Guest Blog: Don't Let Old Gendered Power Trip You Up
In the wide, wide blogosphere, there's something for everyone. Countless parenting blogs are now entertaining us and giving us a glimpse into the private family life of so many. But it is a special treat when you run across a blog that fits so perfectly with your own - matching thoughts, same concerns, similar ideas. With respect to this Equality Blog, we haven't run into such an animal (although we follow a growing list of wonderful blogs)...until very recently. Anne Mahoney, Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Denver, has started writing together with Carmen Knudson-Martin, Professor and Director of the PhD program in Marital and Family Therapy at Loma Linda University, at Equal Couples, and we are so happy to welcome them to the world of blogging. We've recently reviewed their new book, Couples, Gender, and Power, and now welcome Anne to ESP.com as a guest blogger. Anne...the microphone is all yours!
A big reason is that family equality involves a major power shift. For generations, families have been organized around gender. Women took care of the home and this "women's work" (in spite of all the nice things everyone said on Mother's Day) was considered lower status. As long as men just "help" women with housework or kids, they can keep a distance from women's work. When they "share parenting," they're doing it. Men who have overcome this old-fashioned attitude about family work have discovered that the shift positively affects them in a variety of ways. Marc regularly regales us here about the joys of equally shared parenting.
If we want an equal relationship and equally shared parenting, the first thing we need to do is become aware of the ways old gendered power can trip us up, despite our best intentions. For generations, men have been and felt entitled and women have served. If we want equality, we can't just say we are equal. We have to understand how the system has been, and still is, stacked against equality. And we have to do a lot of talking together to search out the ways in which those old gender roles are still stuck in our heads.
Then, we have to throw them out.