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The Feminist Movement Screwed Us

I think we all enter marriage disillusioned and foolish. I watch dating shows and chuckle at the silly singles who think that their “one and only” is going to “complete them”. No honey…they won’t. No matter how amazing that person is, they will still fail you. They are imperfect just like you are. In fact, in the years (or months!) to come, no matter how much you adore them right now, you are going to treat them like the scum of the earth at some point.

Society tells us that relationships are about finding the person who makes us feel good but in nearly 15 years of being together, I now realize that a truly successful marriage puts a heavy emphasis on making the other person feel good. It lets go of that unrealistic expectation that someone else can fulfill your heart’s desires and it selflessly serves whether the person deserves it or not.

I now see how those unrealistic expectations and disillusionments were sabotaging my own happiness in our earlier years. The school of hard knocks taught me to refuse society’s norm of self-serving relationships (which is bound to leave us wanting) and by releasing Tim from my laundry list of expectations I gained an amazing marriage! I am happier than ever and we’re crazy in love. What more could you ask for!

On that note, here is a post from my archives that still gets me fired up today, four years later.

The Problem with Women

Equal pay, maternity leave, the right to own property … these are all good things that resulted from the feminist movement. I get that. But somehow, what was meant for good, has spiraled out of control and created a new breed of woman. A woman that is less of a woman if she stays home with her children. A woman that thinks she needs to not only wear the pants but is armed and ready with, “Honey, know your place or I’m outta here.” A woman that can’t go a week without seeing her girlfriends and emotionally “venting” about all her man’s faults.

Somehow, bra-burning turned into man-hating. Turn on the TV, read a novel, check your email—you can’t go very far without getting your fill of man-bashing. Think of sitcom characters like Doug and Carrie from The King of Queens. He’s a big doofus and she’s a super-hot fiery woman that makes it clear he’s lucky to have her. Or reflect on the zillion and one email forwards you receive with jokes about inferior, lackluster, and downright dumb men. Our men.

Have we women just created our own self-fulfilling prophecy? In ridiculing men, both publicly and privately, have we lost sight of their strength? Some of us devote so much time and energy into complaining about them that we allow little or no time at all for appreciation. I know I spent enough time in this category and it doesn’t end well!

Do you believe that your husband truly believes he is a great husband? Or a great dad? How about just a good dad? Because I’d venture to say that if you could really read their minds, you’d hear inner thoughts that would shock you. Thoughts of not being good enough, smart enough, tough enough, kind enough, rich enough…the list goes on and on.

Perhaps their not as impenetrable as we like to think. Shaunti Feldhahn, in her survey and studies on the male psyche for her book For Women Only, calls it the “Imposter Complex”.

“The majority of men do want to be good husbands. But in the same way they worry that they may not know everything about being a good employee, they secretly worry that they don’t know how to succeed at being a good husband, father, provider, or handyman. Not surprisingly, men said they judge themselves—and feel that others judge them—based on the happiness and respect of their wives.”

silly-family-on-gondola

I love these men!

If this is true, then we as women have incredible power at our fingertips. By our honest affirmation, we calm their inner fears, encouraging our men to tackle anything. By our disdain, we only affirm the inability they feel, whether it’s true or not, and create apathetic men afraid to do anything for fear of being wrong … again.

“Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed. If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life. A man tends to think of life as a competition and a battle, and he can energetically go duke it out if he can come home to someone who supports him unconditionally, who will wipe his brow and tell him he can do it.”

With all this stirring in my heart, imagine my reaction as I passed by a Hallmark store the other day. On their most prominent end-aisle display sat gifts and wrapping supplies “for Dad,” including a gift bag that said in giant lettering: “Mr. (kind of) Fix-It” and a paper weight with the bolded statement “If I only had a brain.”

Please tell me which husband or father has either of these gifts on their wish list! Whether the statements ring true or not, I don’t know of a single man who wants to be reminded of inadequacy by the people he wants to impress the most…his wife and children.

Today, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about how great your man is and then go tell him about it. He’s all ears.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

Domestica_avatarNatasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness 
blogger who lives in California’s Silicon Valley. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal 
internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t have to mean your 
bikini days are over. 

You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, cutting through the myths and guilt that keep 
women from realizing true health.

Discussion

10 thoughts on “The Feminist Movement Screwed Us

  1. Love this post. So true, our husbands need to be blessed by their wife’s. I have recently dropped my attitude of wanting to be blessed to becoming a blessing myself, which in turn brings the whole feeling blessed full circle.

    I am with you 100% on this friend. Just last night I was imploring Tim to tell me about his daily stresses, for God has called us to be “help mates” to our husbands among other things and if he can’t turn to me for helpful encouragement where will he, (other than to God of course).

    They really do need our love, affirmation, respect and support. I too am the happiest I have ever been, even in the midst of the worst year we have ever faced.

    Posted by Melissa | August 21, 2013, 6:11 pm
  2. I’d like to quote an interesting line from a rather odd source; an anime known as Tengen Toppa: Gurren Lagann.

    “Don’t believe in you; believe in me who believes in you!”

    It’s said by a child’s idol and role model, his hero, and in context, what it means is that it’s unrealistic for this young boy to believe in himself… he doesn’t have that kind of faith or conviction of will. He has fears, worries, doubts… but he has absolute belief in his idol, the belief that his idol can’t possibly be wrong. Therefore, if his idolized hero believes that he can do something, and he has absolute faith that his hero is right, then it gives him far more strength than just trying to convince himself that he’s right in the first place.

    While the quote is a little silly, and the show itself is more than a little over the top ridiculous, the point it brings up is more than a little relevant: as humans, we doubt ourselves. We have fears, we have worries, we have this belief that we might not be good enough. For women, not a problem – talk to your girlfriends and they’ll be more than willing to throw some support your way in most cases, to pump you up with a belief that everything that’s going wrong isn’t your fault, or that you can truly make it if you try. Women believe in each other, by default, unless in direct competition with one another.

    Men… not so much. Have you ever listened to a conversation between men? It goes significantly differently. Let’s take a look at two quick examples, mirrored (not quite) images of the same situation.

    A marriage is strained, a man and a woman (for the sake of argument we’ll leave homosexual relations out of this one just because it wouldn’t provide both sides of the gender story here) are unhappy and unfulfilled… what do their friends say about it?

    To the woman, her female friends tell her that she deserves better, that she’s a good natured person, that if she’s dissatisfied, it’s her man’s fault, regardless of having any actual reason to believe any of what’s being said. Her ego is stoked, her motivation is strengthened, and her self respect restored.

    To the man, his male friends tell him that he has to work harder, to please his wife more, that there’s a lot of little things he could be doing around the house or in the relationship to help make it work out better. In each of these situations, they stress that he really isn’t doing good enough, that he hasn’t done enough, that he’s inadequate, inferior, and insufficient, all of this, again, without having any actual reason to believe any of what they’re saying. His ego is crushed, his motivation might be strengthened, but at the cost of his self respect.

    This little dichotomy leads to a strange situation… the woman expects more from the man, and the man tries harder… only now the bar has been raised, and his extra efforts are now in vain, and he fails again because he’s now expected to be nearly flawless. Rinse and repeat, until the woman’s expectations are raised to the belief that she should be dating God himself, and that the man in the equation feels he’s physically incapable of being of worth to her at all.

    It’s been said that you should never love the person; the person will change, their little quirks, once found cute and adorable or endearing, will wear on you over time. Rather, love for the sake of loving, love someone because it brings you joy and pleasure to bring them joy and pleasure, and your love can last a lifetime.

    We’ve lost our way, assuming that it’s possible for men to be demigods amongst mortals, that we “deserve” only the very best, to a point that is unrealistic. Our culture has shifted so that marriage isn’t a lifelong contract any more… so what was marriage even supposed to be?

    Well, it was supposed to be a restriction, that a man would have to keep providing for and loving his wife even after she’d lost her sexual appeal. It was a guarantee, back when women rarely had any income, that he would still provide for her until his death, and it ensured that, “well, since we’re stuck with each other, we may as well try to enjoy it”.

    These days, however, well… we’ve found a reversed situation taking place. It’s now possible for me that, if I were to marry my boyfriend, to then decide he’s not good enough, that I can do better, and that I should therefore be compelled to leave him.

    If it’s an abusive relationship? Hell yes. Yes, I would. But… where he’s just not quite… “good enough”? Well, that’s a little trickier, isn’t it?

    We’ve already covered that the man will be gradually diminished by both parties; the man will feel like he’s less worthy, and the woman will feel like she’s deserving of more and that he’s not doing a good enough job. This cycle continues until there’s no humanly possible way for him to ever be deemed “good enough”, and eventually… he crashes like a drug user; he tries so hard for so long, always being told that if he just tried a little harder, a little more, he’d be good enough, and it never turns out to be true because there is no such thing as “good enough” in this equation – “good enough” is like tomorrow, it never comes. By the time it’s tomorrow, it’s just today again and tomorrow is again… tomorrow.

    If I were to hold myself to this belief, it would be inevitable for me to eventually be dissatisfied, and inevitable for him to eventually be burnt out and apathetic, with the belief that nothing he could ever do would ever be “good enough” to make me happy.

    In the end, the relationship would be doomed to fail with this model.

    Instead… it’s as the above article states; bolstering his opinion of himself is what leads to him trying harder because he thinks he can do better, not because he’s afraid he’s not doing quite enough. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one.

    If someone believes they are capable of more, they will do more, but they’ll do more with a stronger ego, a greater belief that they’re worthy for accomplishing more, and it’ll make them a stronger person as a whole. With that stronger belief in themselves, they now feel even better, like they can take on the world! And that is the energy that lets them face any hardship to do far more than they once thought possible.

    I’ve tried relationships from a lot of different perspectives, but I’ve found, much like Domestica above, that your best option is a mutually beneficial one, where both parties bolster and strengthen the other.

    Equality is where it’s at… where you no longer feel like you don’t deserve this individual, or that you feel you could do better. So long as you have one or the other of those in your head, your relationship will never be a happy one; you might have brief, fleeting moments of happiness, but as a whole, it will falter and fail.

    Your happiness… is best served when you’re happy with what you have, and who you have.

    Zoh. Mah. Gawd.

    You’re most happy… when you’re HAPPY!? Whoa, stop the presses!

    Seriously, who would’a thunk?

    Strangely enough, not many people. We have so many rules, rituals, explanations, and so on which encourage us to want more, more, MOOOOAR! And… it’s unrealistic and unsustainable. “Too much is not enough”, “The more things you get, the more you want”, etc. etc., ad nausium.

    Find someone you can love, keep them happy, and reward them with affection and respect. In turn, they can give you every bit as much back, and you’re both happier and stronger for it.

    Our culture of “must have more” simply can’t be allowed to continue, it only harms us all in the long run.

    Unfortunately, feminism has failed us here. It’s failed us in a lot of ways.

    It failed to give us respect (why would anyone respect me for accepting freebies I didn’t earn?).

    It failed to give us happiness (being trained to never be satisfied with what you have just means you’re dissatisfied a lot, go figure!).

    It failed to give us comfort (women are now the LEAST likely to be raped, murdered, or have violence against them, and we STILL are terrified out of our minds because it’s constantly brought up every five seconds in the media… 10,000 men die, but 1 woman dies too so we should make a big deal about the woman’s plight! Because… that’ll make us feel less afraid, right?)

    It sure didn’t fail in giving us rights… if you’re 30 years old or younger, women now make about 8% more than men in wages, despite not having to move to bloody Alaska and risk our lives logging or in a coal mine. Sweet deal! Erm… though that did kind of come at the cost of all pretense of respect… if I don’t do anything difficult, but make more for doing less, didn’t have to pay for college, and… huh. Well hellbunnies, maybe this wasn’t so hot after all.

    We have the power, now. The power to change laws, the power over our own bodies, the power to be respected, the power to be happy… but so long as we cling to the belief that we’re powerless, that we have no strength, that we’re in need of help, incapable and in total lack of all agency, we can’t exert that power.

    I have the power in the palm of my hand to make or break my boyfriend’s will, to grow him as a man, or to destroy him, reducing him to rubble and dust with little more than a few choice words. This is the power that feminism has given me… and with great power comes great responsibility, and I’ve found that I’m not really sure I want this much responsibility or this much ungodly power to throw around, especially when there’s really not much out there to tell me how to make use of it safely.

    Oh, sure, there’s lots of resources on how to ABUSE that power, but there’s really very few that can tell me how to use my power responsibly.

    All feminism has ever done, was shove a massive amount of power my way, without making me pay for it, and then telling me I don’t have to be responsible with that power either. It hasn’t fixed any of the things I’ve really been most concerned about, and it doesn’t even try to. It sure loves power, and sure loves shirking responsibility, but I’m starting to feel awfully dirty just being associated with this kind of stuff.

    As such… all I can say is that I’m now waking up to the reality that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I have a heck of a lot more power than I first thought.

    I have the power to make my man someone I can love for a very long time, and the responsibility to myself, and to him, to exercise that power with the respect it deserves.

    Sure, he’s not “the best guy in the world”, but you know what? He’s mine, and he’s still very loving and does his best. With the right motivations to teach him that he’s good enough, and awesome enough, that he can do more, then he’ll even want to do more. It’s worked so far, and I find I love him even more for it. Even if his singing’s a little annoying, but I think I can live with that ^.~

    And so we come full circle; in the end, I know he doesn’t believe in himself all that much… he kind of has been conditioned not to, but I know he believes in me, and to that, I say to him “don’t believe in you; believe in me who believes in you!”.

    Posted by xiseria | August 22, 2013, 8:50 am
    • Wow — that should be a blog post in itself! Great comments and thoughts — you nailed it. :)

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | August 22, 2013, 8:58 am
    • Thank you, thank you both so much! I really needed to read this… it is so important to never lose sight of our blessings and the influence we possess to generate more! The masculine perspective isn’t something we talk about enough since my entourage and I have been too focused on our own navels lately (how shameful, now that I think about it!). I will definitely try to be more of a blessing to my loving husband (21 years and 6 children together).

      Posted by Lily | August 22, 2013, 10:11 am
  3. This originally started as a simple note of appreciation, and became a coffee-induced tome. I moved it here [http://francisdroy.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/response-to-natasha-feminist-movement-screwed-us/] rather than burdening this comment thread with it.

    Nice to read something positive and encouraging about men for a change. I’m heartened by it, yet there’s a sad irony that a positive article about men should be considered to be heartening.

    Thank you for the article, Natasha

    Posted by Francis Roy | August 27, 2013, 10:08 am
  4. i love the aricle! it rings true! i wish every couple was required to read it!

    Posted by Joe Keller | October 21, 2013, 4:37 am
  5. Awesome Natasha! I just stumbled upon this post of yours…We have always admired you & Tim to be a great couple…Great going!

    Posted by Hemamalini | January 30, 2014, 11:15 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Response to Natasha (Domestica)’s The Feminist Movement Screwed Us | Francis Roy's Blog - August 27, 2013

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