Categories
Feminist Rants

Raise Your Standards

When my husband is feeling a bit melancholy and needs a reminder of how great he is, I tell him stories from my Facebook pregnancy group. They make him feel like Superman. Why? Because the bar of being a capable husband and father is set so low these days, he stubs his toe on it.

Don’t get me wrong, the stories aren’t uplifting. They’re sad. They’re stories of women who were told “I’m not celebrating you, you’re not MY mother” on Mother’s Day by the father of their children. It’s stories of women who were told to “harden up” during pregnancy, who were woken up in early labour by partners wanting dinner cooked. Women whose partners come home from work and spent hours gaming instead of participating in family life. Women whose partners say “I don’t know what to do with a baby” and who have changed three nappies in six months and gagged their way through it. Women with a 24/7 job who were expected to mind their tired partners who only worked 8/5.

It hurts to read these stories of regular, kind, hard-working women being neglected by the people who are supposed to love, understand and appreciate them best.

What the fuck, men?

Yes, I know, I know. Not ALL men! Of course not, but a significant percentage. Of course I know it’s not all men – I’m happily married to a beautiful example of a person who does all the cooking and easily half of the cleaning – he’s seen more with the vacuum than I am. He’s not whipped, he’s not manipulated – he just appreciates a clean house and understands that everyone who lives in a house is expected to maintain it. He’s not “helping” me by doing chores – they’re his chores too. 

Let’s be clear: plenty of my friends and plenty of women generally are partnered up with capable, considerate human beings. They are not the target of this post. They are great. 

These men I’m talking about, they don’t do shit. They’re getting a maid they can fuck for free. Why shouldn’t they do half the cleaning? It’s their house. Why shouldn’t they do half the childcare during the hours when they’re not at their job? It’s their children too? 

No one should be settling for less. No one.

Why do these men stagnate in their development? Why do they not look at a chore they’re bad at, like laundry, and go, “I’d like to not suck at this. I’d like to reach a minimum standard of cleanliness as a human being.”

So you can’t read the laundry tabs on a shirt, boys? Well here’s news: fucking no one fucking can. Those little icons are totally confusing. But did you know, you can just Google them? Amazing! Or if that’s too hard, just put your clothes in a warm wash with a lidful of detergent. You don’t know how to use your washing machine? Take notes as your partner graciously shows you. Or hell, READ THE MANUAL. Or, again, GOOGLE! We live in a world of immediate information. 

You’d be an absolute laughingstock with your mates if you don’t know how to start the lawnmower. Why is the washing machine any different?

Why do these men not bother to learn? Because they have someone doing it for them. For free. EVERY time.

Women, just STOP. Please, just stop. Stop babying them. They are functioning adults. They should be able to make their own food, clean their environment, and manage to meet their children’s needs without depending on you to tell them how to prepare their formula (it fucking SAYS IT ON THE FUCKING TIN OH MY GOD)

I teach my primary students to have a growth mindset, to know that learning new things never stops. That they’re smart and capable and can do anything they set their minds to.

Dudes who can’t clean a microwave: catch up for fuck’s sake. Otherwise she’s gonna leave your unwashed ass and you’re not going to know how to squeeze water out of the mop you’ll be using to wipe up your tears.

And please, let’s not let our sons leave for university without knowing how to do these things. Don’t leave this task to their future partners.

GRRRR ARGHHHH

Thank you for your time.

Categories
Feminist Rants

Don’t Change Your Maiden Name

When I got married, I changed my name.

I didn’t do it because of societal pressure, although believe me, there’s plenty of that out there. I had a few reasons.

This adorable lady doll is about to waste a lot of time filling out forms. The gentleman doll is going to do sweet F A.

Firstly, I liked my husband’s name. It sounded nice. It worked. I liked the idea of sharing that name with my future children.

Secondly, kids at school had trouble with my maiden name (ugh, that’s such a weird name for it. “Maiden” name. Is my married name my “crone” name?). My maiden name is Scottish and consonant-heavy. It’s not difficult or anything, but kids still stumbled.

Thirdly, I liked the idea of separating my writing from my teaching. My playwriting is all under my birth name. My teaching under my married name. A nom de plume! Boom, easy!

Or so I thought.

TURNS OUT THAT’S A FILTHY LIE.

Society pressures you to change your name, to conform, to fit in. Then it financially penalises you and you suffer for years, dragged into a legal pit of doom.

I got married in 2014. Seven years later, I still get asked for copies of my marriage certificate to prove I am who I say I am. Why? Because my degree and diploma are in my birth name. Because I thought I’d wait until my driver’s license and passport expired before renewing them. Because my job requires a police check every three years and needs documentation so you can be tracked under both names. Because despite changing your name being the norm for women, every government department is stunned that you’ve done it and requires proof that you’re not a dirty liar.

Side note: why do government departments not communicate with each other? Why can’t I just provide proof of identity to the IRD and have it automatically updated everywhere else? This also applies to changing my address. I can’t remember everywhere I need to update my details every time I need to move in this housing-insecure country. It’s really annoying.

It’s just such a catch-22. And no one talks about it. No one tells you that you’re going to have to pay for a new passport and driver’s licence and that you’re going to have to track down a Justice of the Peace to sign a million copies of your marriage licence so that you can prove your existence to your bank, government departments (who need to share information, dammit) and any school you want to work at. It’s a TRAP. It just follows you around, adding an extra layer of hassle and complexity anytime you need to do something official, like buy a house.

I chose to change my name. My husband didn’t pressure me – he was happy either way. If he had a hideously awkward or boring surname, he would’ve changed to mine. We would’ve hyphenated if both names together hadn’t been such a Scottish mouthful. I chose to do it. And I like my name – both my names. But I wish someone had told me what an utter rigamarole it is, because my ADHD means official forms are super frazzling and intimidating for me.

Oh, and I still need to update my licence. Maybe everything would’ve been easier if I’d done it all at once. But I was poor as a church mouse when I married, and documentation is EXPENSIVE.

So yeah, don’t change your name. Or if you do, don’t do it officially. Our society seems to want women to conform to the norm, but then punishes you financially for doing it.

Be a feminist. Save your money.