Monday, August 09, 2004

No bitch in my house

Since coming back from my hols I've seemed to have lots of books on the go at once - not my favourite situation. I've not been really grabbed by any of them, as in thought they were the best thing ever but they have been rather rant inspiring.

I finally managed to finish 'The Bitch in the House' edited by Cathi Hanauer at the weekend. I wanted to blog about it yesterday, but as well as being short of time,writing about a book in which lots of women express their dissatisfaction with marriage seemed a bad move on my first wedding anniversary. Not least because on balance I adore being married and deeply love The Doctor.

It is a pretty interesting read and of course, as a feminist there were certain resonance with some of the stories. I found the book a little self indulgent - for me being a feminist is about having choices rather than having it all. After all - no-one really has it all, and men didn't have it all prior to feminism (although they did then, and mostly do now have a great deal of unearned power). In the book it accepts the criticisms which fall into two camps - that of women who think its unreasonable for women to complain about not having it all when they are working because naturally all women really want and aspire to is to sit at home and nurture, and the criticisms of ultra liberal feminists - the camp to which I am closest - which is that really there are more important things to worry about than this.

One thing which frustrated me is that it doesn't include any writing by disabled women - or even disabled feminists. Now again, the book doesn't claim to be representative of everyone, more just a bit of venting of those dark thoughts feminists have from time to time. Still, disabled women have a unique perspective on some of these issues of house management, relationships and power balance.

I think my frustrations about the seemingly petty things the essays address are partly rooted in my own experience. Yes, I share some of their frustrations about modern relationships, and some astute observations about the role of 'wife'. But none of these are things that bother me deeply - unlike child labour, nuclear bombs, and the so called war in Iraq.
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