The holidays are always a good time to take pause and think about family. I have been thinking a lot about my family because I understand that in order to enact radical change one often has to start with one's self. My family is no feminist haven, in fact, I take the most flak about my beliefs from members of my own family.
A typical Thanksgiving in my family involves my aunt(s), mother, grandmother and myself in the kitchen preparing our feast while my father, brother and uncle sit in the living room watching football. I am told that this is not at all uncommon in other families. As the women served up the dinner that they had spent the entire morning, nay WEEK, preparing for, my uncle and father could not even pry themselves away from the television for long enough to eat with the family. No, instead we all had to watch the game while we ate and tried to converse with on another over the clamor of glorified male violence.
After dinner, the men retired back to the living room to continue the game-watching. At this point I abandoned my post in the kitchen and went out to talk to my uncle. My uncle fancies himself a liberal minded yuppy, but still has a very difficult time understanding my disdain for marriage (he says this to me as he is reclining with a beer watching football being served desert by his wife). He tells me that he has an egalitarian marriage (his wife is the primary caretaker of their twin three year olds despite the fact that she too works full time) and cannot understand why I don't think I could have the same.
Well for starters even women who are determined to step out of their prescribed gender roles seem to fall right back into them after marriage. (At least that appears to be the case of my aunt). The words 'egalitarian' and 'marriage' seem mutually exclusive to me. How can women ever be equal or even safe in an institution that was designed to enslave them? Anyway, my point is that his own enormous level of privilege is completely invisible to my uncle and I find that devastating.
I am saddened by the knowledge that I cannot change even my own family. How on earth do I expect to change the world? If I suggested that the men and women switch roles for a holiday, I am sure I'd be cast right out of my family.