Hey remember when women were treated like property and couldn't own land, hold jobs, or vote, and their only option for survival was to find a husband? Yeah, those days were super shitty. Which is why the following marriage advice, doled out by a conservative blogger, made me want to pull my hair out.
Lori Alexander, who runs a blog called "Always Learning," recently posted a handwritten note to her Facebook page about the roles of men and women in matrimony. It's now been shared more than 58,000 times—and when you read it, you'll see why.
Alexander starts with an innocuous question: "Do you expect your husband to help w/ household chores?" But her answer quickly becomes as outdated as an abacus.
"If you do, you won't have a great marriage because expectations destroy relationships," she writes. Which is ironic, considering the whole post is a list of expectations for wifely duties. But whatever, please continue:
If he helps great, and if not do your housework cheerfully as unto the Lord. Remember you didn't marry your husband to help w/ the household chores. You married him to be your protector and provider. You should also have married him because you deeply loved him, wanted to be a great help meet to him, and to make his life better, not worse and put more burdens on his shoulders that he already had to carry in providing for his family. Make his life as easy and happy as you can! <3
Obviously this post sparked outrage—the "angry" Facebook reaction was heavily used. Many commenters rightfully pointed out that both men and women work today and contribute to a household's finances, so both partners should contribute to housework as well. To this argument, Alexander responds that women should still take on the brunt of the housework because—get this—men suck at it.
I mean, c'mon. One moment she's praising her husband as a protector and provider and the next she's saying he's not even capable of washing dishes? A chore many parents assign to their 8-year-olds? As another commenter pointed out, "If a man doesn't want to clean or help then I hope the door doesn't get him on the way out. My husband and I BOTH work and BOTH clean. Being a husband is not an excuse to be a little boy." Preach, girl!
While some readers did praise Alexander with comments such as "I love this," most chided her. In fact, one glorious woman wrote, "This lady is living in a cloud and farts fairy dust."
All of this being said, I feel empathy for Alexander. She has a right to her opinion and a right to manage her marriage the way she wants. She runs a small blog seemingly directed at like-minded conservative Christian women—so who am I to judge, when all she's doing is sharing her thoughts with an audience who want to hear them? It's not her fault the post went viral.
But then Alexander decided to write another post on her blog, boasting about the anger she induced. The more I read, the more my empathy waned:
Yes, I had a post go viral. It didn't go viral because the women loved what I said in the post. It was because they hated it and it made them angry. What was this evil post? … Just sixty years ago, I could write this same post and it would be received as normal living for women … Their husbands were the ones working hard outside of the home providing a living. The women were working hard inside of the home for the family. They all knew their place in the family.
She goes on to defend her viral post and vilify feminism, claiming it ruined the world and arguing that birth control is the evil of all evils. In fact, she refers to both of these things as "Satanic inventions" and urges women to fight against them:
So my question to you, Christian women, is why have you allowed Satanic inventions to influence your life? … I hate birth control because of what it has caused—the long term consequences of it, namely 58 million babies slaughtered in the womb. I fault the feminist movement for all of the children being raised by strangers instead of their mothers, plus all of the divorces that have been perpetuated upon marriages, the confusion of roles in marriage, and the extreme wing that wants to see no differences between men and women.
But, here's my larger issue with the whole thing: Alexander wants us to go back to a time when women weren't allowed to be anything except wives and mothers. Which is fine, she can want that all she wants. But what she can't do is prevent other women from not wanting that. Or tell women that if they aren't housewives they're going to hell (which she does frequently).
The whole point of feminism is to give women choice. If a woman wants to be a housewife and mother, great. If a woman wants to be a CEO—also great. The point is just to ensure that she isn't shackled by a system working against her.
In the era in which Alexander is glorifying—basically the 1950s and earlier—many women couldn't leave their husbands, even if they were unhappy or emotionally and physically abused. They were stuck—powerless and financially insolvent. Alexander may feel otherwise, but I'm damn glad to be living in an era when it's not only appropriate but celebrated to enter into a marriage full of only the highest expectations.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.