Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Fallen Breadwinner

Oh, boys and girls, women and men, and everything in between.  It's so tricky working together, isn't it?  Please excuse the heteronormitivity (and middle-classness) of the following - especially on this most colourful of weekends - but I want to talk about issues of male/female power dynamics here in a long round-about way.

Several things I've read and arguments I've mediated lately have to do with gender.  Which one wins?  How do we prop up the losers?  Why do we even care about helping the losers?  That sort of thing.

Most popular is the article by Anne-Marie Slaughter in The Atlantic:  "Why Women Still Can't Have It All."  It suggests men are winning in boardrooms and politics because dads don't do enough at home.  When push comes to shove, women have to step back from their careers to care for their little ones - and not-so-little ones as the author took a breather to get her teenager back on track.  This is not a new idea.  But it's one that just isn't substantially budging!  To fix the problem, men have to step up, but also our entire culture has to change to be geared towards helping women work by, basically, taking a greater hand in helping us raise our kids.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On Roommates

I've lived with many people over the years.  I think about 30.  There were a few housefuls of friends in the mix, and many more pairings.  I think everyone should spend a year or two in a crowded house with people you loved at the start of it all.  It's a valuable learning experience to discover your own needs and desires.  I also think everyone should live completely alone for a year or two.  Then you can find out what messes likely were yours after all.

One of my favourite houses was a place I lived in the summer of '84.  I had been living in a cockroach-infested apartment with a friend, and we got evicted for having a party.  We wouldn't have been, but the landlord lived in the basement apartment, and one of our guests made the foolish decision to pee on his window.  And it was open.  They gave me a day to get out - which is illegal - but I left for a friend's couch anyway.  Then, later in the month, five of my buddies and I found a sublet to rent for the summer.  There were holes in the walls, but that was fine by us.  One of the guys wanted the place clean, but we soon convinced him to let loose for maybe the last time.  I turned 19 there.