner is making dinner, I like you (and him). If you are reading this and your male partner is cleaning/feeding/cooking/baking, I love you even more. And if you are a female and you still have your maiden name (you know - the one your parents gave you - I like you lots. Unless your partner had a really cool name - like an Irish one.) And, if you are a man and you took your wife's last name - I totally approve.

So as I read "Sexual Enlightenment," let me preach that while some things have changed for us women, a lot has not. Even here in my little bubble of Liberal Madison.


  1. Like. It's pretty crazy how things still are. When Miriam was wearing a brown onesie with bears on it, I was told that my son was adorable and then asked how old she was. I answered with a "she", and the woman reassured me that babies should be able to wear whatever they want, and I shouldn't worry. :)

  2. Great post. I took my wife's last name, and our kids all have her last name. Having done this, I completely agree with you that we all need to question the tradition of women taking their husband's name and of using the title Mrs. upon marriage.

    We worked things out somewhat unusually. We originally kept our names when married. Then, when our first child came along, I stayed home and we agreed that he would have my wife's last name. Little did I realize how important that decision would be. When you're lugging around a baby, and are his dad, everyone calls you by his last name. At first, I always corrected people but as time went on (and as we had another son) I did this less and less. Finally, when I'd call doctor's offices and other contacts for the kids, I just identified myself by the kids' last name (i.e., my wife's not mine). Ten years ago, my wife became pregnant with our third child and we planned to move to another city, to follow her job. Since we were moving and starting out in a new city and state, I figured we'd make a new start, so I offered to take my wife's last name. She was somewhat mortified at first, but we eventually agreed to do it. She took my old last name as her new middle name. I got a lot of criticism from some people, but in the long run it's made things simpler.

    It's an unequal situation in that the name that defines you, for most reasons, is your last name and mine is the one that changed. It was hard on my male ego at first, but I've basically evolved over the years and am proud of it!