I Succumb to teh Patriarchy

So, we were talking this afternoon about how happy men are when they have a task.  I was embarrassed to admit that I find this to be true.  I mean, one of the ways the Patriarchy fucks up men is to teach them to base their self-worth on what they do for people rather than just on their inherent niftiness.

And it seems wrong to exploit that.

And yet, when my dad has tasks, he’s much happier than he is when he doesn’t have tasks.  Today he’s cleaned my tub, changed out the shower curtain, purchased a bath mat, scraped all the dirt dauber nests out of my garage, discovered a box of honey, bug-bombed the shed, cleaned half the shelves in the garage, taken two showers, bought a fridge, discussed lawnmowers, helped in the purchase of a microwave/exhaust fan, and conferred with Mack and his wife about various things.  And he took the dog for two walks.

How many discussions have we had about how fat I am?  Zero.

About any other topic I find unpleasant or heartbreaking?  Zero.

How delightful and fun has it been to have him around?  Very.

Fine.  I give up.  Patriarchy, you win this round.

3 thoughts on “I Succumb to teh Patriarchy

  1. I don’t know, Aunt B, this may be one time that I diverge from your point. I also am very happy when I have a task to perform for a friend or relative – particularly when it’s something I volunteer to do. I’ll grant that gender expectations sometimes shape those tasks – I usually share my love in the form of cooking with or for a loved one, and I’m also a bit compulsive about washing other people’s dishes – acts that fall into a long pattern of female domestic self-sacrifice. When I offer computer help to my cousins or install their air conditioners, I’m aware that (in the context of my particular family) I do so as the edgy youngest cousin, one of those crazy kids who can’t be expected to conform to gender norms anyway.

    On the other hand, you seem to have devised a win-win strategy for filial visits!

  2. Don’t despair…I have found that the only way I can have my mom come visit for more than two days is to have a list of things that must be done. When we are working together, we don’t fight. When we are condemned to “visiting,” we do. So it may not be gender based.

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