I am aware that gender inequality still exists. Intellectually, that is. Most of the time, I don’t feel like it applies to me, and it doesn’t—until it does.
Still with me?
Ever since I graduated from college and moved into my own apartment, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking. Cooking, because Shu believes she is bad at cooking, or at least bad at cooking many of the things I am willing to eat (her repertoire seems to consist mostly of spicy dishes and chicken hearts). Therefore, I cook dinner (and about half the time the recipe turns out to be something I’d be willing to eat again).
Baking, because I’m not really interested in eating most of the snacks available at the supermarket and I need to eat something other than baked kale and watermelon between meals.
Though those two are very good options.
If I bake extra of whatever I’ve made (and it’s easy to transport), I’ll bring it into work to share. The other day, one of my male coworkers said something to the effect that I’ll make some man very happy one day. I rejoined with a sour, “Yeah, as long as he likes the things I make”, because hell if I am changing my cooking or eating habits for a steak n’ potatoes guy. Fuck no. I am making whatever I damn well please and he can have some if he wants.
And today, Father visited and saw me pounding down some chicken breasts and called me “Susie Homemaker.” I didn’t say anything sarcastic in reply because a) I like him and b) he’d nicely come over to do something manly involving power tools to my bed frame. Don’t worry; he’d injured his back so I got to man up and wrestle my full-sized mattress and box frame across the room and back.
But I hate the idea of being a housewife. I don’t even want to have kids. If I ever happen to marry a guy who does, he’s going to be the one staying at home and dealing with the buggers. I don’t want to be the one responsible for doing all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and child rearing of the house.
And I’m not doing these things to, I dunno, prepare for marriage. I’m cooking and baking because it’s a challenge, it’s something new, and I get an incredible amount of satisfaction out of doing these things myself. It’s the same reason I like knitting; I get a boost every time I wear this pair of gloves I made, or that Doctor Who scarf. I think, I made this and I am happy.
The one other stereotype which annoyed me to no end was one which followed me all through college. The conversation typically went like this:
PERSON: What’s your major?
PERSON: Oh, so you’re going to be a teacher?
ME (in my head): Hell no screw the future let those buggers rot I frelling hated grade school the first time around you couldn’t pay me enough to repeat it.
ME (out loud): Um, no. Actuary, actually.
And sometimes they would get a kind of good-for-you tone to their voice and I’d want to scream. Going into math-but-not-teaching had seemed the obvious choice to me. If I had to think of all the types of classes I could take for four years, math was the only one I could imagine myself going through with.
I know quite a lot of people who breathed a sigh of relief when they entered college, happy with the knowledge that no one would ever again ask them to factor a polynomial or graph a line.
I couldn’t imagine not doing those things, and more.
I don’t feel like these expectations are holding me back, exactly, but I do get very annoyed when people seem to think that they apply to me.