A conversation I have with some of my patients on a regular basis..
For me empowerment is about equality – about helping us humans recognise that we have more in common than we differ. It is about recognising, acknowledging and supporting each and every single human being to have the CHOICE, to have the same access to everything as everyone else does – regardless of anatomy, gender, sexuality, skin colour, nationality etc.
Recently I have been exploring feminism on a personal level, and what it means to empowered. I have noticed that language plays a hugely important role. Interviewers asking different questions depending on the anatomy of the interviewee (thinking about this clip
Feminism started a campaign of women can have it all – and now (in theory) they do – we can work full time, we can have children and a partner too, they are no longer mutually exclusive. HOWEVER, they are also expected to DO it all – so not only work a full time (insert career driven/successful/stressful job) but they are also still the primary care giver to their child(ren) AND are expected to manage the household. I hear women using phrases such as ‘och he’s great he HELPS me with dishes/cleaning/housework/” – Michael McIntyre did a whole line of jokes around how he ‘helped’ his wife with the housework (but didn’t do it ‘right’).. I’m sorry does he not live in the house and make a mess?
I am in a same sex relationship, so it was easy and logical for us to actually have a conversation around how chores, shopping, cooking, cleaning etc were divided – who’s taking responsibility for what – I’d say we are pretty 50/50 (not sure my wife would agree!).
But in heterosexual couples of MY age and younger, I still hear the phrase ‘help’: he ISN'T HELPING YOU – it is as equally his responsibility as it is yours and that goes for every single task that is required for running a household, a business, a family, a pet (all of it!). I also find it odd that should a couple split it is VERY rare that the dad takes 50% of the parenting responsibility – only taking the kids once a fortnight or something. (but that’s awholenother area not appropriate currently!)
Women are wearing themselves out trying to be all things to all people, all the while feeling guilty for NOT managing to do it ALL. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do it All – 8 hours at work (minimum), shop for Fresh food,x3 a day, cook said fresh foods, gym/exercise, meditation, quality family time (activities/games etc), personal development, professional development, homework for the kids, walking the dog etc etc etc, oh and don’t forget to get your 8 hours of sleep a night too!!!
We, as women, need to learn to say no – it’s not MY responsibility – it is OURS.
For me in order to create that choice we need equality: so, division of labour must be rethought.
Next time you catch yourself saying your partner HELPED you with a household task (including looking after the kids) change it up – if you hear a friend/family member saying it – challenge them, remind them the family home is a family responsibility.
My wife and I don’t use the phrase help, but we still acknowledge and show gratitude to each other for completed tasks – often, my wife is home before me, so she makes the dinner – and for no other reason!