Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 1 – Amid all those women who were digging their own ditches, she now saw the beacons of light. Family, friends and neighbours who had found small ways to happiness and made space for themselves in a comfortable manner, within the boundaries of the society they lived in. And they became her role models.
Poem: A Tale of Two Families
Nothing to do, nothing to do,
my poor dear wife has nothing to do.
I come home from work and the house is so clean
and she’s sitting and reading a magazine.
The food is all cooked and our ironing is done,
she looks like her day’s been a lot of fun.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 2 – Microwave Madam, an avid reader of old romance novels, had found her knight. A knight-in-shining-armor who had never really had any practise because he’d been rescued all his life.
Poem: Change the Woman to Change the Man
I visit my friend and she’s at the table
feeding her son who is perfectly able
to eat on his own. He’s almost a teen!
I wonder why it is that she just can’t see.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 3 – Gender equality within the larger family was another story. There differences with food and a hierarchy that decided who got offered the best. She was last on the list – a woman in a family where men ranked first, as well as a woman new to the family.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 4 – MM’s husband was a forward thinking man who lacked the skills needed to make his ideas on equality a daily reality. Two things in particular that made housework and endless task for MM with no weekly off – food habits and disorganization.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 5 – And because of the glorification of the mother that was so much a part of her family culture, she would feel deep guilt and self-recrimination. She would forget that being a mother doesn’t raise one to God-like perfection and take away one’s humanity – one’s fallibility.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 6 – There were some digs and criticism that hurt. She learned it was okay to be childless as long as you were deeply unhappy about it. To accept what the God’s gave you and change your dreams accordingly, and be grateful and not ask for more? That, wasn’t acceptable she realized. One had to have children, or be miserable that one didn’t have children. There was no other acceptable option to some.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 7 – They tied MM down though she didn’t even realize it. All these rules about what women should wear – what ‘look’ their appearance should portray. Where they could go when they went out, and what time they should be back home.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 8 – Growing old doesn’t have to mean losing oneself. MM’s mother would realize this, and rebuild her life differently from her elders. And teach MM about self-reliance and independence in the only way that really works when parents want to teach something to their children. By being an example.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 9 – To know that he treated her well only because her family had money, or were able to keep up a pretense of wealth. Loved because her family gave in to demands for gifts. Loved only because she finally had a boy child after two daughters. A woman remembers these things even when she pretends they don’t matter.
Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 10 – It was a childhood very different from families where motherhood is about complex meals and women are stuck in the kitchen with heavy cleaning after dinner. Or those where gender roles might keep men away from they joys of hand-on parenting and childcare. Or times like the current time, when the tremendous busy, the long working hours, and long commutes eat into family time and leave children lonely.