Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Kitchen

A man’s definition of the perfect woman: She stays home to take care of the children while he goes to “bring home the bacon.” He comes home to a freshly cooked meal, and a perfectly clean house and a smooth-running life.
A woman’s definition of the perfect man: He cooks and cleans occasionally. He takes care of “housely” duties without being asked. He is always willing to help wherever need be.
A man’s definition of the perfect man: He goes and makes the money in order to provide for his family. He does “manly” work such as fixing the car or yard work. He allows his wife to cater to his needs.
A woman’s definition of the perfect woman: She never backs down to a challenge. She is independent and is willing to go out and make her own money. She wants to have someone there to love and support her, but he has to put just as much into the relationship as she does.

Today, while in my United States History class, my teacher and I got into a heated discussion about women’s rights. He is one to make many sexist jokes, always bashing women’s rights, eventually leading to the idea of male superiority. An example of one of his jokes is:
Student: “Are we ever going to be able to meet your wife?”
Teacher: “Only if you come to my kitchen.”     
In the past, I have been one to laugh this off, giving him a little glare to know that this bothers me. But lately, he has been making extra sexist jokes, just to set me off. I am extra sensitive to these jokes because I was raised by a mother who is a strong feminist. (She was enrolled in one of the first Women’s Studies classes offered at her college in the mid 1980’s and had been referring to herself as Ms. rather than Miss since she was a young girl. She still uses her maiden name even though she is married to my stepdad.) She believes in women’s rights one hundred and ten percent. She has always been one to go out into the world and make a living. She likes to be in charge of her life, and she won’t ever let a man take advantage of her. Her feelings toward feminism have rubbed off on me. I feel like women NEED to have the same rights as men. What does it matter WHO makes dinner or WHO cleans the house, as long as it gets done? So, when my teacher makes these remarks, I have trouble just sitting there listening.
Today, the heat between my teacher and I was extremely high. We spent the whole class period going back and forth about the rights of women compared to men. Readers, please keep in mind that my class ratio of boys to girls is about 5-3. I am not afraid to say how I feel, so I just went off on him. However, little did I know that my teachers would be so good at come-backs and he would make some “woman” remark every time I would stick up for myself. Before I knew it, he was calling me “Betty Crocker” and asking me if I needed a cookbook in order to find my answer. And what angered me even more was the fact that every time he would slam the women, he would raise his fist and all of the guys would say in unison, “MEN!!!!!!!!!!!”
Haven’t we gotten past the point in America where “men run the world”? Throughout history, we have been through the ups and downs of discussing women’s rights. And now, women are finally being recognized throughout the country as being more equal in getting an education, holding any type of job they want and to having equal access in most areas. I know we can’t change the way people think, but women have just as many rights as men do. Women make a living and can support ourselves. Yes, men are nice to have but we don’t need them running our lives and we certainly don’t need to run our lives around them. We women need to stick up for what we believe in, just like I did in class today. One thing I have learned from this experience is to always stand up for what I believe in, but I need to show (on the outside at least) that it doesn’t affect me as much as my teacher thinks it does. When I show weakness, I know I am labeled as a target for more comments. Instead of letting it knock me down, I need to keep my head up and keep sticking up for what I believe is right and what is wrong.

For the record: My teacher and I cleared the air and he is going to let me lead some of the women’s rights discussions we will have in the future. He is not a bad person; he just likes to poke fun. He has told us many times that he respects his wife and his two daughters.

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