I enrolled my eldest in a transition to school program a few weeks ago and got a letter in the mail about the program’s start date today. It was addressed to my partner. Then to me. My partner has never set foot in that school, hasn’t called to coordinate anything with the school. Hadn’t heard about the program until I told him about it. Probably won’t go to any of the school days with our child. But you know, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a little thing. (The municipality and miscellaneous government offices do the same? It’s just easier to be consistent with these things. No misogyny here.)
I go to our local agricultural store to buy a waterer for the laying hens. The guy working there tells me that if my husband is handy I can get this here product and just punch holes in a tote, way cheaper. He meant well, not a big deal. (Huh, I wonder if hearing comments like these for thirty years contributed to my feeling less handy than All Of The Men? We’ll never know. Let’s just chalk it up to biology.)
We get a care package in the mail addressed to : ‘ family « partner’s name » ‘. So nineteen fifties vintage erasure. No problem. An honest mistake.
We move a herd of cattle across the road. I stop the traffic coming in one direction and my partner puts up the fencing and beckons the bulls and heifers across. The woman in the car that I stop asks if it’s my parents cattle. « No. » Smile. « Then what’s your husbands name? » Not a big deal. It was another generation. Women were farm wives never farmers.
A neighbour comes to our place to ask for a donation for a health cause. I give twenty bucks and start saying my full name for the tax receipt but am told « your husband gave last year, I’ll just leave it under his name. » (I get treated like a very uptight person when I insist on having my donations filed under my own name.)
I don’t even want to get into my encounters at the local hardware store.
Every day there’s a thing. There’s just a little thing. A ‘lighten up, not that big a deal’ thing. The sort of encounter that you could shrug off if it was a one-off, if that sort of misogyny and sexism didn’t happen almost every single day. When I’m in a good mood. When I’m excited to be doing this thing by myself. When I’m feeling competent or proud even. When I’m out and about with my boy children. When I’m starting to feel at peace and at home here. To be put back in my place, and by well meaning people, for the most part. The hot rage. And the fucking loneliness that follows.
(The city’s the same or almost, don’t get me wrong. I just had well honed coping mechanisms and pretty robust support networks there.)
I saw this image yesterday. (posted by feminists united)
I needed the reminder that, while feeling like a nag sucks, it’s the best of my options here.
Given all of this, seeing interviews and comments written by people who support the ban on the burkini makes me want to rage-vomit. You want to talk about women’s oppression? Check yourself, Westerners. Et la France avec son Académie Française et son amour du « masculin à valeur générique. » J’en ai plein mon casque.