I read an article this morning while on my third cup of coffee. I worked yesterday afternoon, got home at midnight and couldn’t sleep. So feel as though I was on the wines last night. My reaction to this article could be merely because I am tired and cranky.
As I started reading it, my initial thought was “good on you!”, the longer the article went the more I thought of for fuck sake woman. The article was about a woman that mow’s her own lawn.
“I hope you understand that I am not mowing the lawn because someone told me to. I am not mowing because it’s my job. I mow because I am quietly making a statement.”
If you own a house, with a lawn, then it is your responsibility to keep your little piece of earth tidy and well maintained. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female.
“Mowing the lawn is, in a way, my silent protest against patriarchy—which is still alive and well no matter how many people tell you that women and men have equal rights. We are still fighting an uphill battle.”
Can everyday tasks not just be that and not a protest? I have chopped wood, I have changed a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, on the side of a dirt road in 40 degree heat with my 30 week pregnant sister, I have fixed a broken pipe in the laundry, and I have mowed the lawn, and pitched a tent. I watched my mother, a single mother, do lots of “men’s work”. Mow the lawn, move furniture. I have talked to my sister on the phone while she was driving a bull dozer, she musters cattle, fights bush fires or builds farm fences.
“I hope the other younger girls in our neighborhood see me mowing the lawn and remember the image of a strong woman, a strong working mother, who has the power to decide which way the stripes go. I hope they see a strong woman sweating, not wearing any make-up, enjoying the satisfaction of hard work. I hope they all see me—a woman doing “men’s work” without asking for permission.”
None of the above was done for recognition, or to show off to the neighborhood children and we certainly don’t ask for permission. All of the above jobs are just that. Everyday jobs that need to be done as part of life. When I am cold I chop wood, flat tyre change it, long grass mow it, broken pipe fix it. Our father didn’t let any of his girls apply for a drivers license before we knew how to; check the oil and water in the car, change tyres, replace wiper blades and get fuel. As young girls, we unloaded trucks full of hay, we were expected to help out in the yard, there was no “men’s work”. I say to my two all the time that if you live in this home you contribute, doesn’t matter the task just do it, and we all help. My boys wash the dishes every night, they help in the kitchen, and they know how to iron a shirt and make their bed properly. They also carry the grocery bags for me, pick flowers and arrange them in a vase. They know how to make a cup of tea as well as they know how to change the chain on a push bike.