What if she wants to do it?

Last weekend I went up to a town called Blenheim, which is about four hour's drive from where I live (or seven hours on a damn train because our tracks s*ck so much that they bend if it's hot and the trains derail. I learned that one the hard way), to visit my big sister and brother up there for her fiancé's birthday party. It was a great weekend, and so good to see everyone up there, but a couple of things stood out to me that really bothered me about my sister’s relationship. She does everything. She does all the cooking, the cleaning, and the laundry, washes the cars, feeds the animals, takes him his lunch in her lunch break, writes to his family for him etc. Don’t get me wrong, he is a really good guy, he loves her and they have a nice relationship, but she does everything. I didn’t really know how to bring this up with my sister because I really did not want to be that member of the family who points out such things when everything seems to be going along nicely for them, but I have such strong feelings on these things that it took a lot of strength for me to sit back and watch this.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to bring up the subject myself, thanks to the 'Gilmore Girls!' We were sitting around the living room on the Sunday afternoon, the day after the party, we were all pretty tired and so my sister flicked on the television and we watched an episode of ‘Gilmore Girls’ together. In this one episode one of the girls was watching a old show on TV with her boyfriend, a show where the wife waits at the door, with dinner made and set, for her husband to walk in so she can take his coat and give him a drink (argh, and at the same time, despite working her butt off all day cleaning and doing job’s for him, she looks like she just came out of the salon), the two watching the show got into an argument about it with her boyfriend saying he thinks it is nice and it should be that way, and the girl disagreeing with him. As we sat there watching, I thought that would be a better time than ever to bring up how I feel about that and ask her about it, because I do know that sometimes I tend to start doing everything with out realizing it, and wondered if she just did not see what was happening in her relationship. So I asked her what she thought about their arguments. She said she thinks it is okay as long as the woman wants to do it, to which I replied with, but who really wants to be someone else’s slave? She said, “Well I do everything, because I want to, because if I leave it, it won’t get done, or won’t get done properly.” That does not stand out as her really wanting to do everything, to me. To me, that is just enabling men to keep women in such a role (even though my sister and her fiancé both work full time, she is a high school teacher and works more hours than he does). That is not a woman wanting to everything for her partner, that is his way of getting her to do it by acting as though she, being the woman, is just so much better at housework etc than him, that it just won’t get done if left to him. Is that not just what we get in the work force? Work twice as hard for half the pay that the male workers are getting? We let this happen in our own homes, and it doesn’t have to.

Are there really women out there who really, with all their heart want to be that wife on the TV? Maybe if that show showed what happens to millions of women who take that role, if things don’t get done when her husband gets home, then more women who get into relationships like my sisters would start to think about what they are doing to enable such a thing in their own small way. Changing attitudes like that start in the home, if so many women are running every single thing that happens in their households, then why are these attitudes not changing?