“wife” is code for “The Help”

16 Aug

So all the women in my life are going to or have already seen the new movie The Help, but I cannot possibly bring myself to go because 1) I really don’t feel that I need another “black women as domestic servants to white women” or “black women as nanny/mammy to white children” story in my life and 2) because I feel like I am “The Help” in my own life so this movie would not be an escape.

Of all the hetero girlfriends that I have who are married or have been married none of them seems to feel the “bliss” that is supposed to come along with their marriage.  In fact, even with more education and higher paying jobs than our grandmothers, the second shift is in full swing.  I was talking with a single and actively dating girlfriend recently about the way in which our mother’s generation suggests that if he does not beat or cheat, you got a “good man.”  Now I will give some credit to our generation that we don’t necessarily agree with this standard, but on the other hand when it comes to flat out common sense in non-beating/cheating relationships I think we have regressed.

For instance, one side of my grandparents was a mess and I am convinced that what they were doing was fighting.  Why you might ask?  Because my grandmother did not play, she was fierce about her rights as a human being and she would defend them.  That meant “we have four kids, bring your paycheck at the end of the week and put it on the table–or else.”  And he did.  Me, well I make about a third of what my husband makes, but somehow I paid more towards our bills over the past four months.  To be clear I think safety/security in your relationship ranks #1, but that is not a high standard of living.  In fact, the true standards of partnership get murky because of that low f*ck#ng standard.  We seem to think there is no reason to speak up; act out; fight back when they for instance…

  1. Wait til the last minute to commit to EVERYTHING so that you are always scrambling and late.
  2. Treat you like the nanny, such that you are default “childcare.” You, however, must inform them of your plans weeks in advance with reminders. (And they will still either insist that you find childcare so they too can have the night off or try to squeeze in an outing right before you leave so you are scrambling and late.
  3. Organize “family day,” which apparently means take their wife and kid(s) to their in-laws house and basically bounce until it is time to go home.
  4. Offer to take care of something, but call you every fifteen minutes for two hours about what they are “taking care of” and then complain that your work is taking too long, “ohh and I may not be able to do the child pick-up that I committed to because I am running behind schedule” (See #1).
  5. And my favorite is that they prioritize EVERYTHING over you.  No thank you for being the primary caretaker even though you have full responsibilities as well.  You get conflated with children therefore their time spent at home counts for quality time with “the wife” even if she spent the day cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry, changing sheets in each bedroom, the dining room, and in the interim doing homework and playing with the kid(s) so they are not watching television the entire day.

Where is this “bliss” that you speak of and furthermore, by the time you go over in your head how pissed you are that what used to be your VOICE is now your voice and when you do finally use it you sound like you are underwater.  You must be because no one, especially him, can f*ck#ng hear or understand you (at least that’s what it feels like).

Here are my two favorite argument complaints.

Him: Why are you stringing so many events together?  Why are you bringing up the past? Can we focus on one thing at a time?

Me:  NO. It is called establishing a f*ck#ng PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR.

Him: Get out of your head.

Me:  Well you were not here for the initial argument so now this is just a report on the outcome.

So I guess what I am saying is…if your husband can basically come and go as he pleases because he refuses to commit and therefore be accountable or fully responsible for his actions, but does it in a nice way that leaves you responsible for everything all the time; if he identifies what he does do as “helping you out” versus just being a responsible adult and parent; if he manages to arrange outings regularly with everyone but you, then you are essentially “The Help.”

In 1995 my girls and I were on to something (this is pre-marriage and during full-scale feminist life planning)—we need a damn wife too.

48 Responses to ““wife” is code for “The Help””

  1. Marlon Hurd August 16, 2011 at 8:12 AM #

    This really beat me over the head. I am a husband and I am guilty of all of this. I need to go apologize to my wife.

    • funlayo August 16, 2011 at 9:45 AM #

      I’m moved by your admission, Marlon. It is wonderfully big of you to admit that and I’m sure your wife will really appreciate the apology.

    • itzadundeal (@itzadundeal) August 16, 2011 at 10:34 AM #

      Good for you Marlon- show ’em what a true man stands for and can REALLY HELP to do.

      Keep it up.

    • Sweetilocks August 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM #

      That is very big of you to admit this. A great sign of progress, so long as you follow that apology up with modified behaviors. I’m sure your wife will definitely appreciate that. Peace and blessings to you both!

  2. j August 16, 2011 at 8:24 AM #

    the politics of housework:

  3. Large Marge August 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM #

    This is not just a straight black woman’s issue. As a white lesbian mom I experienced the same thing.

    Key word here: responsibility. Not everyone is ready for or understands the depth of the responsibility of parenting. And it sucks when you are with one of the ones who doesn’t.

  4. Kyllie Pinker August 16, 2011 at 9:27 AM #

    I soooo relate to this post — except ten years ago. My husband and I were caught in this trap. I didn’t fight him, though. I told him I was unhappy and either I would leave or we would do something different. I think we women have to be feminists first in our own households.

    We committed to working on our relationship using a book that addresses ALL of your issues in this post: John Gottman’s “The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work”. He’s the Guru of marriage and can tell when a marriage will end in divorce with an over 95% accuracy rate. He talks about how men and women actually want the same thing: friendship. So they have to learn to become friends, (read: equals) and that takes work (especially if, as a man, you’ve learned from growing up that if you lift two socks from the laundry basket and put them into a drawer you are a hero…. NOT! Try folding the whole basket week-in and week-out.)

    Awesome post and so important! (No WAY am I going to see The Help either. Not interested.)

    • fit2bcrunk August 17, 2011 at 9:26 AM #

      Thank you for the reference. I will check it out.

  5. Lyndy Em August 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM #

    The key for me was finding a man who is as much a feminist (sometimes more) as I am. In our relationship, wife means nurturer, not ‘the help’

  6. Medusa August 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM #

    Great read. I sent it to a soon-to-be father.

    fit2becrunk, do you think you’ll be able to resolve this issue? Is there a chance your husband will listen and be responsive to your (completely legitimate) complaints? Or is he still consistently dismissing what you have to say and turning you into the bad guy (“Why are you stringing so many events together? Why are you bringing up the past?”)

    • fit2bcrunk August 17, 2011 at 7:44 AM #

      I do think that I will be able to resolve these issues, but I know that I have to start showing up in my own life like I imagine my grandmother did (my grandfather did have another child from cheating). While, like I said cheating is not my issue, I do still have to be willing to deal with the confrontation that I am avoiding. I have to grow and insist that the relationship grow so that I can stay in it. I also have to stop questioning whether I have legitimate grips, when I know I do. Finally I have to stop valuing everyone else’s feelings over mine and everyone else over me. But for yesterday, I simply needed to scream.

  7. Sweetilocks August 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM #

    Thus, why I’m still largely debating ever getting married. Since the brunt of childwork is automatically put on women, what’s the point of being a wife? I will hopefully find a progressive man who will see his role as daddy and husband as primary and not secondary or tertiary. This is my dream. And only then will I get married.

  8. MAVI August 16, 2011 at 4:00 PM #

    That’s what that is, Sweetilocks. I waited until well after my friends were married before I settled down because I saw those signs in the men I was dating (even engaged to one) and decided that is not how I am going to live the rest of my life. Now I’ve got a great man whose number one and usually only priority is his family, he’s a divorcee who has learned what it’s like to lose one family and is determined not to do it again. We’re a good partnership that is equal in all senses whether it comes to childcare or housework (but he gets the spiders, sorry, I just can’t do it). We work opposite schedules so one of us can always be home with the kids and we cherish the family time that we have 2 mornings and 2 nights a week and whenever else we can sneak it in. They exist! It just takes some looking and some luck to find them.

  9. d August 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM #

    I know this is off topic. But can somebody PLEASE write something about Zoe Saldana and her recent comments in Ebony magazine about black women roles in Hollywood/Barack Obama! Her comments gave me major SIDE EYE.

  10. damidwif August 18, 2011 at 7:35 AM #

    woman can only be “wife” by being “joined in marriage to a man.” a wife is “a man’s partner in a marriage.” (all according to the dictionary). marriage is a partnership that is made official by legal and/or religious doctrine. this is all a creation.

    think of it in a business/legal sense (which is the way i believe marriage should be viewed and the way it was historically–minus the part where women were more like objects):

    partnership does not imply 50-50%– though that is many of our hopes as feminists. by definition (yes, I am dictionary straight to the bone) a partner is “one of two or more persons associated as joint principals in carrying on a business for the purpose of enjoying a joint profit”

    you have to have your roles in order. the problem is that you have different expectations of what each other’s roles are.

    if you are a joint principal are you reaping the benefits of a joint profits? seems like you feel that you’re getting the short end of the deal (which you are). you both signed a contract–what were the terms of that contract? can you renegotiate? and how many times can/will you renegotiate before you cancel it…write it off as a lost venture?

    i have watched most if not all of my females friends and family members become mere shadows of their former selves. the more children that are born, the deeper the entrapment. at each step, the only renegotiation that occurs is the chipping away of their own bodies, minds, and spirits. the husband remains virtually unchanged because they seek ways to adapt, using physical & emotional escapism (whereas women use a psychological escapism). His needs WILL be met, somehow, somewhere.

    wife doesn’t mean “nurturer” any more than it means “help.” if you wish to settle for unfair dynamics in your marriage that is your choice, which surely is acceptable as long as you enjoy a joint profit. if not, outline what needs to be changed, how it will be done, and the timeframe. no good business succeeds without a detailed plan.

  11. Bobby August 18, 2011 at 8:34 AM #

    I guess no one read the August 8th TIME mag front page article in which a national study found out that men & women on average do the same amount of work in a week?

    Besides that, my wife used to very inconsistent with chores, not washing dishes or cooking for weeks at a time. I did the majority of the housework by myself: sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, cooking. I finally sat her down and showed her a list of chores and had her check off what she wanted to do. Then I had her mark on a calendar what days she would perform these chores. The calendar is on the fridge, so there is no confusion. The calendar is also used for social activities. I still do the majority of the housework, but at least she is more consistent.

    • crunktastic August 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

      That doesn’t change the realities of this author’s story, nor does her choice to tell that story indicate any particular generalizations about men as a whole. Stop being so defensive.

      • Bobby August 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM #

        I don’t think I am being defensive. It is that she does not provide a caveat in her post:

        “Of all the hetero girlfriends that I have who are married or have been married none of them seems to feel the “bliss” that is supposed to come along with their marriage. In fact, even with more education and higher paying jobs than our grandmothers, the second shift is in full swing.”

        “…think WE have regressed.”

        She could at least state that she knows (if not personally) some women are happily married. Her argument appears one-sided when she transitions from personal observation to encompassing all women with “we”.

      • crunktastic August 18, 2011 at 2:42 PM #

        The height of male privilege is the guy who thinks that his experience of being progressive MUST be acknowledged when a woman talks about her own experiences with heterosexual marriage. It’s like the white person who insists that all authors of posts on white racism acknowledge the individual anti-racist whites they’ve known. Um, when white folks do that, we call that white privilege. Your need to be validated may be about the legitimate frustrations in your own relationship, but it is also about male privilege. And if you haven’t figured it out, we are not sympathetic to male privilege here at the CFC.

      • Bobby August 18, 2011 at 3:08 PM #

        But you did not address how easily the author jumps from personal experience to a large encompassing “we”.

        I don’t think it is about male privilege but perspective. I don’t know if the author thinks her perspective is the perspective of most women or just her perspective. It is like when Michael Vick discussed his childhood. He states he grew up around dog fighting but understands that most people did not grow up in his situation. Therefore he lets the reader know that he acknowledges his situation is not normative. I never said it MUST be acknowledged, please do not infer.

      • crunktastic August 18, 2011 at 4:08 PM #

        The generalizations the author jumped to were a.) largely about the marriages she’s seen rather than all marriage and b.) she merely asked if we’ve gone backward; she didn’t assume that as a foregone conclusion. Bottom line: if you’re a supportive partner, that’s awesome. If your partner doesn’t pick up the slack, that’s terrible. And you have the right to be frustrated. You don’t have the right, however, to impose your needs for validation as a supportive man on this author. And your attempts to do so–to make this story about your experience–reeks of male privilege. Peace.

      • Bobby August 19, 2011 at 8:16 AM #

        In 3 posts I have called: defensive, guilty of male privilege, needing validation, imposing, and frustrated. I would like to hear your opinion but received mostly your judgment. Notice I did not apply any labels to you in my posts.

        I understand the post is the author’s opinion but the 2nd paragraph seems self-defeating (notice Guru is also troubled by that paragraph also). Pointing out 2 female researchers found that married men and women on average perform an almost equal amount of work during the week was not denying her perspective. I thought the author alluded to the book “The Second Shift” written in 1989. While the literature is still relevant to many couples, it can no longer be simply accepted as representative of most couples.

        “if you haven’t figured it out, we are not sympathetic to male privilege here at the CFC.”

        You make it clear you are not welcoming of differing opinions that you deem unacceptable. I guess people seeking enlightenment on this website should look elsewhere. Thank you, I will look elsewhere.

      • crunktastic August 19, 2011 at 8:42 AM #

        You are welcome. Please do.

    • Marie August 21, 2011 at 10:50 PM #

      First and foremost, as I tell all my freshman students who attempt to argue facts with “That cant be true becausr I know someone …” There is much danger in generalyzing and it is not reflective of critical thinking. Secondly, Please refer to research on second shift work. Lastly, perhaps part of the story could have included, You may be the help if, in response to sharing your lived experiences, you are promptly dismissed and told why you shouldn’t feel that way,

  12. Guru August 18, 2011 at 9:54 AM #

    First, I am saddened to read that “Of all the hetero girlfriends that I have who are married or have been married none of them seems to feel the “bliss” that is supposed to come along with their marriage.”

    I was married at 22 and am now 47 years old. Like all marriages, mine has had peaks and flows, but that is to be expected. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when I thought I was going to kill him or that he would go away for a few years! Our roles and responsibilties and our responses to these roles and responsibilites have changed and shifted throughout the years. I hope that you will seek out conversations and advice from couples who have experienced fulfilling and long lasting marriages like my own.

    Please seek joint (or individual if he won’t go) counseling. I think that all you have stated is valid, but I also think you’d be surprised to learn what he sees, feels and/or perceives about your treatment of him, your behavior and the dynamics of the relationship.

    I wish you the best.

  13. Guru August 18, 2011 at 10:10 AM #

    That should be that I wished he would go away for a few years; he didn’t actually go!

  14. Kyllie Pinker August 19, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

    Aaaaw. But I feel for Bobby, even as I myself am a feminist. I know a couple of men who do ALL of the housework AND work full-time while their wives are like children who spend money during the day and take passable care of the children. Maybe (and I don’t know this for sure) Bobby is frustrated and wants a pat on the back from someone. After all, he himself is being respectful of women and his wife might indeed be treating him like trash.

    Should I thank you, Bobby, for your service and kindness to women? Would that help?

    I’m a white woman who grew up in a home full of a good amount of racism. When I left home, I had met enough African-Americans (or can I say “black” because one of my friends is black with a South American heritage) to know that my milieu of white people were WRONG in their stereotypes. So I went about my daily life doing things like living in “the hood” because if gentrification in the ’90s was a reality, damn it I was going to live in black areas until blacks and whites lived together in neighborhoods. I worshipped at black churches. I made a point of making friends with blacks (often to the dismay of the white friends around me) and I would ask them: “Have you experienced discrimination? Tell me how.” Then, I listened.

    When Obama became President, it was my victory too. It was an important moment for me, because it said that my work trying in little ways to defeat racism had made a difference. But did I need someone else patting me on the back? Did I need recognition? Never. Why would I ask people who have suffered so much to thank me for something that is actually my human duty? And were ALL the black people I ever met kind and not-discriminatory? No. Did that mean I had a right to discriminate because of one or two bad personal experiences? No.

    I worked in my everyday life to defeat racism because I knew that blacks having equal rights to whites would improve my life and the life of my children as well as everybody else.

    As a man, I would think that working for women’s equality would help the lives of men — even if they meet women who aren’t very nice to them personally. Bobby — I think you might be making an important point and I hear you.

    • Medusa August 23, 2011 at 3:50 AM #

      Why should Bobby come to a feminist space in which women are talking about ways in patriarchy affects them daily in their homes and relationships in order for us to give him a pat on the back? Yeah, sure, there are men who do most of the housework, but they certainly aren’t the majority, and i don’t see why you or he thinks they need to be thanked in this post.

  15. Y August 19, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    @ Crunktastic. This post is clearly making the point that in general women end up picking up the slack in most marriages and are on the losing end of things. That has been proven to be a total misconception. Men do just as much work. I don’t care what you or the authors “experiences” are, you are perpetuating a myth and you need to be called out on it. Accusations of “privilege” don’t change the fact that you are both wrong. Women do not do more work than men. The fact that you would rather believe in a flattering myth about women than face reality is evidence that you are enjoying a healthy bit of privilege yourself.

    • crunktastic August 19, 2011 at 2:25 PM #

      Here the author of The Time article clarifies her thinking:


      What she seems to conclude is that even in cases where folks work equal hours, housework takes an especial toll, for multiple reasons. Thus Brian’s concerns make more sense in this extended framework where housework is unpaid and underappreciated. For the record, I fully acknowledged the legitimacy of his frustration, but was attempting to suggest that his argument might have gotten more traction by affirming the fact that as a progressive man who helps with or (fully oversees) the child care and management of his home, he shares the author’s frustrations.

      Instead by attempting to discount the author’s conclusions through the centering of his own story and through a Time Mag article (which btw, runs counter to decades of scholarship by feminist scholars) whose claims are being contested and debated all over the web, he chose to suggest that her story or conclusions must not be valid based on his experience. That tactical move is classically a move of the privileged. And it won’t fly here.

      Hope my position is clear, as I’m done responding to him and to you.

  16. ikr August 19, 2011 at 3:08 PM #

    One thing to add to the list- “Act as those you must write them a to do list every day, for everything. ‘Well, how was I know to do the dishes, you didn’t tell me to do the dishes.’ I shouldn’t have to tell you, you should walk by dirty dishes and know that dishes aren’t supposed to be dirty and you have the magical power combined with Dawn to do something about it. Just like I do…EVERY DAY

  17. Y August 19, 2011 at 7:24 PM #

    From crunktastick’s link

    “doesn’t paid work bring you money and status, while housework and child care bring you nada?”

    Money? yes. Which, when your married just goes into a shared pot anyway. So again it’s a wash.

    “housework takes an especial toll, for multiple reasons.”

    I didn’t see that stated anywhere, that’s just your interpretation. Just like that original TM article was the authors interpretation of the data, not gospel. IMO the data speaks for itself. Why cling to the idea that women do more work, or that the work you do is somehow especially harder? It’s not. It’s been assessed logically and systematically. Time to let it go and ask yourself why it’s so important to you to feel that way.

  18. Y August 19, 2011 at 7:49 PM #

    TBH I just wish we could talk about this stuff without throwing the “P” word around every 5 seconds. Privilege is relative and it’s not the same for everyone. You can’t just use it to silence everyone who doesn’t agree with you.

  19. Guru August 20, 2011 at 6:45 AM #

    “We don’t need to let go of what we believe, but we do need to be curious about what someone else believes. We do need to acknowledge their way of interpreting the world might be essential to our survival.” Margaret Wheatley in Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. “Willing to be Disturbed.

    I don’t think Bobby was exercising privilege and I don’t think that he was taking anything from the author. He contributed his experience, and was immediately blown the &$@$ up. Sometimes people can make it very hard for one to respond in a civil way. This was not one of those times.

    Finally, right or wrong the author’s relationship may benefit from hearing Bobby’s voice before he was silenced, and this site may have informed him in a more positive way.

  20. Charity August 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM #

    Oh, God, not the f***ing tone argument!

  21. Charity August 20, 2011 at 2:58 PM #

    …and, yes, there are certain types of privilege, earned and unearned, that must be discussed…

  22. FeministLiving August 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM #

    “We don’t need to let go of what we believe, but we do need to be curious about what someone else believes. We do need to acknowledge their way of interpreting the world might be essential to our survival.” Margaret Wheatley in Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future. “Willing to be Disturbed.”

    I like this quote/idea and live by it.

    Makes me ask though, why do we police emotions and direct wit so much. Sometimes the best way to say things is frankly because it avoids misconception. Meaning is so important in words and we must not be afraid of wordsnthat don’t coax us.

    Crunktastic’s response was intense. But intensity is often warranted. We are all capable of being defensive or abrasive. All of these are human traits that enrich such a conversation. I’ve learned a lot just reading the comments.

  23. Guru August 20, 2011 at 6:35 PM #

    “Not the F@&$ing tone argument.” That makes me laugh.

    “We must not be afraid of words that don’t coax us.” Thanks for that FeministLiving.

  24. Y August 21, 2011 at 1:35 AM #

    Well personally it was the substance of the original post and of crunktastics replies that bothered me, not the tone. I mean yeah it’s funny when someone goes off on a self-righteous screed but really all it shows is that the one doing the screeching is dug in like a tick and no ammount of evidence is going to dig them out. it’s not the tone, but what the tone betrays that bothers me. In essense it says “I’m a wall, I don’t see or hear you, and your words will not penetrate, be gone” and it’s on a hair trigger. This is the norm now and it’s too bad.

    • crunktastic August 21, 2011 at 6:05 AM #

      “I mean yeah it’s funny when someone goes off on a self-righteous screed but really all it shows is that the one doing the screeching is dug in like a tick and no ammount of evidence is going to dig them out.”

      Was comparing me to a parasite really necessary? Especially since you are such a stickler for tone and content. Maybe you simply meant that a person who doesn’t share your opinion or doesn’t back down when you present arguments that you THINK/WISH trump hers is a nuisance, much like a tick. And that’s unfortunate.

      Let’s also remember that while I haven’t read the original Time article (because it’s not available for non-subscribers online) I did find a full text response from the original author, clarifying her thoughts on the objections her readers’ raised, many of which were the same kinds of objections discussed here. And the author absolutely conceded that she hadn’t considered the unpaid nature of housework. Furthermore, your assertion that married women who are primarily homemakers are not economically disadvantaged runs counter to years of evidence to the contrary. And from what I can gather the Time study focused on women who had full time jobs. So if the woman does a combo of outside and inside work which “equals” her husbands outside work, but only gets paid for part of what she does, then what seems equal is clearly not equitable, not only because of money, but also because of the many psychic benefits that come from outside work. Of course I don’t devalue the psychic benefits of inside work, but I do hear the voices of the women who say that sometimes those psychic benefits are hard to measure when they are in need of a break, sleep, adult company, recognition, much of which is often not forthcoming when one presumes that housework is one’s duty.

      By reading the article, posting a link, and considering the implications of the author’s conclusions, I showed an absolute willigness to engage with both “content” and “evidence.” Furthermore, I acknowledged the legitimacy of Brian’s frustrations, in at least two comments, but refused to grant the legitimacy of his attempts to dismiss the validity of fit2bcrunk’s arguments in the original piece. I called his attempts at dismissiveness because his experience wasn’t centered or considered in the original piece an exercise of male privilege and I stand wholeheartedly by that assertion. I mean, the last few comments have been about how he has been “silenced.” How ironic.

      As another CF and I discussed, it would be like if a queer person were talking about challenges in queer relationships and a straight person said, “Oh we have those issues too.” Maybe you do, but it doesn’t change the tenor of the original comments. Same happens for comments about race. And the same goes for comments about gender. Brian had challenges because he seems to be dealing with a partner who doesn’t pull her weight, but the notion that his experience as a man doing housework should be fully considered in the original piece is ludicrous. And that’s not even a fair conclusion to draw from the Time Article. Brian had every right to come to the space and share his story and have his experience validated without attempting to challenge the validity of the author’s conclusions. The former could legitimately have been done without the latter. He chose to conclude that because he as a man experienced similar things and that because Time Mag says men and women for all intents and purposes are “equal” now (I’m being both hyperbolic and sarcastic) that the author came to conclusions that were invalid. That’s bad argumentation on multiple fronts, and he got challenged. And when challenged, he chose to see those challenges as a personal attack; acknowledgement of privilege is intensely personal but the person calling it out isn’t engaging ad hominem. It seems that we have some serious issues with nuanced argumentation here on multiple fronts.

      Thus, those who understand argumentation recognize that I can recognize the validity of certain parts of a person’s point while disagreeing with other assertions. Furthermore, I can assert based on available evidence (in this case, the scholarship on male privilege) that I think there are other implications to both the manner and content of a person’s argumentation. That Y, is the essence of engaging with someone’s content and argumentation, rather than as you say “go[ing] off on a self-righteous screed.”

      Bottom line is you and I both considered the Time evidence, and we came to vastly different conclusions about what that “evidence” means, particularly since as you said in a prior comment, it’s all a matter of interpretation, both the author’s and mine. So ultimately it comes down to whose interpretation is stronger, and frankly, based on the years of scholarly evidence on the second shift, I find her conclusions uncompelling; but part of the reason for that is that I don’t solely get my info about such important matters from popular magazines.

      So we can absolutely agree to disagree, and we do definitely disagree, but let’s not act as though you have logically argued while I have merely engaged in self-righteous polemics. That is an intellectually disingenuous position and one that reeks of the very self-righteous short-sightedness of which you accuse me. And such moves are antithetical to civil dialogue.

  25. Y August 21, 2011 at 1:39 AM #

    Also, civility is important no matter what derailing for dummies says. I think it’s especially warranted when discussing topics where it isn’t clear who the more privileged party actually is.

  26. Guru August 21, 2011 at 4:45 AM #

    Yeah Y, I was being sarcastic about it being funny. Thanks so much for expressing my thoughts so well.

  27. Y August 21, 2011 at 8:03 AM #

    “As another CF and I discussed, it would be like if a queer person were talking about challenges in queer relationships and a straight person said, “Oh we have those issues too”

    So, this is something I’ve heard countless times used as an example of what not to do. You’re not supposed to compare you experiences with those of someone from another group, I assume because it somehow delegitimizes the experience for the original person. I can understand this in certain areas where privilege translates to a large advantage for example with race or homosexuality. it’s clear that you believe gender also falls under this category however it’s become clear that whatever privileges men may or may not have, we absolutely do not have an advantage economically, professionally, or in terms of education. In fact women are increasingly at an advantage in these areas. All of which are of the utmost. So pardon me for saying that I see no irony in saying that Bobby was silenced, what I do find ironic is that you continue to believe that women are at such a disadvantage that your experiences simply should not be compared to those of a man. That may have been true when the women’s studies and crital race theory text’s you undoubtedly studied were written but it’s soooooo not the case today. Change is often abrupt and in the case of gender equality the scales are tipping faster than your politics can keep up with. So again while I agree that the whole ” comparing experiences thing” can be problematic in many areas, I feel that gender, strictly speaking is not one of them. The rules of racial discussion don’t apply because the huge advantage gap that exists between for example whites and blacks does not exist here. It just doesn’t. And because I know that your belief that it does exist comes from books written 30 years ago I can’t take your assertion seriously.

    • crunktastic August 21, 2011 at 10:28 AM #

      It is kind of ridiculous, don’t you think, that you would spend time reading a blog on feminist issues, since feminism is predicated in part on the belief/evidence that men indeed do have privilege.

      If that is the bone you have to pick, then you will continue to find this space unproductive for your needs. Why waste your time that way?

      And I would do you the courtesy of a booklist citing all the books on feminism and male privilege that have been written in the last decade, but I suspect you’d dismiss them, on the grounds that they were biased because of feminism.

      So what we have reached is an impasse. And it is at that point, the point when we both realize (and I do realize this) that there can be no and will be no meeting of the minds on this issue, that I invite you to find blog communities more in line with your own goals.

      The CFC is gonna do CFC things. And if you can’t deal, as they say, “don’t let the door hit ya…”


    • Peacha August 26, 2011 at 12:53 AM #

      “, , , however it’s become clear that whatever privileges men may or may not have, we absolutely do not have an advantage economically, professionally, or in terms of education. In fact women are increasingly at an advantage in these areas. All of which are of the utmost.”

      Clear to whom? It is well documented that women are NOT advantaged “economically, professionally or in terms of education” over men. Not that anyone should be advantaged over anyone but the assumption on which your argument is based is completely (proven) false – Time magazine notwithstanding. Because of this, It’s YOUR assertion that cannot be taken seriously. Like crunktastic, I wonder why you came to a feminst website to express that point of view. Your argument reeks of the whole “post-racial” argument (since we are establishing race as an exemplar) that proclaims that racism is dead because we have a black president. We CLEARLY live in a society that privileges white over other and male over other. That is a fundamental assertion on which this discussion must begin. You seem to be on another page with that which again leads me to question why you came to a feminist website to assert that gender inequality is a problem of the past. I don’t even know what to do with your commentary. I hate to just dismiss your pov as clueless but . . . if the shoe fits . . .

  28. Y August 22, 2011 at 6:26 AM #

    “It is kind of ridiculous, don’t you think, that you would spend time reading a blog on feminist issues, since feminism is predicated in part on the belief/evidence that men indeed do have privilege.”

    A waste of time, like trying to explain evolution to a Christian. I suppose your brand of feminism is kind of like a religion in many ways. It certainly requires a great deal of faith.

  29. fit2bcrunk August 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM #

    So alot has happened since I last posted. The vent was helpful and gave me what I needed to address my concerns at home. It also helped me to get out of my head and come up with a plan and to release my frustrations and hear other opinions (many that were helpful.

    I find it very interesting that many of the male commenters (minus Marlon) chose to focus on the “who does the most work” part and completely ignored the concerns I raised about making commitments and keeping them and prioritizing everything over their wives.
    Further, the major issue for me was not speaking up for myself and losing my voice.

    The benefit of a rant, to be clear this post was clearly that–hence the tone and supporting images/videos, and usually to get back to yourself and get your Voice back when you have lost it. For Bobby and Y, I would think that hearing what some women may be thinking to themselves but not saying would be beneficial for those who needed to hear it and maybe those who need to speak up as well.

    If you want to explore the depths of a rant so be it, but really it’s a first person perspective on my feelings and experiences shared by my peers. Last time I checked Time magazine does not generally center the perspectives of Black women in their “research” but you keep looking to Time magazine for insight on gender politics. I, on the other hand, will call upon the feminist scholars and activists who offer insight on issues relevant to my growth.

    Last week I was “fit2becrunk” and this week I am working on next steps with my partner. Sometimes you simply need the language to communicate and an extra push the speak up. At the end of the day Bobby neither your experience nor a Time magazine article negates my experience or feelings in that moment. Thanks for holding it down crunktastic.

  30. Peacha August 26, 2011 at 12:32 AM #

    And make no mistake, you did hold it down, crunktastic!!! Love it!!!

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