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feminism 380x380 Have I betrayed the sisterhood?

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by LUCY CHESTERTON

It’s Sunday afternoon and as I write this sentence, the keyboard is twitching.

It’s not a hangover and thank the gods of alcohol it’s not, because I couldn’t cope with the actual cause if I was nursing a sore head.

It’s drilling.

My partner Matthew and I have just moved into our first place. And I thought becoming first-time homeowners would inspire a slew of posts about the quagmire of paperwork that comes with buying something as immovable as an actual HOUSE – made for real, live, HUMANS to live in and not an assortment of Barbie dolls who leave the plastic doors unlocked – or the complex rules of good-neighbour etiquette or even the imposter syndrome that you feel when you first start to play at being a Proper Grown Up.

Instead, what I want to write about is tea.

Because Matt and his dad are in there, drilling holes in our bathroom wall, causing my keyboard to tremble, and I have done nothing but ferry a few cups into our bathroom (a first, I should add. We don’t normally take our tea on the toilet).

You see, there’s a lot of renovation ahead of us. And I could not be less interested.

Sure, I want a lovely home to live in. And of course, I love Matt and I want to build a life with him. (See: BUYING AN ACTUAL HOUSE.) And I want to be the kind of person who patiently holds the cord of the drill while he marks something on the wall with a pencil and nods sagely and gets involved in the construction fun. But I can’t.

I’m much happier pottering around our ugly little kitchen making tea and rare roast beef sandwiches, carefully heated so the cheese just melts enough to take the chill out of their hardworking hands. I find satisfaction in feeding them almond biscotti, thoughtfully provided by Matt’s dad in classic hunter-gatherer mode. And I find a real thrill in retiring to this room to type merrily away and basically ignore the start of our renovation.

But the world doesn’t want it that way.

The world wants me to reject my gender role because it has kindly changed its very definition for me.

So now, I feel bad avoiding talk of angles. I feel guilty for being bored by the possibilities for the bathtub. I feel like I am betraying everything my feminist forerunners earned by skipping the sanding in favour of a bit of brownie baking. And this, I think, is the problem.

Somehow, the message has got a little twisted.  I feel like I should shun the sandwiches and enthusiastically take up the tiling while talking expertly around the stub of a pencil hanging off my lip.

But I don’t want to. So instead, I bake and wash. But I feel bad doing it, the cooking and the hanging out of clothes. Doing traditionally female things like scouring and sifting now leave me feeling I’m somehow less of a woman.

Of course, feminism stands for much more than who does the dishes. It’s given me the choice to play with the big boys, or to play with my dollies. And that is not to be underestimated.

But more and more I feel a strange guilt about being happy to starch a few shirts. As a career girl working in TV, I sometimes don’t want to tell my girlfriends about the satisfaction I get out of a great spag bol. There’s something dirty about admitting I dream about being barefoot and pregnant and throwing work to the wind. Something that says I should be horrified when a man opens a car door for me instead of secretly swooning.

And more and more I find myself throwing a damn football around with the rambunctious cousins at extended family BBQs when I truly suck at sports, and everyone, including me, would rather I stay safely on the sidelines putting out potato salad.

Lucy Chesterton is the entertainment reporter for Mornings on the Nine Network and starts work at a ridiculously early hour. You can find her on Twitter here.

What sort of traditionally female activities do you love? Are there some that you hate? Which traditionally male activities do you relish and what would you rather leave to the boys?

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