Again, it’s late at night (1.49AM, so technically it’s the wee hours of the morning) and I am still up. What happened to my ardent vow to be asleep by 11PM?
I really wanted to finish reading Communion: The Female Search for Love by bell hooks. I usually don't have time to read during the week and it seems that the time before I sleep is when I get most of my reading done these days, so I took the opportunity.
Communion has been an interesting book. I don’t think I read much about love – at least not much that critically examines women’s quest for love, in a very different way from the fluffy way that many women’s magazines do (though, admittedly, some women’s mags do some good write-ups too). The book has made me think about my ideas of love. It’s funny how when you are young you instinctively know what you want out of life. You know your likes and your dislikes. You may not be able to properly articulate why you feel the way you do, but still many of those feelings run deep.
I have always known that I wanted a partnership in which my significant other and I work together in harmony (I think that’s the best way to sum it up). That ideal never really changed as I grew older. It has only been recently, moving back home, that I have started to wonder if I am unrealistic in my expectations. The general consensus here seems to be that the woman will always do more. Accept it and move on. This acceptance will, at least, spur you on to find ways to cope with it i.e. hire nannies and house-helps, take on a less demanding job or be prepared not to work for a few years, etc.
To me, these are really not good enough because they don’t address the real issue, which is the underlying assumption that women should do more.
bell hooks says that It is a mark of the failure of feminist thinking to change the dominant patriarchal notion that in every relationship there is a dominant and a submissive party. It seemed that for a while, many feminists advocated a turning of the tables, so that women ruled the roosts over men. In many parts of Africa, that would be incredibly hard work and, to me, totally unnecessary. Working together in partnership should be the ideal that we strive for rather than a hierarchy with one person at the top and the other at the bottom.
Mutuality, like love itself, must come through work. Wise women know that the happiest, most fulfilling committed partnerships … are those in which mutuality is the core value, in which the spiritual growth and development of each individual matters.
Mutuality is a great word, by the way.