I am a feminist (which according to Pat Robertson means that I and all my gay friends are responsible for 9-11, sorry). I am friends with many feminist of both genders. And yet, even amongst my friends and family members I continue to pick up on hypocritical comments and sentiments.
I have seen men ask their wives for a refill as they sit on the couch with company and she cleans the kitchen or cares for the children. No one in the room takes note or seems to find anything odd about the situation. I have also witnessed women ask their husbands or boyfriends for a refill while they are getting themselves one. The comments that often following include words and phrases like whipped and you know who wears the pants in that relationship. Everyone chuckles and no one seems alarmed.
And yet, I find myself alarmed. This happens often. If I tell Mr. Neruda to do something or that I would like to do something I am often seen as a nag or a difficult woman to live with. When he tells me to do something or that he would like to do something he is seen as a good leader, strong man, or the proper head of his household.
I know families that sing the equality tune. However. come meal-times for a large number of people, the mom cooks for everyone and then does all the dishes herself afterwards. Neither her or her husband thinks anything about it. Neither do most of their guests.
All of these overlooked inequalities bother me, a lot. But then I find myself caught up in them. For the first 4 1/2 years of our marriage, Mr. Neruda and I always drove the same way. Mr. Neruda in the driver's seat and myself in the passenger seat. However, Mr. Neruda hates driving and I hate how he drives. We would argue a good portion of each journey. It was irritating. Then, thankfully, one day it occurred to me that he hates to drive and I hate how he drives, so why does he? I don't mind driving and he doesn't really have a problem with how I drive. For a few months now I have been the designated driver and our trips have been quite pleasant.
I am under the impression that our driving situation was arranged because of a preconceived idea that boys drive and girls ride. This makes me sad, but how Mr. Neruda and I continue to consciously buck the system makes me glad. I am happy to be the primary bread winner in our house currently. I am happy that my husband is a man-ny for our niece.
Preconceived societal gender roles, I bite my thumb at you.