Flipping Patriarchy!

By Man Who Has It All

Imagining a world where men are bombarded with the same stereotypical bullsh*t as women.

Here, have a scented candle and stop moaning.

This is the message from society to the Woman Who Does Too Much. If you are stressed because you are doing all of the things, and your husband is doing none of the things, light a scented candle called Calm and have a long soak in the bath. That’ll fix it. The candle is called ‘Calm’ instead of ‘Calm Down Dear’ because it is not a political candle, it is not gaslighting[1]you directly. But indirectly, these ubiquitous products are instructing women to be calm and quiet. As if a rectangle of wax in a glass jar can melt away the dizzying mental load carried by women, especially mothers. Where are the products that reflect how women really feel? Where is the reed diffuser called ‘Resentment’ or the room spray called ‘Really Fucking Tired’?

If the smelly candle doesn’t sort it, why not start a gratitude journal? #blessed that he picked a towel up off the floor today. Grateful that he made dinner, even if he used every single pan in the kitchen and it took five hours to cook. Thankful that at least he does the laundry, unlike all my friends’ husbands who don’t even know how to use the washing machine. Happy that he took the kids to the park for an hour and no one was injured. Slim pickings. But don’t forget women in other countries have it worse!  

If your body needs a rest, you can go on a spa weekend and come back calmer, prettier and smoother, mind cleansed of legitimate anger, body relaxed and happy once again to clean the toilet with a smile. And if you don’t come back refreshed, what a waste of money. You just don’t know how to be happy.

And what about being beautiful on the inside? That’s achievable, start reading self -help books for women who want to have it all (you won’t finish them because you don’t have time), listen to podcasts and read articles that pathologize you as being the wrong sort of woman, mother, personality or all three. This sort of crap will rob both your time and spirit, because like horoscopes, you will find something in it that you recognise. And worse still, your husband won’t be reading any of it, so any great parenting or relationship advice will be yours to implement. Good luck with that.

If you’re still not convinced that you are the problem, get some therapy for ‘your’ issue. That’s right, the problem of inequality in the home and society that is yours, and yours alone, to deal with. In therapy, you might be told you are a ‘rescuer’, that your standards are too high or you criticise too much. Or perhaps you need to communicate more with your partner, give him to-do lists or organise date nights. You might be encouraged to do breathing exercises and practise mindfulness, because you haven’t got enough to do. Why not joyfully add ‘don’t forget to breathe!’ to your to-do list because forgetting to breathe is a crime no woman should commit, alongside applying her skincare products in the wrong order and failing to apply sunscreen daily.

On a more practical note, the therapist might innocently suggest you buy a family planner and stick it on the fridge. Or perhaps a spreadsheet might help? Once again, more work for you. Failing that, you could go part-time or take time off work with stress. Less work work,but more housework and childcare, which I’m guessing, isn’t the break you need. If you see an actual doctor, but make no progress and turn to Dr Google instead, you could convince yourself you have an vitamin deficiency, a hormone imbalance or a personality disorder.  

All these seemingly helpful but time-consuming solutions have more than one thing in common. They all involve you doing more shit, adding more to your mental load and believing that you are the problem.

But could the real problem be staring you in the face? Enter The Man Who Does Too Little.

He is the cause of the Woman Who Does Too Much. He is the biggest thief of your time, enabled at every turn by a society that excuses him, praises him and finds him endearing. Even if others do recognise his unequal contribution, he is excused as being ‘only a man’, a bit useless or ‘he just doesn’t see mess’. Men will be men! Worse still, he just happensnot to be very good at the low status, repetitive and invisible tasks required to make a family work; knowing when the bathroom needs cleaning, bringing the washing in when it’s raining and planning healthy weekday meals. Ahhh, bless.

How we laughed as we watched the Man Who Does Too Little lying on the sofa, phone in hand having a little rest, his face illuminated by his screen and the light of a single candle. A candle for men! How lovely. However, and I kid you not, candles for men have names like Context, Tobacco and Libertine. So The Man Who Does Too Little gets to relax with clever, contextual scents with notes of freedom and indulgence while the Woman Who Does Too Much gets to breathe in a mandate to calm down. Meanwhile, the native smells in the home remind her that she doesn’t have time to light a candle. Someone has to clean up the cat’s vomit before the toddler steps in it and walks it through the house.

In the same range as the ‘Really Fucking Tired’ room spray for women, how about a new collection of wellness products for men; an essential oil called Grow the Fuck Up, an air freshener called Get Off your Phone, a potpourri called Manbaby and a white candle in a glass jar called This Smells Like My Penis[2]. Please tell me someone is already doing this.

Which reminds me of this helpful contribution from a knob on Twitter.

This "persons" account is simply in existence to push a "man hating" agenda dressed up assatire
Man on Twitter


Erm no…actually. I have two sons, a partner, a dad and three brothers. Some of my best friends are men. I adore men. How could I possibly hate men? The only thing this person hates is the patriarchy. Flipping it, and putting the shoe on the other foot, tells us why.

 

 

 

 

[1]Gaslighting is to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity (Oxford Languages).

[2]Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop, sells a candle called ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’

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