Andy Garland Interview – my bit is at 1.17 if you are interested This link will expire on the 27th July.
Today, I was interviewed by Andy Garland at BBC Radio Kent. One of my friends who was listening mentioned that she didn’t think the presenter warmed to me. I think it was when I said that Stay-At-Home Mums (SAHM) were very brave to put their eggs in one basket in the face of human fallibility. He said that I didn’t have much faith in man-kind, and I replied that it wasn’t that I was anti-men, but more pragmatic about the institution of marriage and male fidelity. Hagar agreed that I came across as a femininazi, and not a fan of the male gender.
I love men. They are my most favourite toys (joking!). I love their company and I love their conversation. I need men in my life and think they are the ying to the yang of life’s balance. When I was studying for my A-levels, my extended essay was based on an analysis of Collette Dowling’s, The Cinderella Complex and Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath. The essay centred on the idea that since the earliest scribings women ultimately fear independence, and have an unconscious desire to be looked after by others. I think the debate triggered by the Daily Mail that I discussed in my The Domestic Goddess Is A Feminist blog is central to this continuing battle that women fight internally with. This is their need to be protected so they can in turn nurture their children. I don’t think that these needs are unreasonable; but the evolution of the educated woman has meant that we now have the opportunity to taste knowledge and freedom, before we become incarcerated by marriage and children. Independence, education and income are very empowering and once you have enjoyed the fruits of all three, it can very hard to hand over the power cards, unless of course that you have the yearning to be looked after by another. Sometimes I want that too. Who wouldn’t want that comfort but, for me, when I take from the carer, or breadwinner, the price is too high to give and I want the freedom to make my own decisions in their entirety back.
A senior officer very carelessly said to me at bbq last summer, ‘ the problem we have nowadays is that we have educated the womenfolk and so they have become dissatisfied with just simply raising the children.’ A very bold statement indeed but not one that I necessarily disagree with it.
My issue is not that SAHM and the working mum are either right are wrong, but that this debate pitches women against each other in a world when we should support each other, our choices and our right to have these choices. I am not anti-men, but at the same time I am realistic about their failings. Nobody is perfect, this is not about perfection. I know men. I know what they are like. They are programmed differently to women, and as a gender they are more united then us – this is their strength. Only when women learn to accept our differences and look out for each others interests, even if we don’t agree with each others choices, will we be able to re-align the balance of equality that is still lacking in our society. This is the basis of feminism that I embrace. Feminism is not a dirty word – it is a form of solidarity. We just need to stop tripping each other up and unite. By the way, I am a caucasian, meat-eating, heterosexual, on occasion happily married to a man, with two kids (both his kids – that man to which I am married, which is the only man I have been married to), just in case you were thinking anything differently 😉