I’m in a mood for ranting, I’m afraid, because as the mother of a teenage son, sometimes we quite naturally don’t see eye to eye on some things.
My son has an aunt who has live-in domestic help. So her kids don’t have to do any work around the house. My son, of course, notices that. And as is only natural, he can’t help but compare that to his own situation, where he does have to do chores around the house.
And then he gets whiny and complains and he thinks that’s not fair.
I personally am against parents not making their kids do things around the house or not making them learn to be responsible for things. I personally think that having a maid makes kids arrogant (or it can, if the parents don’t teach proper respect to their kids). And of course if parents don’t make kids learn to be responsible, they’re not all of a sudden going to become responsible of their own accord when they leave home.
In fact, I think it’s a major problem in general here in Spain, especially with boys. And I’m not saying this because I have a bone to chew with Spain or the way things are done here, nor do I mean that everyone I know is like this. These are only my own personal observations, based on people that I know here, and my own personal experiences.
I understand that there might be other people here who don’t agree with me, or who have observed different things than me. Because perhaps they move in different circles, or because of variations in the way things are done in other parts of the country.
Here in Spain because people had a hard time during the war and during Franco’s dictatorship, they want to spare their kids all the hardships and as a result, I see many parents acting too lax (compared to what I am used to) and spoiling their kids. A lot of Spanish kids never have to do any chores around the house. In Canada most kids that I knew growing up had chores.
Spanish girls still realize, when they reach a certain age, that they have to learn to do some household tasks or they will not be able to get on when they grow up, like cooking and cleaning and things like that. But most Spanish boys think that when they grow up they will get their wives to do all the household chores. So they never bother learning how to do any household chores and they don’t see the need to learn to do them.
Many Spanish kids are super irresponsible and their parents don’t know what to do with them. It’s even a major problem here, parents who feel dominated by and sometimes even scared of their own children. My best friend has a teenage son who can’t even pack his own schoolbag. His father has to pack his schoolbag for him.
Personally, I believe in making kids responsible and making them do housework. But the machismo (sexism) here is just incredible and sometimes I find it just so disgusting and intolerable.
For example, in the some circles I know they are always saying things like, a REAL woman is the perfect mother, a REAL woman runs a perfect household and has a perfectly clean and tidy house. A REAL woman is a sex bomb in bed and always leaves her husband with a grin on his face. A REAL woman works hard (unlike her husband and sons who shouldn’t have to do anything).
I just really really really don’t understand sexist attitudes in women. Then afterwards women complain that they don’t get equal and fair treatment. If they’re the first to jump up and force other women to succumb to sexist attitudes to begin with!
I find that in places where the culture is very sexist, often it’s the WOMEN who defend the sexism most fiercely. And I really don’t understand why. Don’t women WANT to have equal rights? Why do women here WANT to be forced to spend all their time cleaning and cooking? Don’t they WANT to do something else?
But apparently they DON’T want to do anything else. They don’t see anything else worth doing in life.
I know lots of women here who when they are at home, they never sit still. They are always dusting or tidying their living-rooms. When you ask them why don’t they sit down and relax and watch some TV they will tell you they can’t, that it makes them feel bad to see dust on the table or some object not perfectly aligned.
Oftentimes these women will even have husbands who are not that sexist, and their husbands will say something like, oh but you’re the most amazing housewife ever, no one keeps a more immaculate house than you but you work so hard, you’ve already worked too much, why don’t you come and sit beside me on the sofa and we’ll watch a TV show together?
And the woman will reply, I can’t, there’s still so much work to be done, the shelf is dusty and I haven’t vacuumed the closet today.
Of course my son doesn’t want to be responsible and he doesn’t want to do housework. That is normal, no one likes to work. And kids want to get away with as much as they can. So he doesn’t understand why it isn’t good for him to do no chores or why it isn’t good for him to not be responsible for anything.
I saw a movie about a Spanish woman who married an Afghan man who had been here studying in Spain. They decided to go to Afghanistan to visit his family.
When they got there, the Taliban invaded the country and forbade Afghan citizens from leaving. So they couldn’t return to Spain. The woman could, of course, but her husband couldn’t. And she refused to leave him.
They were staying with the husband’s family in a rural area. The house didn’t have a bathroom, the bathroom was a corner of the back yard. And then the woman became pregnant and she wanted to visit the doctor, but the Taliban forbade women from going to see the doctor and she had to visit the local midwife.
She wanted to see a doctor, she couldn’t imagine having a baby without receiving proper medical care. And then this is what happened.
All the women in her husband’s family started to scorn her and say things like, what is wrong with Western women? You are all so weak and useless. A REAL woman can have a baby all by herself. A REAL woman is strong enough to have a baby all by herself. A REAL woman doesn’t need a doctor because she can take care of herself.
Doctors are for men because men are weak and can’t take care of themselves. All men are little boys at heart and that is why they need a doctor, but a REAL woman is strong and doesn’t need a doctor.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I think that only supposedly “backwards” cultures, like Latin cultures or Afghanistan, are sexist. Right in Canada there are a ton of “machistic” attitudes. I have a friend there who was married to this horrid sounding guy. All he ever did was drink beer, throw all the beer cans on the floor, lie around on the sofa and expect my friend (who is female) to clean the house. Fortunately she is not with him anymore.
So guys, if you’re reading this and you’re a guy and you’re one of those (hopefully more and more rare all the time) who think that by acting “macho” you will get your gal, you can think again. You might get A gal – probably one of those women I referred to earlier who can’t relax and watch a TV show with their husband. (Or do anything with their husbands, for that matter, because the only thing they know how to do, or have any interest in doing, is clean their house!)
So, what do you think? Do you live in a sexist culture? Do your kids do housework? I’d love to receive your (positive, non-spammy) comments!
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