He Said What?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - THE LIGHT SIDE -

Ino longer spend much time on Face­book. Maybe that’s be­cause when I do, I am al­most guar­an­teed to land on some­thing to spoil my day. This week it was a re-shared ar­ti­cle from a young man that of­fered a list of rea­sons why men should not get into se­ri­ous re­la­tion­ships with women who make a liv­ing as nurses, law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, mod­els and lawyers. Out of cu­rios­ity I clicked on the link. While the ar­ti­cle of­fered the rea­sons why men should avoid mar­ry­ing women in the listed pro­fes­sions, it told me more about the writer.

Imag­ine sug­gest­ing a par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory of woman should not be taken se­ri­ously, cer­tainly when it comes to long-term re­la­tion­ships, be­cause “they are tough, know their rights, are beau­ti­ful and con­stantly on duty”.

In­stead of just let­ting yet an­other ig­no­rant FB as­sault on women slide, I sug­gested to the lat­est at­tacker that per­haps he was him­self the prob­lem; that maybe he needed some lessons in what it is to be a real man in a mod­ern world. His re­sponse: “There’s some­thing about hav­ing to be con­stantly on duty . . . so a tra­di­tional mar­riage isn’t in or­der.”

Re­ally? In 2017? Have we women not earned our places in the work­place af­ter all th­ese years of fight­ing op­pres­sion? In many places the deadly fight con­tin­ues. Was this Face­book ge­nius re­ally try­ing to tell me a woman who daily puts her life on the line to pro­tect oth­ers was not fit to be a tra­di­tional wife and mother be­cause she was eas­ily dis­tracted? And there I was think­ing how won­der­ful were women when it came to multi-task­ing!

Seek­ing to bet­ter un­der­stand his jun­gle per­spec­tive, I asked what was his idea of a tra­di­tional mar­riage. He did not re­spond.

I got my an­swer later that day, from a to­tally un­ex­pected source. I was wait­ing to cross a busy Cas­tries street when I over­heard a some­what over­heated con­ver­sa­tion: “I tell mate al­ready, man should not get with woman just for cor­cot!”

That caught my at­ten­tion all right. I glanced to my left to see three young guys en­gaged in an­i­mated dis­course, one of them ev­i­dently con­cerned that an ab­sent friend was stuck in a re­la­tion­ship with a fe­male who “does noth­ing for him”.

“Man get­ting with woman for how they can main­tain,” he said. “How they can cook, how they can clean and wash.” His hands fly­ing in all di­rec­tions he went on: “A man cook­ing his own break­fast, do­ing his own clothes - that’s not right.” His tone sug­gested noth­ing could pos­si­bly be more de­mean­ing; more emas­cu­lat­ing!

Ref­er­enc­ing his “abused” friend in par­tic­u­lar, he said: “The man clothes soak­ing for four days, smelling up the damn place, and she just go­ing off to work ev­ery morn­ing like ev­ery­thing is okay. That not telling you that woman eh for you? Mate have to be an ass­hole!”

I re­called the pre­sumed coun­sel­lor on FB with his prof­fered list of fe­males to avoid. I won­dered what the dis­ap­pointed friend’s lady did for a liv­ing. Why couldn’t “mate” wash his own clothes? They both had jobs and, judg­ing by what I’d heard, hec­tic sched­ules. What was all that about - leav­ing his soak­ing laun­dry unat­tended for four days then com­plain­ing to his friend that his woman seemed un­con­cerned about his smelly laun­dry?

Our no­tions of what is men’s work and what’s women’s ob­vi­ously have not changed much since I was a lit­tle girl. It would ap­pear re­la­tion­ships still de­pend on whether the woman was stuck with a near Ne­an­derthal or with a mod­ern man will­ing to take turns at the kitchen sink, the stove or in the laun­dry room.

It oc­curs to me that for many men in sim­ply beau­ti­ful Saint Lu­cia, fem­i­nism, gen­der equal­ity and the em­pow­er­ment of women re­main lit­tle more than quaint ideas, fan­ci­ful fan­tasies not to be taken se­ri­ously in real life.

More men than we re­al­ize, young and not so young, con­tinue to be­lieve in such things as a woman know­ing her place, which is to say, un­der the thumb of the man who claims to love her, wants to or has fa­thered her chil­dren.

Too many men in this cor­ner of par­adise also be­lieve a woman who steps out of line is ask­ing for it: and I’m not just talk­ing about the anti-rape cam­paign!

Equal­ity is still a for­eign con­cept to some!

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