Thursday, April 28, 2022

I Buy A Dress; I Consider Smashing The Patriarchy

 I do not have one picture to show you today. And I'm not sure why. I even went to town and saw Jessie and Levon. Jessie's birthday is Sunday and I took her for a little birthday shopping. We went to the World Market and she got a few small things and so did I. It's been so very, very long that I was even in a store like that and it's as if I had completely forgotten that one can indeed buy cute and functional things for the house. At first I was completely overwhelmed thinking that I should buy everything from darling cards, to shelves for plants, to roomy baskets, to pretty hooks to hang things on. 
What I did buy was a new dress and a coffee mug. The dress is too sheer to wear off the property without a slip-like garment under it but it has nice pockets and it is all cotton, loose and as comfy as wearing a cloud. So there! 
We had a nice lunch at a Mediterranean place and enjoyed our dolmades and falafel and so forth. Levon got chicken nuggets and french fries which probably are not authentic Mediterranean foods but he enjoyed them. He was a hoot today. When I walked into their house I said something to him- I can't remember what- and he said, "I am not even believing you."
"I'm not even believing you either," I said. 
And it went from there. 

I stopped by Publix on my way home to buy the ingredients for meat balls. Gibson is spending the night tomorrow and that is what he wants me to cook him. Spaghetti and meat balls. We've had chicken spaghetti twice this week already but we will gladly eat more tomorrow for our Gibson. I told him that his grandfather would have to pick him up because I'll be doing the school pick-up and babysitting for August and Levon tomorrow as Jessie is working and he was totally cool with that. "Oh, Boppy and I will probably just play Oculus," he said. So when I got home I made up the meatballs and cooked them so at least that will be done when I get home. 

I went to Lily's new Publix and my check-out lady is a woman who used to work with Lily at her old Publix but she moved to this one quite awhile ago. We discussed Lily's move and how they used to work together and so forth and she asked me if I worked. 
Now this lady is from India and she must be at least in her upper seventies. I have always thought of her with the hugest respect. She started out as a bagger at Publix which is a pretty physical job and her English then was adequate, but not great. Whenever I meet someone who has immigrated to our country, especially an older person, who is now making a new life in a country so alien to them and who is having to learn a new language and new customs and...well- all of it...I am awed at their bravery, their strength, their determination. To me, these are the very people we should want to live here. And this lady is such a good example of that. 
I always feel a bit of guilt when I go through her line because of how she has made her place here and is surviving with her own work and intelligence, despite her age and the so-obvious difficulties, and when she asked me if I worked, my guilt tripled. 
Of course, of course I "work" but it's all on my own terms, and generally within my own timeframe. If I were presented with being in a situation like hers, I really do not know how I'd survive. So I answered her as I generally do when I am asked about working which is to say that I help sometimes with grandchildren and that we have a garden and chickens and I keep busy with things like that and that is all true but it's not like I'm plowing fields or managing a flock of chickens that we depend on for meat and eggs. Looking at it all through a certain lens, my "work" is almost a hobby. 
I think about this a lot and always have as I have mostly been a "stay-at-home" mom although looking back, I did generally have some little side-hustle of work going on and with four children spread out so far in age, I am not sure how I managed to do it all. But because nothing but the small part-time jobs paid anything, and they did not pay much, I have never truly felt as if what I did or what I now do, is worth a damn. 
I know this isn't true but lately I've been thinking a great deal about how our society still deems women as a little less-than men. We women internalize that to a degree that is actually quite unhealthy, even in the best of circumstances. There are so many residual side-effects of this born-in-the-bone teaching and belief that we do not even think about. Do not even realize. 
And speaking for myself, at least, I am absolutely a victim of this patriarchal thinking and it does not serve me at all. 

I find it mind-blowing that it has taken me all of these years to see how these issues affect all women- and men! It is so much more complicated and profound than "equal pay for equal work" or any of the issues we think of as "feminist" still. It is how women perceive themselves and the work they do and what their own worth is. 

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about today. 
It is certainly worth considering.

Thoughts? And please- none of us needs to hear the trite lip-service that women and mothers have been paid forever about the many glories that only women can experience. We have heard it before. We know. We know. 

I also know that it is 2022 and here in America, at least, and specifically in states like Florida, we are being told once again that we do not even own our own bodies. 

I am old, I am tired. And there is so much work to be done. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I've often thought that the older immigrant women (mostly from South of our border) are my favorite people to meet at the school where I work. The abuelas who only speak Spanish and a little bit of bad English (that's still way better than my smattering of Spanish) are some of the most warm, hardworking, and most of all courageous women I know. I can't even imagine doing what they have done; moving to a strange country, not knowing the language, and surviving by their will and willingness to work hard and move forward.

    As to women in the US and our control over our own bodies...this stuff keeps me awake at night. I can't believe we still have to fight for basic human freedoms in the year 2022. Will it ever end? Sometimes I feel like we're living in the Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan of two or three decades ago. It's scary and infuriating.

  2. I have always been a feminist, but as my awareness of the problem with the patriarchy grows I become incoherent with anger. My parents, although playing traditional roles, were very egalitarian. I was oldest of four sisters followed by two brothers. We sisters helped move furniture. My brothers did the dishes and cooked. Yet the patriarchy seeps in. I could go into detail on how it has affected me, but I become incoherent with anger. And most girls and boys and women and men aren't as fortunate as we kids were, and if I ponder that I become incoherent with anger.

    I never have been so angry as I have the last 5 years.

    I have always admired the people with the bravery and fortitude to immigrate. I am a wimp compared to them.

  3. I'm angry that we're still fighting the same old fights, still. I've always worked at paid work, sometimes supporting us, sometimes sharing the expenses.
    But I still don't think that only work that pays money is work. I got very hot under the collar with a friend who said her grandmother, who had a large family and no help, primitive appliances, if any " never worked a day in her life." Said by a childless high paid techie. I had a word to say about that.

    But there is something to be said for the sense of worth and importance that come with responsible paid work, particularly when it involves directing other people's work. I can't deny that.

  4. I raised two children, sent them to college, bought two houses, marched against two wars. But only a month ago, though I restrained myself from collapsing in tears, I did tell my daughter I was sorry for the world I was leaving her; that contrary to my expectation of my effort and that of all my sisters, we have not reformed the patriarchy, nor made the slightest dent in the world.

  5. I don't know why we can't acknowledge that the work that women do matters, doesn't matter if it's at home or at a work place. A lot of women take care of others, children, spouses, parents, friends, grandparents and even strangers. Caregiving is a valid use of time. It's important. It matters.

    There was a woman in Edmonton who was pushed onto the LRT tracks at 8pm the other night. She was a 78 year old woman who had just finished her shift as a porter at the university hospital and was waiting for the train. She's an immigrant and still taking care of her family.

  6. I dislike how women are thought to be less than men and how that is reflected in the pay checks. It certainly isn't fair. And when men stay home and do all the things women do, why do they get praised so highly for it? He cooks, cleans, does laundry and changes the nappies, woo-hoo! Big deal. It's as if he is somehow "sacrificing" himself, doing "women's work."
    I was a stay at home mum too for several years, until my youngest started school, then I went back to work to "help out" because we seemed to be always short of money. Even with me working full time, we were still "short of money", because hubby was gambling and I hadn't known.

  7. I wish our society could let go of all gender-based expectations -- both for how people should behave and how they should be valued (and value themselves). I think humanity is letting go of this stuff slowly but surely, which seems to terrify conservatives, but it sure is taking a long time and a lot of inequality and unfairness persists.

    As for women controlling their bodies -- I am often mystified that so many women (and of course plenty of men) support anti-abortion legislation. I see them at rallies and wonder what the heck they're thinking.

  8. I'm with Susan from the Pacific... Angry. I went through life convincing myself it wasn't all that bad. I believe now at 70 that's what both allows a lot of women to get through their lives but also what allows the inequities to continue. I'm also afraid that the gains made in the past 50 years are being eyed resentfully and attempts to claw them back have just started.

  9. I may be stoned (with stones!) for my patriarchal (lusty old man) thinking but I prefer to see women in sheer dresses without any slip-like undergarments beneath. OW!.... OUCH!... HELP!.... THAT HURT!.... OKAY, I'M SORRY!

  10. My husband was telling me that he's been working with one of the greatest members of his company's HR. Husband has several women who have earned promotions to leadership positions. He's eager to get them to the next level. The HR person explained to him that when men read a job description, they see a few things on it that they feel they can do and a couple that they have experience in and then they decide, "Sure. I can do this job. I'm going for it." Women on the other hand see a few things they feel they can do and then dismiss them. Worse, women tend to see a single thing or two on a job description that they haven't had experience with, and they say, "Nope. Can't apply for this position. I'm not qualified. They won't choose me for this promotion." It's going to take deep systemic changes to make progress on this kind of equality. Like you say, it's deep in the mindset and stems from the culture.

  11. I never bought into that whole women are less than men patriarchal bullshit. (I've given this a lot of though and have decided that in my many countless lives I must incarnate male more than female or maybe female more than male and am totally fed up with the bullshit.) My mother counseled me after beating all the neighborhood boys at some game that I should let the boys win because they didn't like it when a girl beat them. I rolled my eyes. No way that's gonna happen. All my boyfriends got the same speech at the beginning...I don't do double standards, what you think is good for you is good for me, also, you are not the boss of me. I never doubted my ability to do anything if it was something I wanted to do. I suppose I was a feminist before it became a thing and a social movement.

  12. I was a stay at home mom while my 5 kids were young and I started working part time when they were in school. I worked in school libraries so their schedule was my schedule too. I got a full time job when they went to college. When I asked for a divorce from my husband after 33 years of marriage, he felt that it was HIS money and HIS house and all HIS stuff because he had been the full time worker all those year. But I fought him on that and got my half.

  13. One morning recently I listened to the radio while cleaning the oven top and it was a discussion on the fate of an elected member of my government, a woman who had to resign from her post as minister for families and whatnots because she had gone on a family vacation despite pressing work commitments. This happens, maybe a lousy decision on her part. What made me shout at the oven top and the radio was the general assumption that obviously all women always have this inbuilt between-work-and-family struggle as if it was some "female thing" and I swear within seconds the blame was laid, suddenly it was "all" women regardless of whether there are kids, husbands/partners, male bosses, work structures, whatever. Not a word was uttered about fathers BTW.

  14. Tim and I are working together on a renovation. When we stop for lunch, we walk home, he goes to the living room and puts his feet up and waits for me to fix lunch. We eat lunch. I clean up. Then we go back to work after our 'break'.

    It was a little shocking how quickly we fell into this routine.

    It was bullshit. I said so. We have sandwiches for lunch now, and while I'm making them, he empties the dish strainer from last night's dishes.

    What we do about that world view of that, I dunno, but I can make sure that it does not fly in my house.

    1. PS Did you read Stuart Riordan's obituary?

  15. We were poor when I was growing up (but so was everyone else) and my parents were very egalitarian. Mom told me she was shocked when as a very young girl I told her I would never be financially dependent on a man! I have no idea where this came from because, as I say, my parenty were very egalitarian. I guess I just saw those girls from my generation having a couple of kids in their teens and then either raising them alone or becoming "stuck" with the eejit that fathered those children and having no escape. That was NEVER going to be me. And yet, and yet I would have loved to have stayed home when my kids were little. It wasn't to be because I had the greater earning power and expat benefits and in the end I can only thank God that it worked out that way as I was able to buy my ex out of the home when he did a runner!


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.