The most insightful thing I ever heard about>duh Patriarchy
was from a family friend, Mrs. S.
Let me describe her first. Blog inbound.
Look up ‘boho Earth mother’in the encyclopedia and there is a picture of her. Hourglass figure with a big chest and extra pounds. Long hair. Always wore blouses and long skirts or long dresses, usually looked straight from Laura Ashley but she made them herself. In the 20 years I have known her I have never seen any makeup on her and she says she hasn’t owned any in 30 years. Going silver (no dyed hair), never shaves her legs, the whole hippie bit (but she is only 45, I think).
6 kids, SAHM, homeschooling.
Cooks from scratch as in “makes her own ketchup, mayo, pickles, and cheese” from scratch. Anyone sick? New baby? Really stressed out mom? Mrs. S. appears like Mary Poppins with 2-3 home cooked meals that taste like Gordon Ramsey owes you money. Her kids are so wonderful they’re probably androids.
She sees all the clothes for her and her kids. Crochets, knits, cross stitches, paints, does ceramics. Every Christmas she gives bags of hard candy to neighbors and friends.
Of course it is home made hard candy. And it’s perfect.
She sings, plays at least 5 instruments, and does ceramics (my dad’s favotite coffee mug = Mrs. S).
I am just setting the scene because the joke at home is she is Ma Ingalls.
4+ years ago a bunch of families were at the park for a big joint picnic.
Mrs. S was knitting, of course. My mother and Mrs. K were sitting with her and talking about work to each other and discussing accounting (mom is a bookkeeper & Mrs K manages expense reimbursement for a company) when Mrs K (who isn’t very nice) said something like,
“We’re probably boring Mrs S with all this talk about numbers. Math isn’t your thing, is it, Mrs S?”
Mrs S, without looking up from her knitting, said clearly,
“I have a degree in Mathematics, I’ll keep up fine.”
Mrs K said,
Mrs S, still looking at her knitting,
“Dual major in Mathematics and Biology from Smith.”
“You went to Smith?”
“If you went to Smith and have a degree in Math why are you wasting your life as a housewife?”
Mrs S finally looked up.
“Wasting my life? I just listened to you bitch about your job for 40 minutes straight. Every time we get together your main topic is bitching about your job.”
“So let’s talk about that. You get up at 6 am every morning to get your kids ready then ship them off for strangers to educate them and train them to be adults. Then you spend almost an hour driving to your job, one you hate. Your supervisor is a man you despise and who treats you poorly. His boss is a man you dislike. The big boss is a man who doesn’t know you. But you have to show up early and stay late to hope you might get a raise some day. If these men who don’t owe you a thing and don’t like you might not get their bonus you and the other women will be fired first, and you all know it.”
“As you work late you have to pay strangers to care for your kids in daycare and after school programs. Strangers feed you and your kids as you spend a fortune on fast food, carry out, and convenience foods because you owe your male bosses the vast majority of your waking hours.”
“On the other hand I am the mistress of my house. I
decide the hours, the activities, and the goals. I
raise, educate, and prepare my children. I
only have to please my husband, whom I love and who works hard to please me
“Wasting my life? I’m doing exactly what I want, when I want, and how I want. You should try it sometime, if your bosses let you.”
And she went back to knitting.