Equality begins at home
Family is the most important thing for most of us and therefore so hard to question. We all come from a family of some sort, but what is a family and why does it fuel inequality?
The traditional definition is two parents and their children, but this definition doesn’t reveal the inherent inequality within a family. The heterosexual family was invented in the past, to dominate women, and must be reconstructed in the present to achieve an equal society. The family is a patriarchal invention, and it’s time to deconstruct the ideology of the family and let people live together in all the variety of ways people have always lived together. We have said yes to equality in marriage, but marriage is one of the most unequal institutions of the patriarchal system. Ideals of romantic love are nothing but infantilism and can’t erase the foundation which by its construction is an unequal relationship. Marriage and family originated in the development of private property and the need to pass on both the property and the family name. Monogamous heterosexual marriage and prostitution were born at the same moment. Marriage is also a form of trade, but unlike prostitution, women don’t get paid for doing household work. Even when working outside the home, women are expected to do the biggest if not the whole portion of running a family.
Women and children were the property of men, and in many families around the world, this is still the case. Change begins at home. Children are the change makers we haven’t reckoned with, and children are the ones changing the world the most. Children come into families with their personalities, and they start to claim their right to be who they are from the start. But, children are also the most discriminated against people in the world. Children grow up to be misogynistic men who remain unaware of their hatred or submissive women who keep quiet in the midst of abuse.
Children learn to devalue women from their parents. Children notice everything, especially how we let ourselves be treated. The misogyny we now finally see, hear and talk about started at home, with the relationship with the mother, because either a man or a woman can embody patriarchy or domination.
Girls are brought up to endure both abusive and even criminal behaviour towards them by what they experience in the home.
Boys are let off. They are not taught to the same extent to take responsibility. Girls have to start helping out at home from a young age.
As parents, we pass on toxic gender roles unconsciously and then we wonder why men hate women, why women hate men. Women often use derogatory words about other women and act shocked when sons called their sister bitch for taking their toy. Mothers reprimand sons about respecting them, but son’s witness father’s disrespecting mothers and mothers accepting it. Respect is a two-way action between parents and children, not a one-way demand.
Mothers downplay their greatness; they even give an imaginary person credit for making Christmas magic. We must stop teaching our children that the work done by women is unimportant and insignificant. We also have to stop servicing men. As mothers but also as women we have to become better at valuing each other. Women must stop bitching about other women. So what if a woman lives their life in a way that clashes with another woman’s way of living life, live and let live and teach boys that women are multifaceted.
On the waves of female anger, we must all start doing healing work, and specifically, men need to heal the mother wound. Misogyny is cultivated. This rampant dis-ease, this cognitive dissonance, is especially true for white men who carry more wounds than just the mother wound. They are oblivious to their unearned privilege and find it hard to process the waves of anger coming at them from everywhere. As women, we have to say no to the raging boy within men. We have to stop mothering men so that men can heal their mother wound. When we stop servicing men, they have to fill their own gap and finally grow up. Men do not rule the world, it’s ruled by boys who never grew up.
Mothers might not always have power over themselves, depending on where in the world they live, but they have power over children, and this unequal relationship has created a wound that shows up in our society as misogyny. The male fear of feminism is infantilism, and these needs have been romanticised as love.
The institution of marriage and motherhood are built on the need of infant males; it’s time for boys to grow up and become the men they were never allowed within the patriarchal family system.
Mothers are the unpaid managers of raising children but if we can’t establish equality in the home, in the family unit, how can we possibly expect to do so in society?
We are people, and as people, we can all do everything, unless our sexual organs are involved.
Mothers are naturally more patient because they had the time to get used to becoming patient, but there are impatient mothers too, so it’s a myth to believe in the perfect mother, there is no such person. Mothers have to get used to expect and to allocate, or we will never change the gender disparity. Equality promotes happiness and a greater likelihood of a lasting relationship. Inequality creates stress and perpetuates attitudes of women as less worthy, and children are the easily influenced audience. They watch and learn from what’s happening in the home.
Children are gender detectives, they can distinguish between the sexes from an early age, and they use the information they gather from what they see to guide their behaviour.
Men’s attitude about their role in the family is internalised by both sons and daughters. Children can identify power and from this deduce who is the more important person in the family setting, it’s not the one who does everything, it’s the one who gets everything done for them. Equality is not only about men accepting half the tasks; it’s as much about women expecting men to do half the work and refuse to do more than their share. When women stop doing the work, the value of the work will show. It’s not about crushing the patriarchy, it’s about raising the matriarchy and equalising the world.
No family are the same, but we all have to start looking at how we have internalised inequality and start to call them out as we hear ourselves saying stuff and doing things that fuel our unequal society.
We have to stop tolerating both misogyny and misandry in the home and in the workplace. We do so by starting to heal the mother wound and stop servicing men.