Cultural Gender Segregation

This keeps happening to me and I am not sure if it is just my luck or if this is something common.  We go out someplace with a group of people as families and the men sit in one end of the place and the women and children sit in another.  I am not talking about Islamic style gender separation, because that I totally understand, even if I might not practice or like it.  It is done for religious beliefs and the people who do it are clear about.

If I go out with my family then I don’t want my family divided like that.  I also don’t like it when the men enjoy themselves for the entire duration of the outing and the women end up feeding the kids, running after them, making a million bathroom dashes and getting ketchup all over their nice shirts while helping the kid clean his hands.  It is not fair that even the family outing becomes another chore for the woman while the man is as free as a bird.  In fact I am so sick of it that I almost completely stopped going out in groups.  Instead of a nice fun relaxing evening it becomes a nightmare.

This is completely new to me ever since I came to Kuwait. My family in Egypt and family friends and the people I worked with never did that. We have always been a huge mishmash of people, loud voices and heated discussions.

Oh and that is just half of the story.  One of my lovely twitter friends Louya_ said this: “Because the ladies won’t / can’t be interested in serious man talk, get with the backward times.”

I had never really thought of it that way.  Two hours later I was still thinking about it.  How on earth can a man feel comfortable with his wife raising his child if he does not think she is smart/intellectual/worldly enough or whatever it is?  Because if she is not interested in serious talk, she is not going to raise a child who is either?  And then sometimes they will overtly make fun of women’s discussions because they are silly.  It is not fair, many women don’t talk about silly stuff, granted many women do talk about shopping, diapers and make up, but we can also talk about other stuff, just like they talk about football and cars.

Did you hear my blood pressure hitting the roof?

 

Because it seriously just did.

 

Whatever you do, don’t call me a housewife.

But before I go on my rant I have a disclaimer, if you are a housewife and like being called one, good for you, that’s your choice and I respect it, but it is not mine so please respect it too.  Another word of warning, this post is really angry and might have a couple of expletives too.

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Yes I am serious, you may call me a lot of things but don’t you dare call me a housewife, that lands you in black list forever.  Don’t make fun of the things I do, or I will either stop talking to you or will find a way to get back at you.

I am not a housewife, I am not a meek woman with no opinions, I do not enjoy doing housework or keeping the house spotless.  Staying at home raising a child was not really what I wanted to do with my life, and if I could go back and change things I probably would.  I am not the kind of woman who will dreamily tell you that raising kids is hard and that I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I don’t do crap and I don’t do bullshit.  Yes, I knit, I sew, I crochet, I can make pizza from scratch and don’t bake a cake using cake mix.  But that is not what defines me.  For your information, I can also write code, I can disassemble electronic toys and put them back again.  I can fix basic plumbing and wiring problems.  I used to be a systems analyst and I used to be a software developer.

I don’t have a 9 to 5 job, but I run my own design business and it is hard work.  I have to do work just like everyone else but don’t have the luxury of having protected work time to get it all done.  I do it while running errands and taking care of a 4 year old.

Oh and back to that 4 year old.  I am not that awesome at getting rid of the stains from her white t shirts or at cooking vegetables and forcing her to eat them.  I let her draw on her body with felt tip pens, lick the glue stick and glue paper to the wall.  Her room is messy more often than not, with art supplies all over the place.  When she needs help I don’t rush to her side and help her every time, I step back and watch while she struggles until she can do it on her own.  I don’t do it because I am an evil mother, I do it because I am teaching the basic skill of carrying her own weight, which she will need for the rest of her life.  I throw imaginary tea parties to imaginary friends just because I can.  I am not raising a sissy.  I also throw fits when people call her a 3arussa (Egyptian for doll/bride it is usually meant as a term of endearment) because I don’t want her thinking that marriage is a goal in life, it is just a means of life.  I throw fits when people try to tell her she can’t do boy stuff because she is a girl.  She can play with cars and build stuff if that is what floats her boat, no one has the right to tell her what to like and what not to like because of her gender.

I get irritated when people don’t get what I do and instead of asking me to elaborate, they just assume I am a lazy woman who doesn’t want to work. So to them I say SCREW YOU.  To the people who think I drop my daughter off at school and then go home and watch tv all day or sleep until I have to pick her up again.  I get up every day at 5 am, just to get in an hour of work done before she is up.  I get back and do some more work, while juggling laundry, lunch and whatever else needs to be done.

Am I perfect at doing it? No I am not, I struggle every step of the way, but no one is every sympathetic with me.  Oh no, the sympathies are all reserved to the working mother.  I am not bashing the working mother, on the contrary, I just wish people would stop bashing me.

I help my husband with some of his own work, but that’s never really recognized as work either. Because I am just a bloody house wife.

I don’t fit in with the housewives and I don’t fit in with the working women.

The story of my life

I just don’t fit in.

I have my own opinions, ideas, hopes and dreams.  I am not an extension of a child or a husband.  I am my own person.  I don’t understand why that is so hard to understand for some people.  I have never made ma7shi and I don’t intend to.  I won’t waste time in the kitchen that can be better spent elsewhere.

The assumption that I am stupid because I don’t have a 9 to 5 job is the one that infuriates me the most.  When people talk down to me I want to poke their eyes out with a fork.  And when people tell me I am lucky I don’t have to wake up early and go to work every day drives me insane.  I was at an outing yesterday with people I met for the first time, and when I mentioned that I got up at 5 am, they asked me if I worked and when I said no, they asked why would anyone wake up so early if they didn’t have a job. Well that is just it, I do have a job, I work two jobs actually, a full time parent and running my own business. I would get up at 4 if I could, and I just might end up doing that soon because I can’t find enough time in the day to do all the things I want and need to do.  I understand why some people assume that housewives are stupid, I have met many of the stupid ones.  Ones that have no identity, opinions or basic knowledge of a lot of stuff.  And I usually want to kick them into fixing all that because they are going to raise idiot children who will plague us with their idiocy.  I have also met working women who are just as stupid.  Who complain all the time that they are exhausted and that they are swamped with work and that they have no life, some of them too have no opinions and if you listened to them you would assume they just came from under a rock.

To be honest, I don’t really care what other women want to do with their lives, that is their decision, and I don’t think I have any right to judge them.

I just don’t think anyone else has the right to judge me.