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Author Topic: If you were my mother, what would you want in this situation? (Update #17)  (Read 14870 times)

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WolfWay

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It's generally ingrained in women from day one of their lives that they are expected to be more responsible for certain family/social/domestic tasks. Women are socialised by their own family (male and female alike), by society, by the media, and other people around them to undertake these tasks automatically.

If you weren't raised to be the one in a marriage/relationship to be responsible for running a household (get the groceries, cook the meals, do the laundry, manage social events calendar, remember everyone's birthdays and get presents for them) on top of holding a fulltime job and raising children, then you're in the extreme minority and better off than the majority of women around the world from every culture.

I found this interesting. I don't disagree that for some women certain expectations are ingrained, but I don't think this is "right" and I absolutely was not raised to be the one in the marriage to be responsible for [insert whatever task]. I won't raise my daughter that way either. I want her to be a fully functioning and self-supporting person, and I want her eventual partner to be as well. I very much believe in personal responsibility, and expect it of those I am close to.
I can't quite figure out from context if by "I don't think this is "right"" you're saying you think I'm factually wrong about what I said, or that the experience of many woman having to do this emotional/mental is itself ethically wrong.

Either way, I never said it was the way things should be. I said it is the way things are, right now, for literally billions of women around the world.  From personal experience, observation and the experience voiced by many many woman, it's not just some women, it's the overwhelming majority of them. I've been raised in a country with very strong cultural expectation of gender roles, I see it played out everyday in people around me, and I see those roles played out over and over again in western media as well.

I understand that it's not your personal experience, and I'm very happy that some women are not raised subject to this expectation, but just because that's not your experience doesn't make it true for the majority of women from a wide variety of cultures.

I can fend for myself, and when I have been single at various times in my life I have handled 100% of life's tasks. My partner can also fend for himself and when he has been single he has handled 100% of the life's tasks. My parents shared responsibilities, and now that we are married I share responsibilities with my husband. Tasks are absolutely not split down gender lines. My husband does all of the grocery shopping and cooking. I do laundry. We share cleaning and other home maintenance. We each manage our own social calendars and care for our own children (we each came into the marriage with our kids), although we help each out as requested. My DH handles "stuff" involving his family, and I handle "stuff" involving mine.

I guess my point is that we can break the cycle of "ingrained expectations" if we want to.

You seem to be stating that women saddled with this emotional labour have gotten themselves into this situation and it's their own fault for staying in that situation.

For many it's not a conscious choice they're even aware they make to do this, it's just such an overwhelming background reality of their existence they don't realise that there is another way to do things. To them it is how the world is and that's the end of the subject. Blaming those subjugated women for their own subjugation isn't fair on them. They have fundamentally different upbringings, fundamentally different educations, fundamentally different relationships with their families. For many of them, refusing to do their share of things can result in verbal abuse, or even outright violence. Women have been killed by their husbands for not having supper on the table on time (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/man-kills-wife-for-not-cooking-chicken-livers-20160308) . To say these women are weak or to blame these women for not standing up for themselves when it might cost them their lives isn't right.

Getting back to the OP, it appears she is breaking the cycle. The expectations of the OP appear to be coming from the OP herself, and not from her brother. The brother may not be overly thoughtful in the ways the OP wants him to be, but for all of the brother's faults, "expecting" the OP to do things for him is not among them, as far as I can tell.
I agree. The OP herself has said she's accidentally ended up training him to rely on her to cover for him. I'm very curious to see if when he's left to handle things himself he will rise to the occasion. 

Either way, I'll shut up now. I've dragged this far enough off topic. Sorry for that.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 11:52:08 PM by WolfWay »
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miranova

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It's generally ingrained in women from day one of their lives that they are expected to be more responsible for certain family/social/domestic tasks. Women are socialised by their own family (male and female alike), by society, by the media, and other people around them to undertake these tasks automatically.

If you weren't raised to be the one in a marriage/relationship to be responsible for running a household (get the groceries, cook the meals, do the laundry, manage social events calendar, remember everyone's birthdays and get presents for them) on top of holding a fulltime job and raising children, then you're in the extreme minority and better off than the majority of women around the world from every culture.



I guess my point is that we can break the cycle of "ingrained expectations" if we want to.

Well, sort of.  I can raise MY children to be responsible for their own affairs, and I'm doing that to the best of my ability.  I will never get mad at my son's future wives if I don't receive a birthday present.  But there is nothing I can do about the previous generations and the expectations that they still have of me. My husband forgot to acknowledge his dad on Father's Day (I had actually reminded him just to be nice and helpful but I refused to nag so I didn't remind him twice) and I 100% guarantee you that my MIL is badmouthing me from here to Sunday.  I mean, unless she has magically changed from my previous interactions with her, she will see that as MY failing and will never, ever bring it up with her son.

And I can choose not to care, which is what I'm doing, but that doesn't make relations with my MIL easy.  She and I will never be close, because I'm not meeting her expectations, in many ways.  Most of those ways have to do with how I'm "supposed" to behave as a DIL, which is completely different from what she expects from her sons.

Quite frankly TurtleDove, you are coming across of very dismissive of anything you personally don't have to deal with.  This is a reality for many, many women.  I am truly glad for you that you don't have to deal with it, but pretending it's no big deal isn't very empathetic.  Or accurate.

TurtleDove

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Quite frankly TurtleDove, you are coming across of very dismissive of anything you personally don't have to deal with.  This is a reality for many, many women.  I am truly glad for you that you don't have to deal with it, but pretending it's no big deal isn't very empathetic.  Or accurate.

I wouldn't say I don't have to deal with expectations that I find inappropriate. I just don't value the judgments of the people who try to "hold me accountable" in ways I find inappropriate. I don't send out holiday cards, and I am not a room mother at my child's school, and I do not [insert whatever some people might think I should do for my husband or because I am a woman], and I know for a fact various people think I am failing for not doing those things. I disagree, and am happy with how I conduct my life, so those people can have their opinions and it does not matter to me. That's all I am saying. Getting back to the OP, it sounds like she is coming to the decision that she will stop holding herself responsible for her brother, and I applaud that if it is right for her!

EllenS

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I think it can be very tricky to try to flip back and forth in a discussion between hearing/validating each other's individual lived experiences and chosen attitudes, versus the larger perspective of hearing/validating widespread or common experiences.

I often get irritated with articles or discussions that say, "all women have felt..." or "all women do..." because they do not often reflect my life. On the one hand, I know those things are real, and very mainstream. On the other, it's easy to feel like, "what am I, not a woman because I don't feel/do X?"

Sometimes we talk about the world and the big picture, and sometimes we talk about our own lives, which may not fit the mold. I don't think either perspective is inherently dismissive or disrespectful.

And if someone is chafing under the pressure of "the mold" it can be encouraging to hear what life looks like without it.