Around the world people are celebrating International Woman’s Day and it’s got me thinking about how far we have come. This could be a rather controversial post, yet I sometimes feel conflicted by the pressure to be a modern woman and my lifestyle choices.
Going to an all girls school we were consistently exposed to strong women, the feared matriarchal head mistress, who lived up to the Dickensian image of a boarding school spinster, who took pride over her girls. The 6ft wooden boards noting every Head Girl in the school’s 100 years gleaming back at you in gold italics, and the Houses named after the past century’s most celebrated women; Garrett Anderson, Nightingale, Cavell, Fry and Curie. My alumni produced doctors, teachers, lawyers and artists all making their way in the world as independent women, blazing ahead.
I made my own way trying to build a career but always said I’d be ready to give it up to be a wife and raise a family. This notion was regularly frowned upon by my peers as hardly an ambition worthy of my abilities. As it turned out, this plan of mine didn’t happen and I continued to grow into my career, becoming proud of my achievements and even shocking myself at my ambition not to stand still.
When we made our move to Kuwait we decided that I would not initially work, as the transition maybe tough and I wanted to immerse myself into the expat community; see even as I write this I find myself having to justify that choice, why is it that? Why is what we “do” become who we are?
Just last week I was chatting to a fellow expat, who has decided to work after a year off, she laughed and said “it will be nice for my driving licence not to state just house wife” like it was something she was embarrassed to admit and far below her scholastic achievements. Why do women continue to put themselves and each other down? You’d never see a man say he was just anything, he’s made the choice and his male ego stands by it
I know we have come along way since the 50’s housewife, waiting patiently for her husband to gush over her culinary delights laid out on a perfectly set dinner table. However I wonder why this image is so loathed and deemed archaic. Listen, before the feminists come and drag me away, I’m not saying all of that time was right, although I would look rather fabulous in a Betty Draper style get up, but can supporting your husband and making a home be a bad thing?
By no means should women be subservient or lower to men but being feminine and enjoying predominately female activities doesn’t make me weak. I guess it makes me a little old fashioned and romantic.
Sadly when I go home and people say “what do you do out there?” family members,and even myself I’m ashamed to say, on occasion say “nothing”. I may not work but I’m not doing nothing; I’m on the other side of the world supporting my husband and we are building this new adventure together. Being a house wife is not nothing, when you do it for something and someone that means everything.