I Am A Feminist. Not A Humanist.

Let me begin this discussion by saying that I am a feminist. I support and believe in feminism. I think that feminism is extremely important and multi-layered, and that supporting feminism works in the favour of women, men, and gender non-conforming people everywhere. And, by extension, I believe that everyone should identify as a feminist as well.

Not everyone agrees with me. And I’m not just talking about your typical overt misogynist who believes that all women should be barefoot and pregnant and all men should be burly, tough-guy, macho-men lacking emotion.

In 2014, actress Shailene Woodley, who has in the past discussed women’s issues, caused controversy when she refused to call herself a feminist. When asked by Time Magazine if she considered herself a feminist, she said, “no because I love men”. She then continued on to say, “my biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism”. This then prompted many to ask, does she even know what feminism is? After all, the dictionary definition of feminism is, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. Loving or hating men has nothing to do with it; it isn’t about that. It’s about equality, by nature.

But who cares about the dictionary definition, right? As anyone who has studied linguistics can tell you, the definition of words has a tendency to shift and change over time (fun fact: the word ‘awful’ originally meant something more akin to ‘awesome’). So is it possible that what Woodley is reacting to here is a shift in what feminism means? Because she isn’t the only woman who appears to believe in equal rights between the genders, and yet doesn’t identify as a feminist.

Actress Susan Sarandon, for example, has stood up for women’s reproductive rights and other human rights issues over the years, and yet she will not call herself a feminist. Instead, she refers to herself as a ‘humanist’, saying that she finds it “less alienating to people who think of feminism as a load of strident bitches”. And she is not the first woman (or individual, more generally) who I have heard come up with other terms for supporting equal rights, like “humanist” or “equalist”.

And yet, I still call myself a feminist. And I still fully believe that everyone should identify as a feminist. And why?

Well, first of all, I want to get the least important issue out of the way first: humanism is already a thing. It has nothing to do with gender equality, but rather takes a more human-centric view of the world, as opposed to a more theological view.

There. And now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about feminism more specifically.

Feminism is a movement that has fallen under a lot of criticism, and a lot of these criticisms are the reason why some women have chosen to distance themselves from it.

For example, let’s return to Susan Sarandon’s claim that feminism is “alienating”. Why is it alienating? Well, perhaps the reason for that is the prefix – “fem”, meaning woman. There are many people out there who have asked that, if feminism is truly for everyone, then why is it called “feminism”? Shouldn’t it be something more inclusive?

Well… no. No, I don’t think it should be.

Why is it called “feminism”? Because the sort of equality that feminism fights for is an incredibly gendered type of equality – so, of course, it makes sense that the name for the movement would refer to gender. And not only any gender, it refers to the female gender, which is the one that has, historically, been most obviously harmed by gender inequality.

That isn’t to say that the patriarchy doesn’t harm men. It does. But generally speaking, it is women who have been more overtly shunned, marginalized, and looked down upon because of it. Changing the name so that it doesn’t refer to women anymore ignores this history and cultural context.

And, I would argue, it is because of the patriarchy that many men feel uncomfortable identifying with a movement that refers to women in its very name. The patriarchy, after all, always presents femininity as something vapid, stupid, and lesser. Men are encouraged to cast off their feminine side, while women are mocked and belittled, creating a culture where the majority of insults that are thrown at men refer to them as, somehow, feminine – sissy, queer, girl, etc. Of course men don’t want to identify as feminists, if feminist means woman and women are inferior.

But it is exactly this kind of mentality that feminism is trying to fight. So changing the name so that men feel less alienated sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? We are trying to create a culture where men would feel absolutely no shame in being a feminist, even if it does contain the prefix ‘fem’. After all, there is nothing wrong with being a woman, and there is nothing wrong with supporting women.

As famed feminist scholar bell hooks once said, “feminism is for everybody”.

But part of this distance from the term is born from a bit more than that, as well. Generally speaking, feminism has been accused of plenty of unsavoury things – such as man-hating, or trying to strip men of their masculinity, and therein lies Shailene Woodley’s comment that she isn’t a feminist because she doesn’t hate men.

And to argue against this, I am tempted to return to the dictionary definition, as many feminists before me have done. But, as I pointed out before, the dictionary definition means little, doesn’t it? So, instead, I’m going to focus on what feminism has actually done.

Recently, feminists have been involved in such movements as #metoo and #timesup, both of which deal with supporting victims of sexual assault or harassment. Feminists have been fighting for women’s right to reproductive health, fighting rape culture, and combating the wage gap. Some of this might indirectly relate to men, but for the most part, the focus is on women. And even when men are considered in feminism, it is usually in an attempt to better their lives as well – allow men the chance to explore their emotions, move away from toxic outlets for masculinity such as violence, and admit to vulnerability when they have been hurt or victimized.

In fact, feminists have been trying to distance themselves from this image of man-hating for years now. As actress and feminist Emma Watson once said, “The more I have spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”

Feminists have been dismissed as ‘feminazis’, and yet nowhere in the world, at any point in history, have men been forced into concentration camps by evil feminists. So why do we live with these assumptions?

Well, I, for one, am tempted to side with the argument that dismissing feminists as ‘man-haters’ is, quite simply, a way to dismiss the movement en masse. It is a way to say that what we fight for doesn’t matter, that it isn’t true equality. But I disagree; I have never seen anything, in all my years of identifying as a feminist, that indicates that the entire movement, en masse, does not desire equality.

Now, that isn’t to say that all feminism is created equal. As I mentioned before, feminism is a complex, multi-layered issue, and there are many different types of feminists. There are intersectional feminists, radical feminists, liberal feminists, and so on and so forth (for the record, I tend to aim toward intersectional feminism). I do encourage you to read up on the differences between all these theories in your own time (many of these differences are related to arguments about what equality means, and who women should strive to be equal to, which is much too intricate a discussion for me to begin here). But the simple fact that feminism is such a complex issue, with such extensive history and intense academic research put into it proves to me that it is not a movement to be discarded so easily. This is a movement with a solid groundwork, with so much history and importance, that it seems sort of ridiculous to just cast all that aside in an attempt to distance ourselves from some made-up criticisms that don’t even truly reflect what the movement is.

Historically speaking, feminism, as an umbrella movement, has been the term that we use to refer to the fight for gender equality. It is a term that states that there is nothing wrong with being a woman. It is a term that states that men should be comfortable with the feminine, and women should be allowed to inhabit spaces that have traditionally been reserved for the masculine. It is a term that is backed up by history and culture and academic research, all with the intent of creating a more equal, loving, and accepting society.

To quote Maya Angelou, “I am a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”

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Why Men Need to Discuss Gendered Violence

Women’s issues have been discussed much more prominently in our society lately.

We recently saw the #metoo movement take place, followed by the #timesup movement. Celebrities have been showing their support for these issues, while many other celebrities have been discussing their own issues surrounding sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape culture, and the wage gap.

And that’s all great; we should be talking about this. But there is another side to all this that we should be talking about as well.

For the most part, this discussion has been focusing on the women’s side of the matter (or, at the very least, the victims of sexual abuse and harassment). And though we’ve outed a few of the perpetrators and punished them (minimally), we haven’t really been discussing the perpetrators all that much.

And, on the one hand, I get it; women need to know that they aren’t alone. We as a society need to understand that these issues are prevalent, that they still exist, that there are battles that need to be fought. We need to know that we aren’t alone.

And at the same time, we need to stop this from happening ever again. And giving women a voice and the confidence to speak up when it does happen is a beautiful thing that should not be underestimated, but that won’t stop it from happening in the first place. And if we are ever going to reach a place of equality, we need to stop this from happening in the first place.

And how are we going to do that?

Well, to begin, we are going to have to talk about who the perpetrators in these issues are.

Sexual assault and harassment is typically discussed as a gendered issue, although there are some who have taken offence to that. After all, despite this pervasive myth in our society that men cannot be raped, it does happen, and it happens more frequently than you might think. Approximately 3% of American men will be the victim of either an attempted or a completed rape at some point in their life, and when men are raped, they face very different problems from female rape survivors.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that this remains a gendered issue.

Although men are raped, women are eleven times more likely to be the victims of sexual offences than men are. Women make up 92% of victims of police-reported sexual offences, and when they are assaulted, they are more like to sustain injuries than men are (25% of women compared to 15% of men).

And, more important to what we’re discussing, 99% of the perpetrators are men.

And, I know, I know, half of my readership just tuned out. Nobody likes to feel accused of something that they feel that they are innocent of. I am not trying to say that all men are rapists. But I don’t think that we can ignore the fact that the vast majority of rapists are men. I think that this is something that we should discuss if we are going to get to the root of why this issue exists in our society.

And I’m not the only one who has suggested this before.

Scholar Jackson Katz, for example, has gone forward and said that gender-related violence should not be treated as a women’s issue, but rather, as an issue that involves us all, in one way or another. “Calling gender violence a women’s issue is part of the problem,” argues Katz. “It gives a lot of men an excuse not to pay attention.”

In other words, if we discuss sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any type of gender-related violence as a women’s issue, then it gives men an excuse for ignore their part in all of it. And men have a part in this.

But why are the majority of rapists men? Why are there not more female rapists? What can this possibly mean?

Are men just naturally more predatory than women? Is a man’s natural state to be a rapist?

Well, no. I don’t believe this, and neither does Jackson Katz.

Katz argues that the reason why men become violent toward women – the reason why men objectify women, overly sexualize women, catcall women, and so on and so forth – is because we live in a society that normalizes all of this.

We live in a society that encourages men toward violence to prove their masculinity. We live in a society where many of our most iconic male fictional characters solve their problems by punching people and forcing things to go their way through brute strength. We live in a society where romantic comedies argue that when a woman says “no”, what she really means is, “keep harassing me until I change my mind”. We live in a society where men are not allowed to be emotional, or talk about their feelings, or come forward when they’re dealing with aggression or mental health issues, meaning that there are many men who do not know how to deal with their emotions or the emotions of others in a healthy manner.

And when all of this is normalized to us and we are not encouraged to think critically about it, then we just accept it. And not only do we accept it; we enforce it.

And if we are going to end this issues – truly end them, not just talk about them and raise awareness about them – then men are going to need to get involved. Men are going to have to look at their own role in this issue, and ask themselves whether or not they have ever harassed or assaulted a woman (or a man). Men are going to have to challenge their ideas of violence and assertiveness being connected to masculinity, as well as this idea that having emotions is natural weakness. Men are going to have to be an active agent in this discussion, and work alongside of feminists, preferably as feminists themselves, in order to end this problem.

And there are men who have discussed this already. I mention Jackson Katz in this article for many reasons, one of them being that he is considered the founder of the ‘bystander approach’ to ending gendered violence – which essentially means that, if you see it happening or suspect that it might be happening, then it is your responsibility to speak up. If you do not, then you are communicating the message that this is normal, and you allow the problem to continue.

Right now, we have many women who are speaking out – many survivors, but too few bystanders. That needs to change.

But if you want to help that change, then one resource that I can point you toward is called the White Ribbon Campaign – a group of men and boys who, according to their website, “pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.” They seek to spread awareness, create discussion, and create a more compassionate vision of masculinity.

It is wonderful that we are talking about these issues in our society, but I want to take this opportunity to invite more discussion. More specifically, I invite men to become part of this discussion, because we need men to be on board with this. We need men to commit to becoming part of the solution, to thinking critically about these matters. We need men to help us in this issue – because as much as women are amazing and fully capable, we cannot change the world single-handedly when we make up only 50% of it.

I Am Not An Insult

What’s the worst word that you can think to call a woman?

(Warning: foul language below)

When I asked you that question, you probably thought up a few examples. Words like bitch, whore, slut, or cunt. There are a few more specific examples, words like prude or ugly or fat, but those four examples are the more general terms that you might use to refer to any random, unpleasant woman.

So, in other words, the worst thing that you can call a woman is a woman.

And, in some cases, these insults refer to very specific types of women as well. Bitch, for example, when defined as offensive, is “a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman” (emphasis my own). The ‘bitch’ is a pro-active woman, a take-no-shit sort of woman. The ‘bitch’ will not accept being ignored, being taken advantage of, or being belittled. This is the reason why many feminists have moved to reclaim the word ‘bitch’, because, while many people may use the word ‘bitch’ as an insult, there should be nothing wrong with a strong, competent woman.

Words like ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ also refer to a particular type of woman; a promiscuous woman, or perhaps a woman who merely takes charge of her own sexuality. The use of these words as insults is meant to shame women for being sexually active; while the use of the word ‘prude’ is meant to shame women for not being sexually available.

The type of insults that we use reveal something about the way that we as a society view these specific people. If you call someone a ‘slut’ in a negative way, then clearly you don’t feel all too keen about women who are sexually active. If you want to make someone feel bad by calling them ‘fat’, then you don’t think highly of people who are overweight.

But let’s turn our attention around for a moment. Let’s ask this instead: what’s the worst word that you can think to call a man? Well, according to the logic of the last time I presented this question, you’d think that the worst thing that you can call a man is a specific type of man.

Well, yes and no.

Once again, you probably thought of a few examples of insults when I asked you that question. Men get called fag, queer, sissy, or girl. Hell, earlier today, I listened to a man trying to insult and belittle another man by referring to him as ‘half-woman’.

In other words, the worst thing that you can call a man is a woman, or a gay man.

And why does this matter? Why am I bringing this up? Well, it matters because, as I said before, the type of insult that we choose reflects how we view a specific type of people. If we as a society use ‘woman’ or ‘homosexual’ as an insult, then what does that say about the way we feel about women or LGBT+ people? But, more than that even, these insults enforce the way that we behave.

If a woman wants to avoid being called a slut, then she will act in a particular way that, she hopes, will mean that she won’t be called a slut. She will dress differently, relate to men differently, walk differently, dance differently, flirt differently, date differently, and so on and so forth. She won’t be fully free to explore her own sexuality, because her sexuality will constantly be judged and viewed by others who are too quick to label her with an insult.

And if a man wants to avoid being called a woman or a gay man, then he will have to shave off any hint of femininity about him. This fear of being insulted this way will affect the way that he dresses, the hobbies he enjoys, the food that he eats, the stores that he feels comfortable going into, the way that he relates to his male friends, the way that he relates to his female friends, the way that he relates to emotional trauma and tragedy, the way that he relates to any emotions at all, and so on and so forth.

Men will not talk about their own feelings because they don’t want to be perceived as ‘too girly’. And yet, despite this, men still have feelings; they just aren’t fully explored or understood.

Men are encouraged toward violence and dominance and aggression – all of which can be very harmful, both to themselves and to others.

But this doesn’t matter, right? Just as long as they aren’t a woman, or gay. Wouldn’t that just be the real tragedy? (Please read a heavy dose of sarcasm here)

And, end of day, changing our behaviour so that we aren’t perceived in this way is just ridiculous and nonsensical. Because there is nothing wrong with being a woman. There is nothing wrong with being a gay man. There is nothing wrong with being a virgin, and there is nothing wrong with having slept with many, many partners (just make sure you stay safe).

And, more than that, there is nothing wrong with identifying with one gender, and still not perfectly aligning with that gender’s roles. Women should be allowed to be aggressive and assertive without the fear that they’ll be undermined as a ‘bitch’; I mean, if men are encouraged toward that behaviour, then why can’t a woman do it?

Men should be allowed to enjoy baking, or talking about their feelings, or dressing up in any which way they want, without having their identity thrown into question.

We are all of us people, and people are built from balances: the balance of good and evil, the balance of reason and emotion, the balance of masculinity and femininity. Not one of us are one thing and one thing only. We should not have to deny whole parts of ourselves in order to fit into a narrow definition of what we should be.

Because you know what really sucks? Policing the way that other people can and cannot express themselves and their identities through the use of insults that undermine whole groups of people. And even if you wanted to ignore the fact that the threat of these insults forces people to shave off parts of themselves and deny themselves certain experiences – it just isn’t okay to use an entire group of people as a way to undermine and belittle someone. People are not insults, and the simple act of being who you are should not turn you into one.

Why Boys SHOULD Cry

When I was a little girl, I received the message that men did not like it when female-gendered people cried (particularly if it was during an argument or disagreement) because it was as good as blackmail. I was indirectly told that it did not matter if my tears were genuine or not, they would always be perceived by men as intentional and manipulative, a way to get what I wanted out of them. I must have been around five or six when I first heard this – kindergarten aged, anyway.

Throughout my life, I would hear a very similar message repeated. I learned that any excess of emotion that I showed in front of men would earn me a dismissive scoff and the question, “are you on your period?” I learned that, throughout history, women have been accused of being hysterical and insane because they tend to express more emotion than men do. And only yesterday, I heard the comment that finally made me break down and write this article: “You can’t cry as a woman. If you cry, then you give away all of your power” (the amount of emotion you express has absolutely no connection to your level of power, just to make that clear now. You can still be a total badass while simultaneously crying at dog food commercials).

Now, so far, I have been focusing on the female experience simply because I was born and raised female. I know what it’s like to be a woman, while I’ve never really lived as a man, but I do know that this is not an issue that stems traditionally from the way that we view women and their emotions. Rather, it is an issue that stems traditionally from men, and the way that we as a society perceive male emotions.

Men are taught essentially from birth that emotions are not only a bad thing, they are decidedly un-masculine (read: feminine). Young boys are allowed to express emotions like anger and aggression, and even happiness to a somewhat subdued extent (if they’re too openly happy, they run the risk of being accused of being feminine or, in this case, gay). But we’ve all heard the expression “boys don’t cry”, and that expression comes from somewhere culturally. We teach boys that they shouldn’t cry, that if they’re sad or troubled or struggling, they should bottle that up and shoulder the burden themselves. They should not reach out. They should not talk to someone. They should not cry. They should buck up and be a man, grow some balls, rub some dirt in it and move on.

And just to make this clear – I’m not trying to say that no man is in touch with their emotions. I have known many men who are even more in touch with their emotions than I am. What I am talking about here is the cultural idea of “boys don’t cry”, and how this idea has affected some men.

This cultural idea that men can never be vulnerable or excessively emotional has led to many, many problems for the men who take this message seriously. Pent-up unhappiness needs to come out in some way, and if men aren’t going to talk about it or deal with it directly, this can sometimes come out in the form of aggression toward other people, or behaviour that is self-harmful (but “boys will be boys”, right?). Other times, this unhappiness will lead to clinical depression, which in and of itself is a major problem that needs to be addressed, but especially when you add on to that the fact that men in America die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women. And in many cases, men who take this message of “boys don’t cry” too seriously are, to put it simply, emotionally immature. They are men who don’t know how to deal with emotions when they’re confronted with them. Men who assume that, every time a woman cries, it is weak and it is manipulative and it is evil. Men who just emotionally check out of a situation when it gets too be too much or too big for them to handle.

My point is, when you teach a young boy that “boys don’t cry”, that they can’t deal with their emotions and work through them, all you are doing is hurting them in the long run. You are taking away their opportunity to learn about their emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy and mature way.

But this is an issue that’s getting better, right? As feminism becomes more and more prominently talked about and we begin to question gender roles more openly, we as a society are becoming more and more accepting of male emotions, right?

Well, actually, if the personal experience that I shared at the beginning of the article means anything, I’m tempted to say: no. In fact, in some ways, this issue actually seems to be getting worse.

Although we talk more and more about feminism nowadays, society at large still has this tendency to think of things as a binary of good and evil, and gender still tends to fall into that binary. We’re opening up more and more every day – transgender issues are being more prominently discussed, and the existence of gender queer or non-binary people has been acknowledged to some extent, but at the same time, I’m tempted to say that society still tends to split gender into this idea of man/masculine, as opposed to woman/feminine. And more than that, as with most binaries, society tends to value one side over the other. Society likes light better than dark, no pineapple on pizza better than pineapple on pizza, and men better than women. And with that hierarchy, we also have all the behaviours that are associated with the two genders.

There is a reason why society tells men that they should be emotionless: because, in society’s eyes, emotions are weakness. Women are emotional, and that’s what makes them weak (or, as I brought up earlier, hysterical and insane). Men are better suited to the world of leadership, protection, and big business because they don’t let emotions get in the way; they are strong. And as women emerge more and more into these fields, they tend not to be accepted for the emotional, vulnerable women that they might have been taught to be from childhood; rather, they are expected to become more like how men are expected to be, hard and emotionless, and even then they will constantly live with society’s doubt that they can be that. For proof of that, look at the fact that, very recently, society posed the doubt that a woman could be as successful a president as a man because when she gets her period, she might PMS and declare war on Germany or something.

Except emotions are not weakness. In fact, if anything, they are a strength.

Having the ability to discuss your emotions can be very healing, and it can be very bonding for two people to discuss their emotions together.

Having the ability to understand the way someone else is feeling and empathize with them allows you to connect with them on a more human level, meaning that I’d argue that having emotions would actually make you better leader, as it makes you want to understand the people that you are leading, as well as the people who could potentially be your enemies.

I may be a weak, manipulative, hysterical, emotional woman to you, but in my own eyes, being an empath is my superpower. It is what has kept me from getting lost in the depths of depression for all time. It is what has helped me understand and love people, rather than give up on them all as cruel or worthless. It is what has made it possible for me to reach out to other people, even help them through difficult times. It is what makes my life worthwhile, and I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for my emotions.

Emotions are a treasure that society looks down on ‘feminine’ people for possessing, when the truth is that they are a gift that should be given to more ‘masculine’ people as well. We treat them as something shameful, as something that should be hidden or ignored, but they are a beautiful, human thing. They have the capability to turn us into better people, and all we need to do to let them is develop and learn about them.

There’s a Huge Problem With Our Idea of “Women’s Chores”

Dear ladies and gentlemen alike (because I want both of you to read this):

Let’s talk a little bit about the history of feminism.

I’m not going to go too much into detail, don’t worry – I’m just going to cover a few of the basics, mostly regarding what happened during and after the world wars. With most of the men away at war, women were expected to hold down the work force back in America, forcing the government to find ways to encourage women to leave the house and go to work, offering things like affordable child care to make it easier for them. And the thing about all this is, a lot of women enjoyed working. They liked being able to leave the house, do something productive, and be amongst a group of their fellow adults for a while. So when the men came home from war expecting their jobs back and the government began to actively dissuade women from seeking work, a lot of women weren’t happy with that. And thus, we enter into what many people refer to as the second wave of feminism, concerned with women’s rights to vote, women’s rights to reproductive health, and, yes, women’s right to work outside the house.

Now, the second wave of feminism most certainly got shit done, as you might be able to tell by the fact that many women nowadays work outside the house without thinking twice about it. And that is awesome. That is something that we should be proud of our feminist predecessors for, because they most definitely kicked ass. But at the same time, I submit to you today the opinion that they didn’t quite get far enough with their goal.

The second wave of feminism is over. We are currently in the third (some might even argue fourth) wave of feminism, concerned with things like rape culture, objectification, and, again, reproductive health. And the average woman experiences a certain set of expectations around her role as a woman even today. Typically speaking, a woman is expected to have a full-time job that pays the bills adequately, have a husband who she satisfies both emotionally and sexually, have children for whom she is the primary caregiver, and when she gets home from work, she is the one who cooks the dinner, does the dishes, scrubs the floors, keeps up on the laundry, helps the children with their homework, knows where everything is kept in the house, mops, sweeps, vacuums, dusts, and just generally takes care of household chores. To this day, the house is the woman’s domain, her job to keep tidy and orderly, but at the same time, she is also expected to work a full time job outside of the house.

Now, this setup might have made sense back in the early days of the second wave of feminism, when men worked outside of the house and women worked inside the house. It was a flawed setup, sure, sending many women into a depression because they didn’t feel like they had a sense of purpose in their lives (to read more about this, look up Betty Friedan’s The Problem That Has No Name in her book The Feminine Mystique), but it was a setup that at least had a logical structure to it. Nowadays, it doesn’t make sense.

The argument that I hear used to protect this setup (when an argument is offered) is that there are certain chores that are women’s chores and certain chores that are men’s chores. Women just do the laundry and the cooking and the cleaning because of some weird natural law that I don’t think I entirely understand, because I think that if I was a natural cook, I wouldn’t burn cereal the way I do. Men, meanwhile, work full time jobs, and after a long day of work, they’re tired. They just want to rest.

Except women also work full time jobs. Don’t they want to rest too?

And yet, our society continues to adopt this idea that quote-unquote “women’s” chores are the property of women, and if a man does them, he is merely “helping out”.

So by this logic, when a man washes the dishes that he dirtied, he is “helping his wife out”.

When a man cooks his own meal, he is “helping his wife out”.

When a man helps his own children with their homework and just generally does fatherly things with them, he is “helping his wife out”.

None of this makes any sense to me.

After all, if you live in a house and are a full grown, able-bodied individual, why shouldn’t you be able to do a few chores around the house now and again? Why are all of these chores thought of as “women’s work”, when men also have to eat and sleep and wear clothes? And why are women just expected to do these chores without payment, rarely even receiving a “thank you” for the full time job they are performing alongside their full time job?

This distribution of chores, this idea that women take care of the house and work while men are only really expected to work, just perpetuates this idea that women belong in the home. Maybe they’re allowed to leave it to work full time jobs now, but they still have to come back and do everything that they were expected to do beforehand, they just have to do it in less time and with more stress on their shoulders.

And, really, doesn’t it make more sense that both parties take on these chores?

So, ladies and gentlemen (and I hope you both made it this far into the article), this is what I suggest: let’s end the idea that when men do anything around the house, they are “helping out”. Let’s end the idea that whenever a man does the dishes or cleans the kitty litter, he deserves a “thank you” that a woman doing the same job wouldn’t get. Let’s encourage both men and women to put in equal effort to keep their house from crumbling, especially if both parties are working full time jobs as well. Because we are far too advanced a people to still be leaning on these outdated ideas of “women’s roles” and “men’s roles”.