Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jack & Jill and the "Burdensome Bucket"

I love the title of this post - it's like some cheesy middle-school mystery novel. But in reality, this is WAY more fun - it's a chose your own adventure story! Yay!

Jack and Jill were in love. They lived at the top of a hill. Unfortunately, a drought was coming, and they needed water, and the only well was at the bottom of the hill.
They needed three buckets full of water to last through the coming drought. It was getting dark, they only had three buckets and there wasn't time to make two trips before it got dark.

Returning with less than three buckets full of water would result in them both not having enough water to drink for the coming drought.

Jack and Jill headed down the mountain, three buckets in tow, to fetch the water they needed for the upcoming drought. They knew that come midnight, that night, the seasonal drought would come and last for the next 10 days. The well would be dry and this was their last chance to get water. When Jack and Jill reached the bottom of the hill, there was a sign next to the well. It read:
Women must carry two buckets up the hill. Men may only carry one bucket up the hill.
~ The Patriarchy

Jack and Jill obeyed the sign. Jack took the blue bucket and Jill picked up the red and yellow bucket.

After about a quarter of the way up the hill, Jack has to take a break to pee. He sets down his blue bucket and heads off into the bushes. Jill realizes that carrying twice the load of water up the hill is unfair. Jill:
A) continues all the way up the hill without complaining - because the sign did seem official - and she didn't want to upset the status quo.

B) attempts to convince Jack to take the other bucket when they reach the half way point.

C) forces Jack to take the third bucket - or else she will not carry any buckets to the top of the hill.

D) decides to sabotage Jack's bucket.

E) decides to sabotage all the buckets to teach Jack a lesson.


A#) Jill, recognizing the apparent unfairness of Jack's distribution of buckets, but still bound by the sign, carries both buckets, one in each hand, to the top of the hill. When they reach the top, Jack asks for a back rub, but Jill's hands are too sore to rub his back.

B#) Jill, realizing that the arrangement is unfair, speaks to Jack rationally and explains that the sign doesn't have to be obeyed - and that they should do what is fair. Jack, who loves Jill very much, doesn't want her to suffer unfairly. "To hell with the Patriarchy!" Jack says, and promises to carry both buckets when they get to the halfway point. When they get to the halfway point, Jack:
B1) honors his promise to Jill, and takes the yellow bucket from her.

B2) realizes that carrying one bucket is actually harder than carrying two buckets. He realizes that the Patriarchy was trying to protect women from the more difficult job, and refuses to take the second bucket.

C#) Jill, angry that Jack so readily agreed to an obviously-unfair arrangement, demands he take the extra bucket. Jack, wanting to please Jill, does so, but feels bitter she would be so angry about it. As he waddles up the hill with Jill by his side, he thinks to himself "Why couldn't she just ask nicely?" When they eventually reach the top, Jill's back hurts quite a lot. Unfortunately, Jacks hands are too sore to massage her aches. Jill thinks Jack is just bitter that she forced him to carry the two buckets.

D#) Jill decides to teach Jack a lesson. She quickly fills up Jack's bucket with dark smooth rocks before he returns. He comes back (without even washing his hands! EW!) and hefts up the rock-filled bucket. He carries it, alongside Jill to the top of the hill. As they pour out their buckets into the water barrel, Jack finally realizes his bucket was full of rocks the whole time. Exasperated, he looks at Jill. "Don't look at me, Jack. You'd better hurry, double-time down the hill and get that third bucket of water. If you're quick, it will only be dark for your trip back up the hill." Jack, recognizing that Jill already carried two buckets up, takes off down the hill in the dusk to bring his second bucket up. His back already sore from carrying the single, unbalanced bucket up the hill, considers taking two buckets. Jack decides:
D1) take one bucket down the hill, because two buckets might make him too slow to get back before dark.
D2) take two buckets down the hill, to get more water and save his ailing back.

E#) As Jack is relieving himself in the bushes, Jill decides to make her own "contribution" to the buckets of water. Jill, driven insane by the unfairness of their situation (coupled with the unimaginable fact that this type of unfairness has been occuring to millions of OTHER women because of that DAMN SIGN), brings the tainted water back up to the house and pours it into the water barrel. Later, as the drought ravages the land the next day, the putrid smell of the water barrel clues Jack in to Jill's deeds. He confronts her and she readily admits what she's done.


A1#) Both go to bed in pain, unable to comfort the other - but not quite sure who to blame. After all, if they switched roles, then Jill would be going to bed with a sore back and Jack would have sore hands - and just how would that be any better?

B1#) Jack takes the yellow bucket from Jill and begins up the second half of the hill. After just a few steps, Jack realizes that carrying two balanced buckets is actually easier, and is grateful to Jill for making the rest of the trip easier on his aching back. Jill is relieved because she can now carry the remaining bucket in one hand, giving one hand a rest at a time. She switches the bucket back and forth for the rest of the trip to the top. When Jack and Jill get to the top, they take turns giving each other a back rub - because both of their backs hurt a little, but neither of their hands hurt too much to give a rub. They then have passionate monkey sex all night long. (Ok, it was actually more like 10 minutes - but it was a REALLY good 10 minutes.)

B2#) Jack carries the one bucket the rest of the way up the hill. Jill is bitter at Jack for having the "easier" job, and Jack is bitter that Jill doesn't recognize his sacrifice. They both go to bed in pain, but also resenting the other person's attitude and inability to see the suffering they are enduring.

D1#) Jack grabs the bucket, empties out the remaining rocks, and charges down the hill. He gets to the bottom and fills up the bucket. He charges up the hill, his back nearly breaking from the awkward weight. As he nears the house, he hears the sound of wolves howling, and turns to look behind him. He tweaks his already-weak back and tumbles off the hill, smashing his brains on the rocks below. Jill, safe at home with her two buckets-worth of water and only sore hands, is comfortable, but ultimately lonely.

D2#) Jack grabs the two buckets and charges down the hill. He fills up both buckets, ignoring the sign, and begins the long, slow haul back up the hill. Unfortunately, he is too slow and it gets dark. He is eaten by a Gazebo. Jill, safe at home with her two buckets-worth of water and only sore hands, is comfortable, but ultimately lonely.

E1#) Jack and Jill spend the coming weeks drinking the foul water, becoming ill and ultimately dying of dysentery.


I hope you enjoyed reading that more than I enjoyed writing it. I had this idea because I wanted to get across the idea that not only is it important for feminists to chose the correct tactic when it comes to solving problems of gender roles in society, but it is important for men to have the right attitude when it comes to fixing it.

In case it isn't obvious the following "solutions" are allegorical of the following ideologies.

A 1 is the result of non-feminist mindset maintaining the status quo. I don't think that this is very likely at this point - I think we'd have to take steps BACKWARDS to have this happen regularly.
B 1 is the ideal ending and is the result of non-retributive gender egalitarianism by both women and men.
B 2 is the result of gender egalitarian women being held back by (well-meaning) non-gender egalitarian men.
C is what would happen if we get a non-gender egalitarian men coupled with gynocentric feminist women. It results in a similar situation to A 1, oddly enough. This could be the result of what would happen if misogynist MRAs and misandrist feminists got their way - the gender wars would be in full scale blitzkreig.
D 1&2 is the result of gynocentric feminists who practice the "zero-sum" battle for equality. (This aspect of feminism was responsible for the poorly-thought-out domestic violence and paternity laws that are currently responsible for a great deal of suffering on the part of men and also, consequently, one of the best recruiting tools that MRAs could hope for.)
E is the probable result of gender-segregation radical feminists and their ilk.

As a way of analyzing my own allegory, I'd like to point out the interesting similarities that I think we face in A and C. I want to state this plainly: if men don't get on board with gender egalitarianism, we are lost.

Secondly, I want to address the likelihood of A and E. I think the probability of sliding backwards into a pre-feminist state is about as likely as fully-implemented gender-segregation (meaning: not very likely at all.) I also think that these two groups overestimate the likelihood of the other taking hold (i.e. rad fems warn of backsliding, non-feminists warn of "feminazi" death camps.) That said, I think we need to speak out equally against BOTH groups. I think if either group got its way that suffering would be increased among all of us.


I've been considering switching to Wordpress - but I'm not sure how easy it is to transfer an entire blog. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Honest Question

I have heard a great deal about victim blaming in the past few months. Honestly, it was a new concept to me.

The more I think about it though, I get more confused.

So I want to pose a simple question:

Man A heads into the bar district of his local city late on a Friday night. He finds a tall, muscular man wearing tattoos and piercings. He walks up to him and says "Hey, pussy. You look like a piece of shit, and I wouldn't fuck your mother with a AIDS-infested dick."
Man A is punched and kicked by the tall, muscular man until he is unconscious in the gutter. He is permenantly brain damaged for life, and undergoes 10 years of physical therapy to regain the ability to walk.

Man B is walking home from his office late on a Friday night. He is stopped by a tall, muscular man wearing tattoos and piercings. The tall, muscular man pokes his finger into Man B's chest and says "I don't like the color of your shirt!"
The tall, muscular man punches and kicks Man B until he is unconscious in the gutter. He is permanently brain damaged for life, and undergoes 10 years of physical therapy to regain the ability to walk.

Assuming that physical violence is never appropriate, other than in the case of self defense, is Man A or Man B more culpable for the injuries he sustained?

Just a little joke for the homebrew geeks out there.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleeping Through Spring - A New Life

I have returned with a new life.

I don't plan on posting a large amount of personal information on this blog. I feel like I have enough people in my life - through Facebook and other, real life venues - that I can adequately vent the often unoriginal frustrations I face. (traffic, red tape at the DMV, etc.)

I reserve my space here on the somewhat anonymous internet to talk about things I feel confidently enough to espouse as the Real Me. This also ties into the name of this blog and me - "Easily Enthused." Because when I discover a topic or issue that I don't feel that I've "got a handle on," I very quickly get enthusiastic about it, passionately arguing and discovering until I feel I've reached a resting place, metaphorically speaking.

This is my area to explore ideas and challenge common knowledge - and that doesn't really have much to do with my day-to-day life.

In the past few months I've been rather engaged in modern feminist movements. As a child and young adult, I was taught and saw the world in a rather post-feminist way. When I bumped heads with some women in the atheist movement regarding "women's voices," I was schooled in pre-conceived my post-feminism arguments were.

Before this time, when I heard some right-winger bashing feminism, they got the eye-roll and hand-wave. Terms like "man-hating" and "Marxist" were discounted out of hand by me.

But this new (to me) face of feminism (especially on the Web) forced me to admit to myself that not only did I have a pop-psy idea of feminism, but it was possible that in my life I had not listened to some people who might've had a good argument because they were dismissive of feminists. If the feminists that they were dismissing were the same radical feminists I'd bumped heads with - well maybe I had to reconsider all points of view.

This prompted me to create this site and to make a concerted effort to better understand modern Feminism. Irony of all ironies - this decision would come right before and as I made one of the most gender-oriented actions of my entire life: getting married (to a woman.)

Simply signing some papers and exchanging loops of metal wouldn't quite be ironic enough, so chance decided that my college-educated and gainfully employed now-wife would also be forced to quit her job and become a housewife (until she could find a new job in our new city.)

This change has some very obvious financial aspects that I won't bring up here: that's nothing new. But both my wife and I came to a startling conclusion after about two weeks of my 9-to-5 absence while she played the role of housewife.

Our relationship (going on 4 years now) has seen every type of stress related to "workload" there is.
At one point she was the college student, and I was the low-income-professional barely scrapping by.
At another, I was the well earning professional while she was off studying abroad in an open relationship.
Most recently, we were both well-earning professionals pampering our cat and spending too much on food that would rot in the bottom of the fridge.
But now, we play the role of well-earning professional and bored-at-home housewife - and it feels so odd.

Our responsibilities have been divided in a very simple way: I pay the bills and bring heavy things upstairs in our 3-floor townhome - she takes care of the cleaning, laundry and most food preparation.

Since I spend most waking hours in my office at work, I had to rely on my wife's opinion of how her day compared to the "working world."

Her response was shocking. I've said that my dream job is Househusband. I love to cook and although cleaning isn't my favorite thing to do, once I get started, I surprise myself at how satisfying it can be.

My wife's response to housewifing has been - mostly boredom. She has time during the day for a nap and she said that once we get into a grove (we're in a post-move mess right now) that the amount of work for her in a day doesn't add up to the amount of time she'll have to get it done. (That would change drastically if we had a child or pet, but we have neither at the moment.)

During a drive, we were discussing it and believe we've come to an answer: appliances. If she didn't have the benefit of the dishwasher, washer and dryer, stove that didn't need to be constantly stoked, etc.... taking care of a house would be a full-time job, and then some.

But as it stands right now - coming from a professional used to working 40+ hours a week, it just isn't. The argument is that second-wave feminism has more to thank from Kenmore than MacKinnon.

Luckily for me, my wife is a post-feminist. She, who graduated from a small liberal women's college after studying American Culture recognizes that her life is not so different from that of men - and certainly not so different that it makes her "oppressed as a class." It's easy for her to be thankful for the hard work of first and second wave feminists and to facepalm the arguments of modern, man-hating Marxist feminists.

I didn't know this (explicitly) before I married her - but I'm not surprised. I know she's smart.