I journeyed to London Saturday, for the London group of the A Practical Wedding‘s book club meeting. It was an interesting day, both the meeting and the trip there- something went wrong with the train lines, so a trip that should have taken about an hour and a half, maybe two, took from 10 am till a quarter to 2. It was a long morning. Thankfully my husband is a nice person and dropped me off at the train station in the first place, or else I’d have had to take two buses and I think my day would have been very different. Much grumpier, for one thing.
So I was nearly two hours late, realized that I had no phone numbers for anyone and just had to hope they hadn’t all gone home. We had the upstairs booked of a pub, because there was some kind of football match on (I’m kind of laughing at myself for this phrase, but I don’t even know who was playing. Still not English yet.) and the downstairs would be crazy once it started. The man at the door was asking people who they supported, because they were only letting in fans of one side, to minimize problems. (Is this normal practice? It seemed a bit…scary, to me.) Anyway, I felt like a VIP, strolling past the whole bar and through the door to the stairs, into a room full of several super-nice ladies. I had my “Yay New York” bag with me, and was told that someone thought I was Meg when I first walked in. I felt super cool for the rest of the weekend.
I was kind of blown away by how many of us are “housewives”- whether or not we’re still looking for work, taking care of the house and partner are our main jobs right now- and how much we struggle with the term. Even my husband points out, frequently, that even though I don’t get paid for it, I do a lot of work to keep our living space nice and welcoming, so that we can just enjoy each other’s company when we’re both at home. I know how much work it takes, because I’m doing it, but I still don’t appreciate that it is work. Hell, its harder work than any number of jobs I’ve done and gotten paid for (and paid a much higher wage than I would have had I been cleaning the office I worked in at the time). It is an interesting question, especially from a feminist point of view- my real entry into feminism as an ideal was reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, which point out that one of the problems (which our society still has) is that women’s work is considered less worthwhile because women are the ones doing it. Our interests are less interesting, our hobbies less important, etc, because they are ours. And I think that instead of fighting that, we have only made it acceptable for women to do “men’s work”- “real” work is that done outside the home; anything else is less important, less valued. What still needs to be done is to make all work appreciated- any way that people give their time and effort towards a goal should be valued.