Why do we women accept these “Helper”, “Caregiver” roles for ourselves without questioning it?
This news bit that cropped up in Canada lately about Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau needing help to ‘serve the people’ annoyed me when I heard it.
1. WE AREN’T A SUPER RICH AND/OR POWERFUL COUNTRY
We are Canadians. I don’t know if anyone has noticed but Canada is not exactly a world leader anywhere. We’re the afterthought and only because we are north of the U.S. and their largest trading partner.
Not only that, we Canadians are teetering on the edge of economic collapse and our debt is soaring to $1.65 of debt for every $1 of DISPOSABLE INCOME.
I’d like to not spend money on superfluous things and see whether we can cut the fat in the government and FIRE PEOPLE (the Senate, anyone?) rather than hiring MORE overhead.
2. SHE HAS NO OBLIGATION TO DO EVERYTHING
You don’t need to go to all of these charities.
They should be helping YOU to go to them to lend your name, your cachet and your prestige to the event to champion the cause.
So if they aren’t paying you to go to them, they should AT LEAST be the ones offering you help in writing speeches, childcare, WHATEVER it takes to get you there.
Even with non-profits, we fall under the false assumption that we should be super altruistic and do it for the good of the charity, but let’s do a quick reality check here and realize that even the members of a charitable organization get paid a salary to run it.
They don’t do it for free if they can’t afford it.
They don’t live off rice and beans, wearing cardboard as clothing so that they can work for that charity, now do they? We don’t expect them to, so why are they expecting Sophie to head over there and help them for free?
Why not ask some random housewife with 3 children in your neighbouring area to help give a speech instead?
It’s because she’s the wife of the Prime Minister.
So if that has any value, why don’t you help to do it?
I am 100% certain that Michelle Obama doesn’t say yes to everything.
She picks, chooses, and does what SHE wants to support and help like making sure children eat better food in schools, getting fit and fighting obesity, empowering women, and championing THOSE causes.
Priorities, Sophie. Choose what you stand for in life, and fight for it.
3. WHAT ABOUT OTHER WOMEN?
Plenty of mothers hold down full-time jobs, with zero help with 3+ children & then they come home and are expected to do it all at home too.
I am not putting them on a pedestal and advocating them as paragons of virtue, but a lot of mothers out there do it, for better or for worse, without any help from their partners.
(I am luckily not in that category, mine really helps a lot..)
Let’s not even mention the single mothers who have to do it alone.
Why doesn’t she put that into perspective that she is the role model for Canadian women, and accept that she already has one aide?
I think she already has one aide and TWO nannies to manage her 3 children, and no obligation to work a full-time job to bring in money which is more than what most women have?
That should be more than enough to make sure that she can attend these trips, dinners and events as the wife of the Prime Minister, and that I feel was a necessary expense and completely justified to give her help at home in the form of nannies.
But to demand a full working staff? You’re only married to the man for goodness sake.
4. SHE HAS NO OFFICIAL TITLE OR ROLE EXPECTED OF HER
As the wife of a Prime Minister, she is not the First Lady, like Michelle Obama (FLOTUS) which is an unofficially accepted official title given to the wife of POTUS.
There are no rules, duties, official obligations or anything associated with her position.
She has no need to create her own political or social profile as anyone more than the wife, and because she is trying to be this Yummy Political Mummy, it is why she is being asked to do things like interviews with fashion magazines and so on.
But really, by far and away, my greatest annoyance is directed to this fact:
WOMEN, PLEASE STOP ACCEPTING THE ROLE OF ‘HELPER OF THE SUCCESSFUL ONE‘
I see and hear this a lot.
“I am helping my husband”, or “I need to run the household so that my husband / partner can succeed”.
Go for it.
… but I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that men feel absolutely ZERO OBLIGATION to pigeonhole themselves into the role of “Helper Of The Successful One”.
Look at Hillary and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton, if Hillary wins and becomes Madame President, will likely become an informal advisor to his wife.
Not a helper.
An informal advisor.
Can we women please willingly stop putting ourselves into second-class positions and pigeonholing ourselves into supporting second acts rather than being the leader or the actual star by trotting out the Helper argument?
If Sophie really wants to make a difference, become an unofficial advisor to your husband on women’s issues and family issues, and then make it clear you want to run for Prime Ministership after he’s done so that you can clean house.
Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial
I’m really confused by Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau hate (not from you in particular but just what I’ve seen around the interwebs). At least, south of the border, my understanding is her reaching out for additional caregiving help was, in part, a means to bring into discourse the issue of mothers needing assistance + it not being affordable?
As an American, I actually find it EXTREMELY weird and off-putting that HRC said she’d put Bill in an informal advisory role. I’m still going to vote for her, mind you, but it reads as, “Hey, men, you liked my husband so vote for me and get 8 more years of him!” which is super distasteful and regressive to me because HRC could stand on her own two feet as an effective politician without touting a former-president husband.
Re HRC: I actually find really normal about Bill being an advisor. I would totally make my husband my informal advisor. I mean, we could hardly call him the “FMOTUS” right?
I sort of love this power couple dynamic. My husband is my sounding board, even if I do my own thing and make my own decisions. I mean, I’d rather discuss it with him over dinner and stress the pros and cons of a situation than over a cup of coffee with a girlfriend, mostly because he is my “best” friend. It’s nice to know that you can rely on somebody who, while is more or less impartial in a situation, is most certainly on your side.
Re Sophie Trudea: Learn to say no is very smart advice. I feel like she’s a bit in her own world, where she would like to do more than be “the wife”, and raise her own profile a bit, but wants to do so on taxpayers money, which, I don’t know, sounds a bit greedy. By all means, do more and be more if you want to, but don’t ask anyone else to pay for it, or if you do, do use GoFundMe first :).
$1.65 of debt for every $1 of DISPOSABLE INCOME.???? Ouch, Canada, maybe it’s you who really needs that crowdfunding campaign. Or start taxing all those Americans who will move north once Donald Trump gets elected.