LGBTQ Magazine

HWBW Part 3: Supporting Men’s Mediocrity Over Women’s Excellence

Posted on the 08 November 2011 by Valeriem @Wont_Submit

Shortly before I came out and moved out on my own, there came a time when I was looking for a childminder. I was attending electrical college full-time in Cambridge, so needed someone reliable to look after my son. This was not difficult. Plenty of mothers joined the childminding game after discovering that, once in the prison of motherhood, childcare quickly became the thing that kept dragging them under. It simply wasn’t worthwhile to work outside the home because of the cost of care mixed with the shitness of available wages. Plus as soon as she would take a job, the woman would lose any benefits she was getting.

All nurseries and daycare arrangements in Britain, whether private or not, have to be licensed by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or Ofsted. By the time I left, it was to the point that mothers were worried about having each other’s kids over to play. Two policewomen were apparently brought up on charges because they were on opposite rotations and were watching each other’s kids. Ridiculous, but at least there was plenty of high-quality daycare available what with all these mothers not being able to afford to work, so getting licensed to take on a few extra kids.

A male childminder appeared on the scene. I never met him as I did not really run with the childminder set (just was in love with one so met a few through her), but het women couldn’t drone on about him enough. How amazing he was. How much he must really love children to become a childminder. How much better his methods were than everybody else’s (everybody else, coincidentally, being female), and so on. I did ask the woman I loved what was so great about him and his methods and such and she looked at me with a small smile and whispered ‘Bloody nothing. We’re always having to show him how to do things’. Ah, whatever-your-blog-name-was (did I ever give you one?). You were nothing if not really quite observant about patriarchy but maddeningly unwilling to give up even the slightest bit of male approval.

The thing is, this man was literally *the only* childminder with a waiting list in the area. Seriously, there were childminders absolutely everywhere. Loads of space. But mothers couldn’t run fast enough to register with him, or put their lives on hold to wait for a space with him, just to reassure him that even though he was new to a scene that women had been running for millennia, he MUST be better at it!

I have noticed this theme again and again with het women. As soon as any male wants to dabble a toe in what has firmly been considered the realm of women, they will go out of their way to be ridiculously impressed with his efforts, all the while dismissing women’s much more knowledgeable and efficient work with ‘pah! Just comes with the territory…’ But het women do not really support women doing the opposite. By and large, they do not rush to encourage girls in anything much other than just more femininity.

But then, supporting men’s mediocrity over women’s excellence *is* femininity. It’s turning our backs on true femaleness in order to pay homage to what men think is right, even if it’s what they think is right about us, how we should look, or what we have always done. It’s taking their reckon over our wisdom.

I understand that this is a very hetero example in itself. All childcare issues are heterosexualizing, even if it’s two ‘Lesbian moms’. The next post will extrapolate the phenomenon described in this post to the way it is specifically experienced by Lesbians.

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