This post was originally written by my wife Sabiha Ghiasi
I share this because everyone, man and woman must read it and understand that there is no place for any form of sexism, casual or otherwise. We need to keep growing as good humans who will make a difference in this slow-decaying and binary world.
Meghan Markle is now a verb. I read it on an Instagram story. The definition says: To value yourself and mental health enough to up and leave a room, situation, environment in which your authentic self is not welcome or wanted.
This got me thinking.
I’m reading a book called Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men by Caroline Criado Perez. The title is a summary of the book. It’s an exposé on how one half of the world’s population has systematically been ignored, since time immemorial. It’s making me so angry and it’s making me cry.
I brought up an insight from the book with my husband the other day. Data says that women often “trip-chain” on their way to work. This means they drop a kid (or many) to day care/school, a family member on the way to an errand, or someone or the other to somewhere, before they get to work. A man hops on his choice of transportation and simply gets to work. The end.
I am the man here. I’m in a job that requires me to be at my desk before 9 30am. So, I leave home at 8 15 sharp every morning. I hug my daughter goodbye and see her not before 8pm.
My husband takes over. He gets her ready, cooks her breakfast, feeds her, and drops her to school. All of this with the constant support of my in laws.
Not long ago, an incident came up with a friend while we were discussing our kids. He casually commented how he was transferred to Canada a week before his son was born.
He didn’t “babysit” his son before he was 2 years old and the opportunity only arose because his wife’s tech-giant employer wanted her to submit some paperwork. She otherwise has the liberty to work from home.
It was a big joke how he didn’t know how warm his kid liked milk or how exactly to change a diaper on a toddler.
So here’s a woman who not only is in a good job, and had tremendous family support after childbirth, but also one who singularly bears the mental load of bringing up her child.
Coming back to what I was asking my spouse:
Is our situation so unique?
Here’s the thing about my husband: he would have given birth if he could have. Fathering came much more naturally to him than mothering came to me. I’ve Meghan Markled myself since I was a teen. That’s why I married someone like my partner.
However, was my demand for equal marriage and parenting the reason for the way we are? Was my inherent nature that expects him to share the load reason for his involvement?
I don’t want to take credit for his openness to be a present parent. But I admit that I was looking for this quality in the sperm that would fertilize my egg. I refused to be short-changed.
Now, the big entitled question, why don’t women demand sharing mental load? Especially when it comes to child rearing. Why don’t they demand their partners help with homework or housework or what have you? And I’m addressing women like me. Women who’ve had urban or semi-urban upbringing and have the ability to earn their living.
Elon Musk is quoted to have said, “Most people can learn a lot more than they think they can. They sell themselves short without trying.”
If you married someone, you must have seen an ability to communicate with them. Why don’t women learn to communicate their needs in terms of sharing responsibilities? Are they selling short their ability to evolve into a new role as mother while remaining an individual?
Many new moms have told me they are afraid to leave their kids with their husbands.
“He won’t know the schedule.”
“He’ll struggle with the chores.”
“The baby is just more comfortable with me.”
PEEP. I call bullshit.
Are women really genetically hard wired to be the primary caregivers? If you’re going to say yes, I’m going to ask BUT WHY?
But then we also have men like someone I know. His ideal woman worships the ground he walks on. Who would agree to not vaccinate their kids or send them to school. And who would absolutely let him be the man of the house, especially when it comes to bringing in and managing the money. Men do think like this but this one has (thankfully) not found this unicorn woman.
This reminds me of the book Otis’s dad, from Sex Education (S2), has written. It is called Is Masculinity in Crisis?
Men like the one I described above think so because of women like me. But in an epiphany, in the show, even Otis’s dad says it’s utter bullshit that should never be read.
See, I’m not sure whether or not To Meghan Markle is entering the Oxford dictionary (I read a lot of memes on social media) but it should.
It’s 2020 and women, we need to take charge.
I am usually in meetings with 20 men as the lone representative of the opposite sex.
I miss you, girls! Come to the metaphoric meeting room, let your spouse share the load, DEMAND help.
But most of all, be the best versions of yourself and not a half-assed one.
Not because you have to conform to your misrepresented female ancestors’ hard wiring or because I’m putting this pressure on you.