Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Shame: My Feminism Stops Here

image I am very much into empowering women to assert themselves.  As a womanist it is my belief that the gender card is often used to maintain patriarchy thus causing a society that is extremely unequal. 

As a mother it is my responsibility to raise my sons to be aware of the way we perform gender each day, and the effect it has on our decisions.  As much as possible the "unhusband" and I try to disturb traditional gender roles, so that the boys will learn that there is no task that is specifically male or specifically female.  Though I do believe that those that stand to pee should be responsible for bathroom care, (just saying) the tasks are pretty much divided equally.

There is one place however that despite my feminist politics I have drawn theimage line.  Yes I know it is illogical, and highly ridiculous, but I will not take out the garbage. That is right, I shamelessly pull the "I'm a girl" card out of my pocket, bat my eyelashes and look all pretty and sweet to avoid this task.  Every time I am called on it, I shamelessly announce, "I didn't burn my bra I'm wearing it."

Yeah, I know it is wrong. Yeah I know it sets a horrible example but damn it I hate taking out the I'm a girl deal with it, and you better not say anything sexist in response either. (that would be me childishly sticking my tongue out now)

Okay what small daily betrayals have you made to your feminist principles because you hate to do a task.  We all do it so fess the hell up.


ZoBabe said...

Okay, not to do with a task actually. But I am guilty of painting little pink fingernail polish daisies on my daughter's toenails this afternoon.

At her request.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to carry anything heavy at work. I will openly say, "Make the big strong men carry the boxes." Even when the men are half a head shorter and twenty pounds lighter than me. I'm a girl, dammit. I don't have to carry heavy shit.

Ilyka said...

Oh, this is easy: The man kills the nasty insects. Period.

Could I kill the insects my own self? Yes. Have I killed the insects my own self? Certainly.

But if there's a man within a mile radius of me, I'm not killing the insects. I figure it this way: They don't get sent off to hunt anymore, no more dragon quests, no more slaying herds of animals--the very fucking least they can do is kill nasty insects. Come on, that's a low bar if ever there were.

sugarcityintdot said...

I will kill insects and minor things, but in my old house there was a mouse problem. When the mice got trapped, I would call my father (not my mother) to deal with it. Dead mice are left to the men in the house.

Hybrid Hopes said...

I get mad at my fiance when he doesn't know how to fix things. Then I fix them. It's not fair of me to expect him to know general knowledge repair stuff just because I do.

T. R Xands said...

For some reason padded bras & occasional shaving feel like a betrayal to me *blink* not so much to my feminism but to my self image in general... (but man padded bras are just damn comfortable)

And I play up the "But I'm a giiiiiirrrlll~ *pout*" stereotype to my dad all the time and he just...does things. I'm sure it helps that I'm his only girl :D

hexy said...

I won't kill bugs, but as I've made other women kill bugs for me before I think that just counts as me being squeamish.

The stupidest one? Lightbulbs. I insist my partner change lightbulbs, even though we are EXACTLY the same height.

Sarah J said...

Hmm...see, I always had a great time doing most boyish tasks. I don't kill bugs, but I usually don't let the menz kill 'em either.

But I loved, when guys were harassing me at bars, to go find my biggest, burliest friend to scare 'em off. Sure, I could tell 'em to fuck off and die, and usually did, but I gloried in watching them cower when the biggest guy in the bar came up to them with a scowl on his face...

Sandalstraps said...

Yikes! First man to post my shame this morning.

I hate doing the laundry, and hide behind my own (gender based?) ineptitude to get out of it as often as possible. I'll clean the kitchen, do the dishes, sweep the floors, and just about anything else that needs doing around the house, but when it comes to laundry I'll say something like:

"OK, I'll do it. But, just so you know, your clothes may never be the same."

That said, my Dad was always the one who did the laundry when I was growing up, so maybe gender's got nothing to do with it.

Team F said...

I do the trash thing. Whenever he brings it up I told him I carried the babies and he can never do that, so I should never have to take out the trash. I think he is purposely lax about that so I do take it out from time to time.

Also, the first time I was pregnant I didn't let it faze me and did everything without help, including my nesting craziness of moving around furniture every few days.

But the second time I gave up and had him do every single thing from 8 weeks on. He was so willing to get me everything, let me sleep as long as I wanted, and wait on me hand and foot. It was difficult to transition to doing things for myself after that one.

My daughter loves pink and princesses. I gave her a gender neutral name, only green and yellow clothes, and blocks and cars for toys. To be fair though, my son is two and also likes dresses and puts on his own make up in the morning. (they have a bin of my old make up I let them both put on.) I think it's because they both have a mommy-crush right now. Maybe in a year they'll both want to poop for 1/2 hour on the toilet reading the economist.

Renee said...

@sandlestraps I have long suspected the unhusband folds clothes terribly to get out of doing it. I swear he pouts in front of a hamper and since I hate wrinkled clothing,....well you can guess the rest.

mrs. o said...

I am with you on the trash issue. As the only female in a household with four males, I absolutely HATE taking out trash. I will not do it and my husband says and I quote,"We share all the tasks but this!" I don't care. The trash can be full and overflowing and I will lay something else on top. My husband says it doesn't make sense to see it is full and not take it out. I tell him it sure doesn't make sense to have three able bodied males(the baby is only one)who are capable of taking the trash out and it is full and still in the house.

mzbitca said...

Mine is mowing the lawn. I've never really had to do it before and I truly have no desire to start. That is probably the only chore in our house that is strictly based on gender in that he always does in and I never do it. My husband won't wash any of my "fancy" (aka anything that isn't a t-shirt or sweats) clothes so I don't make him but I refuse to wash of his dress/work clothes cause I hate having to take the time to hang them up.

Anonymous said...

I definitely take out the trash so that it actually gets done. My betrayal is staying in an abusive relationship because I haven't been able to make enough money yet to be able to get out of it without having everyone wind up on the street.

mzbitca said...


That is in no way a betrayal. You are in a situation where you must be careful and prepared. This is not a place where you will ever find judgement for looking after your children and yourself in your preparation to give them a better life.

Renee said...

It is not a betrayal. You are doing what you can for your family. The role of motherhood is not easy and each one of us must daily trade something to try and provide for our children. It is my hope that you will find a way to get out soon for your sake and for the sake of your children.
Please check the local shelters and see if they have any programs that could be of use. Even if they do not they may have some counseling programs available to help you deal with what you are going through.
If you need to talk you can reach me at

Please remember that nothing that you have ever done makes you deserving of being an abused wife. My thoughts are with you.

Maritzia said...

Driving...I really prefer that my husband drive when we are out together. It annoys me no end that he doesn't have a license at the moment and I have to drive everywhere.

Can't help's just the way I am. And boy does it piss me off if he criticizes my driving.

Queers United said...

It doesn't have to be a "girl thing" you can just say you are a germaphobe or simply don't like taking the trash, has nothing to do with gender. I don't like taking the trash either.

harrietsdaughter said...

I have to add to the list and say that I pull the girl card when it comes to mowing the lawn. I love to play in the garden with the vegetables and the flowers... but when it comes to cutting that doggone grass - I'm outta there. I also don't take very good care of the cars....just get in them and go. I'm trying to do better at that one, though.

It's my secret shame. Thanks for letting me confess!

jordan said...

I make the man partner take out the trash as well, but I'm the one who captures and takes out the bugs.

Renee said...

@QuuersUnited After living with Mayhem and Destruction who treat soap like it is some kind of battery acid the last thing that I could claim to be is a germaphobe. The mess that I have cleaned after those two would make it all the more obvious what I am doing. The unhusband would not buy it for one second. So yeah I play the girl card butn in my defense he let's me get away with it.

frau sally benz said...

I love this!

I like doing most of the things everyone else has mentioned -- taking out the trash, killing bugs (seriously, I think there's something wrong w/me b/c I actually love doing it), etc. I even like carrying heavy things.

I think if I was ever pulled over, I'd probably play the "I'm a girl" card and see what happens. Also, I've been so broke lately that if I got the energy to go anywhere, I wouldn't turn down any drinks offered to me.

jemimaaslana said...

Exactly what does disliking a specific task hs to do with feminism?

I don't much mind taking out the garbage - it's neatly on the way to the parking lot where my car is anyway. But I absolutely HATE cleaning. I'm crap at getting it done when my partner and I aren't together about it. I can cook alright, but I'm seldom hungry so I seldom take the initiative to do so anyway. Hence mostly my partner does the cooking - for himself, that is, what with me not being hungry. I do much of the grocery shopping, though, and this I don't mind at all. Except when it's time to drag home several kilos of litter box sand, then I need help, 'cause two hands and arms ain't enough.

I sorta like cleaning the cats' litter box. I can't tell you why, though, but I hate taking care of plants. And these things have nothing to do with me being feminist or anything else. We all have preferences in most areas of life, and they don't have to have anything to do with gender.

Of course pulling the girl card to get out of chores you don't dig isn't exactly awesome. If there's an equal sharing of chores and tasks I don't see why you can't just regularly trade the chore you hate for a chore of the same amount of work someone else hates. That would mean you got rid of the guilty conscience ;)

Rj said...

I'm very surprised by all of these statements...almost disappointed. When I was in my relationship (anon 14, I'm with you), I did any and all types of tasks. There were no gender roles--and this was waaaay before I knew about feminism. And now that I'm out, it is the same. I can't see how things could be any different. Single parenthood, yeah!

Charles said...

Something of a reflection of what Maritzia said...

It's just assumed that I will drive when my partner and I go somewhere together. I have to explicitly ask and sometimes be a little pushy if I really don't feel like driving. And it's my fault, because I used to criticize her driving.

Unfortunately, when our relationship began about 6 years ago, she hadn't driven in years, she'd just gotten her first car, and her driving was pretty bad. She accidentally ran stop signs, sped past cops, sped over speed bumps, etc. She's a great driver now but the effects of my yelling 'oh my god you're gonna kill us' instead of something more constructive have lingered.

Responding to what Queers United said -- taking out the trash sucks and your desire not to do it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with gender roles. It's playing the 'girl card' that's the problem, no? So why not start saying, "I really hate taking out the trash, I don't want to do it" instead?


I like doors to be opened for me. Not because I cant but because I think its adorable and it makes me feel dainty. lol. And um...I like to cook for men and women (being that I am bi) its my way to show love. My friends are hmm so unfeminist but I dont believe that, its when I cook for people because I feel I SHOULD because I am a woman...thats when its wrong and horribly unfeminist.

And for those saying that your disappointed in the post, whatever. Its about unfeminist excuses and pleasures. What shes saying is that she knows its wrong buuuuutttttttt. thats the whole point. Its supposed to be light hearted and fun. And anyway, feminism is about choice right?

This comment has been removed by the author.


I hattteeee that! I hate it when I hear women say...oh the man is supposed to drive. Or when I hear men say...oh its a mans job to drive. And when couples go on trips the men are in the front seat and the women are in the back seat. It drives me insaneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Charles said...


My solution to the 'hold the door' issue is to hold it for everyone. If I'm approaching the door and I'm with people, I hold the door.

Thankfully, being raised by a feminist single mother for the first 11 years of my life means that the words 'that's a man's job' have never passed my lips. My mother did all the jobs. What bugs me about our driving situation is that it's an implicit 'man's job' situation.

Lisa the Mad said...

I kill the bugs (my husband screams and jumps up on furniture to avoid bugs, and I yell at people who tell him he's being a "girl" about it) but neither of us can deal with dead rodents. My roommate takes care of those. Dead rodents are TOTALLY ICKY.

I will occasionally play the damsel in distress with male customer service reps (tech support, mechanics, cashiers, etc). It's easier to let them 'rescue' me than to have them patronize for needing help.

The Unmarried Daughter said...

I don't necessarily play the girl card. I do all tasks I am capable of, and research the ones I am not, so I can be capable of, and if I absolutely can't do something because of strength issues, I just ask for help.

I will say that if a "big strongly manly man" comes along and offers to help "carry" something, or lift something, or any other thing, I let them. Why should I throw out my back if he wants to throw out his out of some misplaced chivalrous attitude?

whatsername said...

It used to be fixing the toilet but then I realized what I was doing and went "nuh uh". But I still tend to throw up my hands when things go wrong around the house that I don't immediately know what to do with. I don't have to bat my eyelashes I know it's expected cuz I'm a girl. :\

However I DID fix my own car. ^.^

Anonymous said...

I grew up on a farm. So my "but I'm a girl" moment was to get out of gutting chickens. My dad would always try to get me to participate because I had small hands.

Not a pretty visual.

Anonymous said...

There are no burly men in my family, only boys, so I don't really have the chance to throw up my hands and say "You do it!". I guess the only thing my mom refuses to do is kill the enormous, hairy, hand-sized spiders that sometimes make their way into our house. If the eldest boy wants to prove his manly credentials by smashing it with a shoe, I'm not about to jump up and volunteer.

Though I did try and appeal to their masculine pride the other day, when I trudged up from one of our fields after spending an hour pulling up weeds to find a house full of able-bodied boys sitting in the dark playing Halo. I have weeny little noodle arms! I need someone with massive guns to help me out!

Angelia Sparrow said...

I have two: driving and dealing with creditors.

Let me explain. I drive a semi on a local delivery run. I put in a 50 hour week, 52 weeks a year. My husband is a school-teacher. Home by 4 every day and off June and July.

If he's available to drive once I climb out of the truck, he's driving, I'm riding.

And I mostly hand creditors off with "I'm sorry, I'm a truck driver. My husband's home and handles the finances, can you talk to him?"

Cree said...

Haha, I wonder what it is about taking out the trash that brings out that excse. I do the exact same thing.

julie said...

As the thorn in the side on this site ... it would be awful of me to let others down. hehehe.

Just think for a moment of what you are all saying. "I am happy to accept part of this feminist movement but I also like the girl card".

Maybe just a thought can go to the other gender who are not trying to be a feminist. Just a tincy one will do.

They are confused by this. How do they know when opening a door is OK or when killing a bug is OK? They suffer from feminists (not many of you by the looks of things) for doing manly things because to feminism it is showing Patriarchy. It is showing masculine as valued.

Do any of you see the mixed message you give by your actions? "I am feminists and I want equality", men hear. And some have been abused for being just a gentleman.

But then deep down women don't really want equality. They just some of it and not some of it.
This is screwing with someones head. IMO.

Renee said...


Look I appreciate that you want to express yourself, but is it really necessary to take every single post that I put up for a little light hearted fun and play the heavy? Really? This post is just about laughing at the ridiculous shit that we all do. It's like being splashed with cold water. Every once and a while people need to laugh and poke at themselves and not everything I post is meant to ripped apart discursively down to the last nub.

We know we are playing the "I'm a girl card." The people that it is being played against know damn well what we are doing.

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

Seems like many of the responses are because someone is in a partnership or a relationship. I am proudly single and feel very comfortable this way. So for me I guess I don't like adhering to "feminine" tasks. But its just me and so I have no one really to compare things to. ;)

Charles said...


Those of us who don't have our heads up our asses aren't confused. And hell, to extent that anyone is, that's OK. The world is, all theory aside, a messy and complicated place. Mixed messages abound. Big whoop. Anyone who expects that any person, feminist or otherwise, will be consistent 100% of the time, is living in the clouds.

julie said...

@ Renee 38 ... and Charles 40.

Thanx for your comments.

New Friend said...

I have to share this story. My dd was sitting in our living room one night when I came home from work. Now it is me, my dd, and my brother who live here (thats it). My brother works a part time job and stays home to help with my dd since he has not been able to find work. Part time job makes him almost as much as I make working full time anyways.

So anyway, walk in sit down to check email get a dp and get comfy, dd looks up at me and says "WELL?" I say "WELL what?" she says "WHEN ARE YOU FIXING DINNER?" I said "I worked today uncle is fining dinner" she said "HE ALWAYS MAKES DINNER, YOU SURE ARE LAZY" (caps because she is loud but not yelling) So I tried explaining to her taht since uncle is home he does housework and I work on my job and she was just not getting it. So ugggh now I have to also explain to her that just because I am the female, does not mean I do dinner, dishes, and laundry.

And I got even worse "belief news" from her tonight. Gawd her dad is evil ya know? She "has to believe like he does when she is with him because they are all rednecks". YUCK!!!! Well I broke other behaviors and beliefs I will break this one.

I just have to say that he sure does want her to hate him doesn't he?

Anyways back to trash. Nope don't do it. That why for 3 of us we have 2 outside cans. But we have a different arrangement. I work, he cleans and cooks, we both work, we share, I have a day off I clean and share cooking/cleaning.

New Friend said...


I live with my brother (he is 37, fairly liberal) and he knows my feminist beliefs and he allows me to play the girl card. He calls me on it sometimes, sometimes not. Just tonight he told me I am a fruit loop. We have no central heat and only one room heater. So we are all sleeping in one room and I hung sheets up in the door frames to keep the heat in somewhat. It is working, we are toasty (rest of house is cool/cold) and I am still a fruit loop. Point is that my brother has no problems with interpreting what I am willing to do and what I am not willing to do. IMO normal men will learn to understand their female friends and know which ones can kill bugs and take out trash and which ones are just too squeamish or wish to play the girl card.

Charles said...


I'd like to add...

"But then deep down women don't really want equality. They just some of it and not some of it."

Deep down, everyone alive only wants some of it. Humans are literally self-centered -- we see the world from behind our own eyes. On some level, at least some of the time, we want payoff without having to to work, we want things handed to us, we want our own advantage even if at the expense of others. That's part of what it is to be human and alive. Admitting it and understanding it is part of accepting the contradictions of being human and alive.

That's what I mean when I say that the world is messy and complicated. You ask, "How do they know when opening a door is OK or when killing a bug is OK?" But real living isn't like that; it isn't figuring out what the 'moral code' is and living by it. It isn't consistent. There is no code. Really living is figuring out how to navigate the mess we find ourselves in moment by moment. Sometimes ideas and rules are helpful; but obsessing over them and expecting them to map consistently to real life, isn't.

julie said...

Charles and new friend, I feel like I have stumbled across sensible people. I really do like that.

But without you realising ... there is another side to feminism. It is a very scary side and a very powerful side. I would love to play as a girl or ... well Charles, I cant' play as you.(smile) but life is not so complicated when you are focused with being a realist and an intellect.

I do feel horrible to pick on Renee. But Renee stepped out of her small world into the bigger world. She invited the real world, the real politics by going after Kelly Mac and Glenn Sacks.

I wasn't to know that she was well out of her depth.

polerin said...

heh, I flip guys out... I hold the doors open for them. Never did get over that habit post-transition, I just like making everyone's life easier.

I don't really get to pull the "I'm a girl" thing... Lissa looks at me and laughs. Only thing she won't really do is kill bugs/mice... everything else we do together or split.

polerin said...

Stepping into the "real world" shouldn't necessitate a loss of humor. It may involve it, but should never require it. Nor does being a realist. Reality is a rough and tumble place, full of things that don't make sense and can't always be fully appreciated on an intellectual level. So you make a joke about it.

The jokes can attack someone, which is generally frowned on by those who are trying to fix things. This is not one of those jokes. It is looking inward and acknowledging flaws, which a critical part of self improvement and working to fix the things that society has broken in you.

Lauren said...

I have men carry heavy things for me, but that's because I have really weak arms, even putting aside the gender differential in strength. I don't want to play the girl card when I ask, but I know men wouldn't be willing to carry shit for me if I were a guy with the same meager strength I have now.

Can I just say, though, that I have NO idea what it is that makes people not want to take out the trash? My dad always made a big deal about how it was his manly burden to take out the trash. Whenever he was gone on trash nights and my sister and I had to do it, we were always surprised at how easy and painless it was after all the fuss he made about it.

Renee said...

@Lauren..well that is what makes the whole trash thing so ridiculous. I just finished cleaning the kitchen and tying up the garbage. It is going to sit there until the unhusband takes it out in the morning. He will give me his traditional eye roll and I will say but honey it was dark outside and we will share a laugh at my ridiculousness.

Yes it's silly and dumb but I figure no worse than him commenting about his super sperm. Between equals sometimes a joke can just be a joke if done with the right spirit.

I am far from out of my depth. You simply do not agree with my opinion to which you are entitled. Sacks is a misogynist asshat and Kelly is a colluder. I simply refuse to drink your brand of kool aid but keep sipping maybe you can start a new cult.

julie said...

Renee says,
I am far from out of my depth. You simply do not agree with my opinion to which you are entitled. Sacks is a misogynist asshat and Kelly is a colluder. I simply refuse to drink your brand of kool aid but keep sipping maybe you can start a new cult. ****

That's mean. Do tell me why you won't allow a men's movement because I can't see a reason to not have one?

XtinaS said...

One girl moment is more of a prone-to-RSI moment, in that I have stronger folk open jars for me.

I am most likely to say "I'm being a girl" when I am being emotional in some fashion and I'm embarrassed by it.  I've been trying to weed it out, but it keeps slipping out.

Anonymous said...

So you girls don't like to take out the trash. If it was me on the other side of the "but I'm a girls argument" I would let the trash pile right up to the ceiling. Then we'll play a game of lets see who has the higher tolerance for filth! I am guessing I'd win that competition.


Renee said...

@Tony I suspect finding a woman in the first place is your largest issue..take a long walk off a short pier.

@Julie..I don't care how mean you think it sounded. I have repeatedly told you my position and it is not going to change. I have no use for the MRA they are racist/ classit/sexist/homophobic etc they engage in the worst isms to privilege men.

I am further irritated that every single time I post a light hearted thread you seem to feel this weird desire to throw a wrench in it. There is a clear difference on this blog between posts that are meant for critical engagement and posts that are meant for us all to relax and through off some steam.

Sunday Shame is one of my favourite things to do and look what you have turned this week's into. Well just look at it. God forbid we take the time to get to know each other and share a laugh if you have an agenda that few agree with to push.

julie said...

@Renne, point taken from your comment 53. I think you do a fine job with your site.

Jemima Aslana said...

Julie, not all of us play the girl card, which you'd know if you'd read the comments at all. Some do, yes, but not all, so don't say that we all deep down don't want equality - jut the neat parts.

I do want equality - all of it. But being equal doesn't mean you can't have preferences in chores, and it doesn't mean you can't have a lazy gene - I know I have.

My boyfriend has a much lower tolerance for trash, clutter and the size of the laundry pile than I do, so it's usually he, who takes the initiative to do something about it. And then we both make like a tornado and get things done.

'Sides, I've never ever before heard the out-taking of trash called a masculine chore. I mean... it's just a bag from the bin, grab, close, drop in container outside. It doesn't require any sort of strength or otherwise... that one was new to me.

Anyway, your generalizations are off-putting. You seem to read only what you want to see, whatver can enforce your chosen stereo-types/prejudices/views/whatever.

Not very... sensible.

New Friend said...


This blog post was supposed to be funny (sorry Renee - you tried). But if you go to Glenn's site you will see I am probably far from what you see on this one post. I probably despise Sacks and his cult following more than Renee does. My beef is not so much with Sacks because sometimes (like 1 out of 500 posts) he might make a little bit of sense. It is his cult following that I have issues with. They should all be shipped to Siberia or somewhere equally isolated with all the woman colluders who believe in them so they can reproduce alone and be happy with their women slaves.

Sorry Renee. This julie must not read you or Sacks very often - I can't stand that man - he is worse than the scum on the slime that is flushed down the toilet. They argue for the sake of arguing, they think nobody is allowed any opinions and in my case, when I shared some generalities about my story of violence they called me a liar (and that was the nicest thing they said). Glenn finally banned me from his site and when I use an anonimiser to post he will read my posts to approve and then deny them. I know - I have screen shots I have saved from posting (proof).

Most all MRAs are slime and worse. Don't believe me - go to and read the Father's manifesto. They want women to stay home and be good little wifeys and not have the right to vote or any rights to our bodies or basically any rights at all.

T. R Xands said...

Okay, I have to add a little to my previous post:

Since I've started college I haven't really been able to play up the whole "I'm a girl!" thing like I could at home with daddy; where I live we're kinda all girls (except for the boys floor). Well, on my way to do laundry I was carrying by big ol' laundry basket & my heavy detergent AND my laptop (which somehow added like 20 lbs, I dunno) and on the way from my 4th floor room to the laundry room in the basement I refused the help of not one but TWO guys! I usually do this so when I get to the laundry room I'm all "Yaaay *crik*"

Okay, I'm done.

julie said...

@Jemima Aslana, Thanx for you view.

@New friend, Thanx for your comment.

I don't have anything to say back. I am pleased to listen also.