I just spent a considerable amount of time (time well spent, I think) talking with a student and assuring her that she isn't responsible for her boyfriend's happiness, and she shouldn't feel guilty if she doesn't put his happiness before her own in some decisions.
She's wonderful, but why the heck am I having this same conversation that I could have been having back in 1980? (And that others probably had earlier.)
(I do recognize that many couples have to make choices to prioritize one partner's career over the other's, but it's time that we all drop the automatic assumption that women's should come second every single time.)
*Sigh.* I have had a number of people comment that they feel for my poor husband because he followed me for my job. Get this: I have a PhD, he has an MS. I make twice what he does, and his job came as part of my offer. He didn't have to lift a fuckin' finger to find it, and on top of everything he loves his job.ReplyDelete
Why exactly should he be felt sorry for?
He's a great guy and a great dad, but not driven and ambitious; I am, enough for both of us, and then some. Should I have followed him around just because he has a penis? It would have been a stupid move for the whole family, and would definitely resulted in me leaving him or killing myself. But nobody would ever tell him in this case "Oh your poor wife, followed you here."
My grandma, who was unbelievably smart and energetic, spent her whole life being a housewife to the meek and ambitionless grandpa; she was dramatically more capable in pretty much anything than him, and had she been able to work, their life would have been much different. They got married before WWII, mind you.
I really feel bad for your female student. She needs a better boyfriend.
Fuckin' patriarchal bullshit.
I know what you mean about the persistence of these patriarchal pressures. Sad to see some female students put aside their real abilities to nurse their guy's insecurities, must say, and it still happens, more than twenty years on.