This society is faulty, can we return it?

Honestly there is so much wrong with it that I hardly know where begin.

I think the best bet is if I attempt to remain on topic for this blog and talk about things that I have at least some experience with.

Yes you guessed it feminism and the subtle misogyny and inequality that is so pervasive within society that it is seen as normal.

There are examples of this all over the place, but I am going to talk about a couple that have come up in my life recently, and I am going to attempt not to go on a generalised feminist rant.

No promises, but I am going to at least try to be focused and suchlike!

I am going to start with a seemingly unrelated story about how we are trying to move house. I am not going to go into the full saga, that would sidetrack me far too much and is probably a story for another post…

Anyway, we are moving house and part of the reason for this is that the workshop Mark has been renting on a friends farm is soon going to become unavailable and we are going to need somewhere to house vehicle lifts and lots of tools / welders (the machine not the person) / supplies / all sorts of things you would find in a workshop and a vehicle restoration one. That along with all the machine tools (lathes etc) we have here and the gym equipment and such has made us look at what sort of property we really need. We talked about it and made a list of exactly what things were essential in our new house and amongst the things we came up with were:

  • House we can live in (not a start again project)
  • Barn / buildings we can put workshop stuff / vehicles in
  • Enough buildings or house room that we can put gym / craft studios in
  • Other things that are not relevant here like views and nice areas and such like.

The exact contents of the list is irrelevant, the point is that we decided together what our priorities were, both of us, together! To cut a long story short and to bring this back to the point, we found a house and it looks like this:

I did steal the photos from zoopla so they aren’t great, but it has a massive barn and several other buildings which make it perfect for what we want. So, my husband was showing these pictures to some of the guys he works with and their immediate and fairly universal response was:

How did your wife let you get away with that?

This, I am happy to say confused my husband, and he replied with words to the effect of “we decided together, there is no “let” in this situation we both want these things…”

He then relayed this story to me and I was confused, I am not “that” different from most people am I? It made me think, about stereotyping within relationships and the way people talk about their partners. This is particularly done by men, but many women are not innocent of this. I am talking about phrases like:
“I got a free pass from the wife to go out tonight”
“I’d love to do whatever, but Wife name wouldn’t let me”
“How do you get away with having that car”
“I have to hide Whatever purchase from my husband or he’ll go mad”
wife name doesn’t like that sort of holiday so we have to do what she wants”
“I can’t wait to spend time away with the boys/girls for a break from Other half name
“we don’t go out / on holiday on our own we have nothing to talk about”

The list goes on and on, and every time I hear people saying things like this I think, are you talking about your chosen partner here, or someone you barely like?

There are worse examples than this when men refer to their wives and girlfriends as nags or talk about how they aren’t allowed to do things or even worse talk about their looks or weight or refer to them in stereotypical terms “her indoors” “ball and chain” etc

I think you get the idea, I am not very good at thinking of examples because it doesn’t happen in my life…

It seems to be a societal norm for married couples and heterosexual couples in general to be seen as (or to treat each other as) rivals rather than partners. It seems to be normal and even funny to talk about a wife as someone who puts an end to the man’s fun. They are considered to be people who just want to control and dictate everything that a man does. There seems to be a large proportion of men who don’t seem to like women at all, not even women that they have chosen to spend their lives with. They want the women to make pretty homes for them and provide children for them (although they may not like these either) but they don’t actually seem to want to spend time with them or have conversations with them. They seem to love complaining to their friends that they are not allowed out or not allowed to do this or that fun thing. It’s as if they never grew past the stage of the women in their life being a mother!

The strange thing about this is that these things are so normal within society that if you question it, you are seen as the odd one. It is seen as strange to have a person in your life that you make joint decisions with, a person who you actually like talking to and going on adventures with.

The even stranger thing is the men who are making these statements would (mostly) claim they are not sexist at all. That of course they see their wife as equal. It’s a strange pervasive sort of misogyny that is held up by men in all walks of life, just by not challenging it if not by actually making these statements themselves. Women in these relationships have a part to play too, if you aren’t challenging these ideals then you are complicit. If you are content to let your person consider you a mother figure or a fun stealer then you are not helping either. The thing that none of these people realise is that marriage and relationships are not competitive. You don’t compete to see who gets their dream house and who has to put up with it. If only one of you is “winning” this sort of decision then in the long run you are both going to lose!

[Sidenote: I am talking here fairly exclusively about heterosexual relationships because they are the ones I have experience of and it is generally speaking only people in heterosexual relationships who say these kinds of things (to me at least). I’d be happy to hear other perspectives!]

This was not the only example of entrenched misogyny that I was going to talk about.
I was going to talk about the horrendous way men seem to (even now) think it is ok to talk about women in terms of looks and body parts.
I was going to talk about the assumption that men have that women do things to themselves (dye hair, exercise, put on make up or not etc) purely for the titillation of and to attract the interest of men (news flash…we don’t and it isn’t your business)
I was going to talk about the tendency of men to only consider women in terms of what they are to men (someone’s sister/daughter/wife/mother) rather than who they are in their own right.
I was going to talk about the belief within society that women are not worth anything if they are not mothers…
(actually that last one is huge and needs a post of it’s own)

But I seem to have used more words than I planned already so I am going to leave it at that.

Well more or less that, I just want you to think what you are saying, and if you ever catch yourself blaming your wife / husband for spoiling fun or not letting you do things I want you to challenge it and yourself to work out if it is really true or just internalised (or externalised) misogyny and societal conditioning!

By Sam Catchpole

She/They | Aspiring Strongperson, Photographer, Artist, Writer,

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