Another solitary bedtime tonight….its been the second one this week!
For some reason, I can’t get my eyes to shut when night time comes. Grasping this reality, I write.
To write this piece, I felt it was only right to slip out of my dress I had to wear for a meeting and into something befitting of my own style. I wrote this blog in my ‘Orange Is The New Black’ onesie, with my teeth not yet brushed and my big hair tied up.
Ok, I am comfortable now.
I am writing about the conversation I had with my husband sometime last week. It was one of those conversations where you think you’re both on the same page in regard to a particular issue but it turns out your views are on completely different spectrums.
Recently, Chimamanda Adichie, one of my favourite authors released what is being termed as the Feminist Manifesto. It’s probably one of the most important piece of text a man and a woman will ever read!
I was so turned on by it that I made my husband read it.
Gender roles are so deeply conditioned in us that we will often follow them even when they chafe against our true desires, our needs, our wellbeing.
Take this for example; for a long time it has been assumed that care-giving and domestic work are exclusively female domains, an idea that I strongly reject, but gradually found myself stepping into when I got married.
You see the thing is, I am severely OCD about almost everything. When we first started living together, my husband used to cook all the time, like I wouldn’t even get the chance to enter the kitchen even if I ran home quickly from work. After a while, it began to really annoy me, not that the food wasn’t nice or anything like that, but more because I felt like I wasn’t doing my ‘duty’ as a wife.
I was so conditioned to be all and do all, that when he stepped in to share responsibilities, I wasn’t used to it. So I sat him down to explain this to him and things changed immediately. He stopped cooking altogether! There I was annoyed again. More than that actually, I started to resent him for not cooking, because I felt that we weren’t a team. We’ve now grown past this, hence why I can share so freely but this was a lesson in itself; it is not by force that we have to live inside these outdated boxes our societies call culture.
The funny thing is that my husband has never had any expectations of me as a wife, in regard to cooking, cleaning, bills etc. If I am being frank, it was I who put these absurd expectations on myself. But in hindsight, as Chimamanda says, ‘as women we need to look away, arrest our perfectionism and still our socially-conditioned sense of duty. We’ll know when domestic work is equally shared. We’ll know by our lack of resentment. Because when there is true equality, resentment does not exist.’
And yes, I am a Feminist. A proud one, might I add.
I know this is the first time I have actually said this publicly, by way of the Internet but it is true, and for a while, I have strayed from labelling myself as such as I think it puts me in a box.
But fuck that. There are wider issues at large than my insecurity.
For me, feminism is more than the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father God gave us as women.
I have thought long and hard about the work of a feminist. And I have wrestled with what the doctrine of what feminism means to me because I know deep down my views of feminism doesn’t align with the norm. This issue has driven me to my knees, to the scriptures, and to my pillow.
The subject is a very tender one, for it evokes some of our greatest joys and heartaches. This has been so from the very beginning.
We women; we’re complicated; we want to be so many things.
I want to be a boss and also be vulnerable.
I want to be outspoken and respected, but also sexy and beautiful.
Just because I love to cook doesn’t mean I should be the one cooking all the time.
And I know I must not be the only woman struggling to reconcile the different people that we are at all times.
To merge our conflicting desires.
To represent ourselves honestly and feel good about the inherent contradictions.
I can’t be the only one.
And ‘the fact that our culture lauds the idea of women who are able to ‘do it all’ but does not question the premise of that praise is ludicrous.
Thank you, Chimamanda, for this glimpse of your brilliance!
Don’t forget to subscribe to Asklychee via email