My mother is an extraordinarily strong woman, and I don’t say this as the cliché most kids say about their mothers, I say this as a fact that everyone who knows her claims. She has brought me and my brother up on her own from the mere ages of 5 months and 2 years respectfully and simultaneously done her Masters and then her Ph.D. I grew watching her have 2 jobs or 3 at times and we, almost always, had a warm dinner on our table. As a child, I clearly didn’t understand the vast energy needed to do all she did and I believed that it’s just the way MOM is. However, growing up I would realize the vastness and meaning of her lifestyle. The effect that her way of living has had on me is remarkable though. If I’m not working on something or doing what I deem meaningful, I’d feel lost and miserable…probably even abnormal. As such, my life has often been filled with activities and plans, little time and a lot of work. Not having a father figure left me confused as to how one deals with a situation when a man is involved. Who does what, where and when?!
Now, I’ve never been much of follower or admirer of social norms and ideas constructed for the convenience of people in power, but I’m surely intrigued as to how us women have come to the state we’re currently in. The manner in which women, especially in Kosovo (my country), believe that they have come a long way and that they are way better off than our grandmothers is compelling, to say the least.
Today most women, again – especially those in Kosovo but I’m not excluding many, finish their studies and get a job, yet come home and do everything else as well including cooking, cleaning, taking care of their children and much more. I do not claim that the latter are not to be done or are in any way discriminating, however, I do believe that doing both is a lot of responsibility put on the shoulders of one person, that usually being the woman.
I would not like to wander on the topic of gender roles as I have done so quite often in my 1st year in college, but I do want to make a point.
Women today are not way better off than women in the past who didn’t work to earn a living!
The perks of the so-called “independence” one is granted by having a job, are often dulled when looking at all the excessive responsibilities.
Ideally, I’d not have an 8 to 5 job and come back home to deal with anything. Personally, I’d love to read and write whenever it’s convenient for me while taking care of my child in the comfort of my home, waiting for my husband to come from work and tell me about his day (he does truly enjoy his job by the way). I realize how old-school that sounds and how I will probably not be able to live such a life because my drive and motivation, possible economic situation and itch for interaction with others won’t let me, but cut me some slack…I’m a dreamer of sorts.
I just need to put this out to the world, to tell people that this situation we’re in is not right and it certainly isn’t fair. I am honestly sick of mothers teaching their daughters to be proper and to take care of everything, yet teaching their sons to be taken care of. I don’t agree with women having to fulfill every single role they can and do well at home, work, with family, friends, children, and in outer space, to feel “normal” in our society. We can easily make the claim that most women don’t have only one job, and this is not like my mom’s case, this is when you could have it easier…but somehow society won’t let you.
However, I’ll illustrate the position of most men with the example of my aunt:
My aunt and her husband have been married for probably more than 40 years, and he is a highly knowledgeable and wise man. He retired from his job and decided to spend his summers in their village where they have a villa, cultivating juicy berries. In a better world, people would admire his life filled with fresh air and occupying himself with something so relaxing, but it turns out that whenever he’d go to the villa on his own, everyone felt bad for him because he survived on canned or reheated food. Now, people weren’t sorry that he didn’t have cooking skills, they were mainly sorry that he didn’t have someone to cook for him, his wife preferably.
I just feel that the idea that women today are in a better position of sophistication is an illusion. I believe that most women have stagnated in, if not lowered their standards as to how they should be treated or how they should treat themselves. Call me selfish or spoiled, but I certainly celebrate myself and want to be surrounded with people who treasure me for who I am and what I do, not feeling the need to overwhelm me to enjoy their life at my expense.
When my grandmother was young, her primary “job” was to take care of her children and cook for her family; today most women do the same and much more, they earn a living and sometimes they’re the key financial supporters of their household. However, men deal less with housework and if they occasionally do, they’re praised for it. I think that both cases are unfair and women are often stigmatized or wrongfully judged as “belonging in the kitchen”, “house-wife” (said in a judgmental manner), “fit for the EASY jobs”, etc. Initially, both women and men belong wherever they work for and decide to belong, and if you are dedicated and do your job well and without difficulty, it’s a “good job” rather than an “easy” job.
I want to end on a note to all people willing or claiming to protect their own rights and the rights of others:
Oppression is not the only cause of human rights’ violation, ignorance and arrogance violate human rights every day.