There’s No Privilege, Only Class.

First of all, let’s get our definitions straight.

Privilege: An unearned advantage given to a group or individual based on characteristics beyond their control.

Benevolent Discrimination: A benefit given to a group or individual for adhering to certain parameters that restrict their freedom. May offer an advantage or merely level the field in that area.

Class: A social structure where the population is divided into categories based on their material, social and genetic wealth.

Financial Classes: Divide caused by income. Include Upper, Middle, Lower and Welfare.

Social Classes: Divide caused by social roles. Include Governing/Ruling, Enforcing, Aristocratic, Bourgeois, Working and Slaves.

Function Classes: Divide caused by social dependence. Include Free and Dependent.

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And for the record I am not a Marxist or even left-leaning. Sometimes people make excellent observations and come up with very poor solutions.

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So, seeing as there are so many nuances to racism, agism, homophobia or transphobia, let’s work with a supposed case of systemic privilege  that is fairly clear cut: sexism. The core definition of sexism is merely discrimination against someone due to their (perceived) gender. Some feminists would further restrict this definition to state that sexism can only be institutional, therefore individuals can only be sexist on behalf of the institution and any sexism against the institutional balance is merely individual discrimination. I shall humour this, but being such a wishy-washy definition, I shall further specify it. Individual sexism (little “s”) is where an individual acts in favour of or against an entire gender or another individual based on gender, whereas institutional Sexism big “S”) is where the Governing or Enforcing class act in favour of or against an entire gender, or where an individual or a group of people act against an entire gender or an individual based on gender and their actions are condoned, enforced or promoted by the Governing or Enforcing class. This specification avoids the circular logic present in the original argument, whereby it is proven women are victims as the sexism experienced is institutionalized, where no evidence is provided to said institutionalization except that “women experience institutional sexism and men don’t” or that “misogyny is institutionalized”. Instead, where the Governing and Enforcing classes do not promote, enforce or condone a behaviour, it shall be considered an individual act. And if you have a problem with the rule of majority or with the majority’s choice of cultural or social behaviours, then maybe you should reconsider whether you wish for free-agency or democracy before you start calling the majority a governing institution that needs correcting.

Moving on.

So firstly we have an interesting comparison between Gender Privilege and Benevolent Sexism. The given narrative is that as men are the privileged group, the sexism they benefit from is Institutional, Bona-Fide Sexism at the expense of women, whereas as women are the oppressed group, the sexism they benefit from is merely Benevolent Discrimination that hurts nobody and often further oppresses women. Of course, we would need to prove that. Within the standard narrative, belief in female oppression justifies belief in women as an oppressed class, which justifies belief in men as oppressors, which justifies belief in female oppression. Of course, this argument in practice is weak at best and circular at worst. So, how about we break the circle and instead use the cleaned up definition, that focuses exclusively on Governing and Enforcing actions to determine Institutionality and on whether the benefit is liberating or oppressive to determine discrimination? Well, then we have an interesting result, it turns out that men are also oppressed by the Governing and Enforcing classes. This is often rephrased as “the Patriarchy hurts men too”, but it isn’t quite so simple. For there to be an Institutional System all men benefit from, then all men should benefit from it. Instead, we find that the men who are hurt by the Governing and Enforcing classes do not, in fact, receive compensation or another form of privilege from said classes. For example, if we were to argue the existence of a Patriarchal rape culture, then men would almost exclusively benefit where domestic violence and rape are taken to court and reviewed by the Enforcers. In reality, male perpetrators of statutory rape get worse sentences, punished even when both individuals were under age or when the sex is legal but any acts on the side are not, whereas victims of women pedophiles more likely to be disbelieved than trusted and female perpetrators can even claim child support off the victim; whether the victim or the perpetrator, the male in any domestic violence case is more likely to be arrested, despite there being 0.8m annual cases of domestic violence where men are victims,shockingly close to the 1.2m where women are; in false-rape allegations there is often no consequence to the libelerin actual male-on-female rape cases the perpetrator is almost always incarcerated for a very long period of time and kept on a registry to prevent future violations (hence why rape is down 85% since the 70s), whereas female-on-male cases are viewed as hard to argue due to legal definitions and sentences are lenient, despite the fact that even asking a female alleged rape victim to provide evidence is viewed as too much by some and that her word should always be taken at face-value. No, the system isn’t perfect. Yes, cases of past trauma or escalation are hard to tackle in court. But, on the whole, as men are perceived as inherently strong and violent and have, as far as we’re aware, committed most rapes historically, the law responds by being harsher on men than on women. In other words, depending on your perspective, the Governing and Enforcing classes are either acting appropriately (if you believe that men’s historically higher rape, assault and violence figures are grounds for unequal treatment) or overwhelmingly against men (if you believe all humans should be treated equally regardless of perceived gender and historical crime rates). Likewise, if you look at most cases of unequal treatment you see an even spread, where generally the treatment is different, but equally damaging, but where the treatment occasionally favours either group based on (perceived, real, stereotyped or politically correct) assumptions about their traits and past habits.

However, what about those cases where a man gets a short sentence, a wrist-slap, for a crime he obviously committed? Or where a woman is portrayed as inciting violence, despite a lack of evidence? Well, these cases tend to involve high-profile, respected or loved, incredibly wealthy men and a woman who is lower-profile, less respected, loved or known or less wealthy. In cases where such a man commits any crime, the sentence is normally lenient, especially if the victims are not as important as them. In cases where a high-profile, respected or loved, incredibly wealthy woman commits a crime, again, the sentence is lenient. In cases where the female victim is higher profile, more respected, loved or known or wealthier, the sentence is usually higher, often proportionate to the man’s own respect, profile and wealth. In short, upper class men get an unfair advantage, not based on their masculinity, but based on their power, status and wealth. It isn’t Sexism, it’s just power and wealth buying a get-out-of-jail-free card for whomever desires to commit a crime against a “lesser” human.

However, lest we throw the baby out with the bathwater, it is important to admit that the class structure does benefit some over others. Class discrimination is designed to favour the most powerful and allow them to retain their power. In Western society we have progressed from a capitalist society to a plutocratic one. This means that the main factor in determining class is wealth. A way of determining how true this is, is that people can move from one Social or Function class to another, but only within their income bracket, whereas if you remain wealthy your Social and Function class is almost guaranteed. Therefore, simply be becoming wealthy, you can guarantee yourself a permanent place in the Aristocratic and Independent classes, with a greater possibility of joining the Enforcing or the Governing classes than that afforded to the poor. However, when a wealthy person loses their money, regardless of prior fame and independence, they soon become dependent and, if like with some athletes they have also lost their means of making money, are stripped of their social class. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the cycling in and out of politicians and celebrities.

Therefore, the group of people that class discrimination will protect are the wealthy first and foremost. Those who are socially powerful or independent always fall before the wealthy classes and wealth can buy you power and independence. And, as a plutocratic society develops from the inheritance systems of a capitalist society, this means that money generally stays in families. The West was built on the successes of the Age of Empires, the period spanning from the 1600s right to the middle of the 20th century, reaching it’s pinnacle with the Victorian Empire and British Commonwealth. So important were the Empires to the foundation of the Western World that even ex-colonies are still financially, politically and socially tied with their original owners. And the British Empire, the largest and most influential of all, lives on across the World. Americanization is merely a continuation of the Anglicization that started in the 1600s. The Commonwealth is still viewed as important even though we cast it aside in favour of the European Union. English language, ideas and people are the foundation of our technological and medical advances, even when these are now carried out by countries that could easily become independent. So, if class discrimination in a plutocratic society means keeping wealth in the family and in the country, then modern class discrimination would result in an abundance of wealthy men, of White and Jewish descent, of American and British culture and education, who were walked through their education and integration into society with a silver spoon between their lips. Which is exactly the case. They are not powerful because modern society favours men. They are powerful because modern society favours the able-bodied, heterosexual, first born sons of wealthy and socially influential people. Outside of the Upper Classes, being a man offers no surplus of advantages, rather, it offers a few advantages and a few disadvantages, just like being a woman. If the Upper Classes wanted to favour men, we wouldn’t see people needing to fight to move outside their financial and social class. Wealth being their defining characteristic, the Upper Classes (Governing, Enforcing and Aristocratic, in social terms) would simply offer money and jobs directly to men who met the criteria. Who would get in the way of the people who, collectively, own the banks, the big corporations, the farms, the military and the land? It would be easy for them to overwhelmingly and openly favour men. No, they won’t favour men outside their own class for one simple reason: half the world’s population is male. Even using very liberal statistics for what constitutes a disabled person, a queer person or a transgender person, around 45% of the world’s population still makes the cut. And in Western countries, where at the least about half of the population is White, that gives us 22.5% of the population who would be “privileged”. That is 71,325,000 people in the USA. 14,422,500 in the UK. That’s far too many people for the Upper Classes to share their wealth and power with. That would allow for massive social mobility, a worse chance for their descendants, enough people to need a democratic vote. And preservation of the status quo is not a democratic thing.

However, modern ideologies completely ignore this. They go one of two ways. Either they look for a scapegoat and then do nothing but complain, or they fight against a scapegoat someone else has found for them. In the first case they appear to do nothing. And, on an individual level, this is true. However, as a group they further beliefs about said scapegoat and encourage others to adopt the scapegoat. Neo-Nazis pick Jews, Communists pick Capitalists, the poor pick the police and the police pick the criminals. And by far the most widely accepted scapegoat is the White, heterosexual man. This makes sense because whenever we look at the rich and powerful, whenever we look at those who make and enforce the law, that is what we see. Capitalists, criminals, enforcers, Jews, Whites, men, heterosexuals. However, as discussed, extending this supposed “privilege” to the rest of society doesn’t work out. It is only the wealthy that run the show. And the reason these scapegoats aren’t actively refuted? Well, then somebody might start wondering who is actually to blame for an unjust law, for a violent assault, for poverty. As long as the population finds its own red-herrings, then the ruling class won’t need to plant any information, enforce any obedience or be seen to hurt anyone. The use of these scapegoats is not opposed or attacked by the ruling elite because the ruling elite benefits from their existence. And if that isn’t the very definition of something being condoned by the Enforcing class, I don’t know what is.

The other advantage of the scapegoats is that they rest somewhere between visible and intangible. There are enough people of various races, faiths, social groups, political sets, etc, for most people to see them, to read about them, to talk about them. Looking at men and women, we will almost certainly have a daily reminder of the existence of both. However, when we latch onto a scapegoat we turn a broad category of people into an intangible thing. Using the example of men and women, we are to believe there is an intangible, unobservable Patriarchy that benefits all men, especially White and straight men, bar the one or two we know personally to not benefit from it. It is assumed, though few people have had the complete social experience of both genders, that all else being equal men have it better and women have it worse. That a man who fails had more advantages, or enough distinct advantages to give him an edge over a woman who fails. That a man who succeeds should have his success questioned. That a woman who succeeds, even through “positive discrimination”, is infallible. We can at once blame an entire gender for the current problems suffered by the lower classes, without having any evidence linking said entire gender to the cause of those problems. We just assume, based on the mistaken belief that, were everything left alone, the whole world would be equal, therefore every difference is more evidence for discrimination. An example of how far South those assumptions can go is when angry, poor, White youth attackl poor Jewish property owners under the assumption that, the banking system having been created and maintained by Jews, all Jews must be in on it and all of them must be to blame. Another example is how juries on average give women lenient sentences for the same crime that a man generally gets severely punished for, or when Communists and Anarchists damage franchise property at great expense to the community and little expense to the company.

But what do all these examples have in common? Well, not only are they misguided people using a scapegoat to blame for their problems, but the victims or the people most hurt are usually people of their own Financial class. Black and White youth on welfare are more likely to be angry or aggressive towards each other than towards wealthier or more powerful members of their own or the other’s race. Working class Nazis are more likely to assault working class Jews than people in the actual banking systems or the media. Middle class radical feminists are more likely to attack or unjustly treat middle class men than politicians or military higher-ups. In short, not only do we scapegoat a whole group of people, but the red herrings we victimize are more likely to be people exactly like us. People who live near us, who went to our same university, who work with us, who go out for drinks with us, who’ve faced the same struggles as us, who’ve seen the same horrors as us, who have the same fears as us. When a modern ideology chooses a scapegoat, regardless of how few people believe in it, it can still impact those who are close to us and make them vulnerable. It is highly unlikely to impact those who can and do actually hurt us. However, oblivious to this, the followers of modern ideologies seek a redistribution of power within their class confines. The men want the slight advantages women have: assumed parental custody, right to determine reproduction, freedom to choose military service, assumed moral integrity. The women want the slight advantages men have: assumed loyalty in social and work settings, freedom of expression, assumption of sanity, respect for biological urges. And both sides largely blame the other for their situation. After all, if a young woman is viewed as an impermanent employee and therefore overlooked for promotion, and a man is free to wear whatever he wants on a night out and besides dress-codes is treated the same as any other man, then surely the men are privileged and part of the system preventing women’s promotion? Of if a man is forced to pay child support for a child he is no longer legally allowed to see, and a woman is free to pass over the draft, then surely the women are privileged and part of the system preventing men’s reproductive choice? In reality, however, whilst these legal differences need to be addressed, the system that creates them is neither Patriarchal or Matriarchal. It is Plutocratic. Why is a woman who is young and fertile passed over for promotion? Assuming all things are equal, she could someday get pregnant, take maternity leave or even have a  few years out of work, leaving the company with a senior role to fill and a lot of money wasted on training and certificates. Why is a man who cannot see his children given the responsibility of paying to support them? Assuming he desires to surrender his children, that would leave a single mother who cannot afford to get a full-time job due to childcare costs, bonding time and other problems, who will need State support at some time or another to guarantee that child does not suffer. Taking the money away from a citizen is better than giving full responsibility to the State. The Plutocracy demands a constant flow of money from the hands of the poor into the pockets of the rich, with a slight trickle back down to keep the poor working and spending.

However, most modern ideologies fail to grasp this. Why? Because the scapegoats are both present and intangible. “Indians” are both people you know and a vague, elusive group. The Upper Classes, however, are invisible and intangible. Besides the figureheads (current celebrities, top politicians) and the few who appear in the news (either in a fall from grace or as exemplary citizens), we know of very few of them. In fact, besides one or two political figures and a handful of celebrities, how many of the aristocratic, ruling and enforcing classes can you name? How often do you see them outside of the news? They aren’t a real presence in your life. Therefore, we assume they’re as fictional and unimportant as Johnny Bravo or Ramona Flowers. Or we assume that their power somehow fits into our world view. Did you know, the Rothschilds are Jews, therefore Jews must be the problem. Philip Hammond is a man, therefore men must be the problem. Constance Briscoe is a woman, therefore women must be the problem. And hey, Obama’s Black or mixed-race, a Man and heterosexual, so take your pick.

However, if we completely disregard our red herrings and look at the actual suffering of real people, as broken down by class, we see the more disturbing pattern. Are Black girls’ rapes more often unreported or dismissed? Or is it the rape of Poor children in poor, underprotected neighbourhoods? Are White men more likely to shoot Black men? Or do the Enforcing classes create laws and employ the Bourgeois and Working classes to suppress, terrorize and cull the Poor, Welfare and Criminal classes? Are East Asians being elevated to “model minority” status by the “secret society to keep money White”? Or are East Asians bringing more money with them whenever they migrate and passing down more money to each generation, and writers trying to adjust this into their narrative? Is the glass ceiling holding ambitious women back? Or is the Aristocratic class open only to those who are willing to conform and maintain the status quo?

Likewise, there is a correlation (though not as strong), between being in the Dependent class and being hurt in a manner that is condoned, enforced and promoted by the Governing and Enforcing classes. In other words, if you are Upper Class, but your income and safety still depends on a few individuals rather than on your entire class, those whom you depend upon and those on good terms with them will cause you harm and attempt to evict you from the Upper Classes. Almost everyone outside the Upper Classes is dependent on them. Within the social classes generally the Governing and Enforcing classes hold most of the power, whereas only a few Aristocrats and Bourgeois do.

However, this leads to a final conclusion. If men from the Bourgeois class are given slight advantages over women from the Bourgeois class, if the women also receive slight advantages and if these advantages do not promote social mobility or eliminate their disadvantages, then what both groups experience is, where enforced, condoned or promoted, Benevolent Sexism. A man who gets a promotion because he’s unlikely to get pregnant, yet is still at the beck and call of the company, wholly dependent on the Upper Classes and checked by a number of disadvantages designed to keep him dependent is not benefiting from a universal Patriarchal structure. He is being given a reward for accepting his burden and continuing to pass money up to the Upper Classes. Likewise, when a wealthy, Free woman is caught with a vast amount of drugs and her alleged male dealer is sent to prison whereas she is on house arrest for a week, she is not being subjugated by Benevolent Sexism, rather, she is receiving Unearned Class Privilege.

But, whilst the money trail needs to be followed to see where the power is, that doesn’t mean obtaining power lies in the acquisition of money. As I said earlier, you can be Upper Class and stripped of your Aristocracy, or rich Bourgeois and living a life of dependence. Class mobility isn’t so simple as obtaining wealth. Oftentimes we focus on employment and income as the only way of redistributing wealth, assuming that if we redistribute it enough, eventually the power will be  pried away from the current upper classes and evenly spread out. As if that would be allowed to happen. As I’ve explained, the main purpose of the current Plutocracy is to keep the wealthy wealthy. When money is power, the powerful make more money. Sure, you may be able to climb. But living on an income of 300k is more expensive than on one of 250k. And there will always be a limiter, something to stop you from passing through to the top unless you plan on maintaining the status quo.

Therefore, modern ideologies’ focus is wrong. Their focus on money creates a sense of despair combined with a belief that you can make it and defeat the status quo if you only try. Their focus on the narratives of gender, race, sexuality, etc creates infighting within each class, inhibiting social mobility and allowing everybody to continue earning and spending for the Upper Classes. In fact, presenting yourself as a victim is considered more reward-worthy than trying to improve your lot. Victims give the media an example to use, to prove the scapegoat real. Victims create conflict and tension and lead to long debates about whether women are oppressing men or men are oppressing women. So we follow the usual narrative of blaming a broad category of people and an invisibly system, all whilst holding our Rulers and Enforcers up as either the ringleaders of this invisible group or as exemplary human beings who have transcended our sinful nature and escaped discrimination.

But perhaps, if our apples are going missing and our neighbour’s apples are going missing: someone else is stealing the apples.

How To… make an apron.

First of all, my apologies for the lack of updates. I’ve been unwell, so writing hasn’t been a priority.

 

I’m starting a new category. “How To…” will cover anything to do with running and maintaining a home, from the bare basics, to the advanced, to the rural, to the urban, to the curiosities; from cooking, to DIY, to learning languages, to painting. Anything and everything to keep a house beautiful and efficient.

 

The first installment is aprons. Why? Well, I needed one and I wanted to look adorable in it as well as make it suited to the way I cook, easy to clean and easy to mend, so I decided to make it on my own. It isn’t difficult at all and if you’re not too bothered about looking cute and adding frills and you own a solid sewing machine you’re skilled with, you could knock one out every hour.

First of all we need to understand the anatomy of an apron. It should cover your front and your thighs, as high up and as low down as flour gets when you’re baking. As I like high-neck tops and tend to put my hands to my face far too often, mine needed to be pretty much from collarbone to just below mid-thigh, but some of you will probably be tidy enough to make a smaller or lower cut one. The apron will tie around the neck and waist for maximum security. This gives us four basic pieces: the body and the skirt, that will make up the bulk, and two strips as the neck and waist. Depending on your needs you can add more straps, pockets and decoration.

For mine I went with two-tone: patterned pink and soft black with two waist straps, one neck strap and a pocket. Pink body, pink picket, black skirt and straps. I also used contrasting stitching: black on pink and pink on black, and added lace to the hem and neckline of the apron.

STEPS.

0: Select your fabrics, threads and trimmings! Do a sketch to get an idea what you want.

1: Measure out, and shape your body and skirt.

2: Attach the body to the skirt.

3: Cut some strips of fabric for the waist a little longer than you need them and just over twice as wide. Fold them over and stitch all around for a strong strap.

4: Cut a strip of fabric for the neck a little longer than you need and just over twice as wide. Fold over, stitch all around.

5: Attach the straps to the apron.

6: Cut any pockets and attach them.

7: Add trimmings.

Here’s my one:

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Fit Friday XI.

So apparently I deal really badly with high volumes of work. Managed to get a throat bug, something that gave me chills and night sweats and also an infection in what would normally be called a tiny amount of damage in my toe. A couple of days of lies in, taking it easy from online tutoring and student hunting, antibiotics for the toe and keeping to the bare minimum of housework has helped a great deal and I’m almost 100% now.

It has, however, given me time to organize a weights schedule that fits in with Jon’s new one. On Mondays I do back and arms, on Wednesdays shoulders and rowing machine, on Fridays chest and yoga, on Saturdays legs and yoga. We also have a 30-120 second break limit between reps or sets and are pushing the weights back up. So once I’m all better I should be back on track.

Been eating well, but fatloss has gone out the window with the reintegrated weight-gain weight-lifting program and the illness. Back to low-calorie and low-carb days every other day for a couple of weeks after I’m better, though.

Planning to stick to my new routine for the next week.

And thanks to RPW I’m now listening to a mix of the Andrews Sisters’ music.

WWW. THREE Banana Recipes and Chicken-Stuffed Veg.

Three? Yes, three! I found around 2kg of bananas for 80p, but they were already brown and we all know that brown bananas means baking!

Also, due to time and work issues, we’re returning to the “tradition” of a simple roast dinner on a Tuesday, improved upon for Wednesday.

Without further ado, here are my three banana recipes, all quickly mixed and easily baked!

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Recipe 1: Chunky Banana Bread.

I’ve been getting a little bored of my more smooth breads and tried making one that, rather than having much added to it, was simply chock full of banana chunks. It’s heavenly.

Ingredients:

-4 soft bananas

-350g flour and raising agents

-water as needed

-pinch of salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl, spoon and fork

-greased or nonstick loaf tin

Recipe:

1: Mash the bananas.

2: Mash in the flour.

3: Stir in the water until the mix is pourable.

4: Pour into the tray and bake at 200C for 45min.

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Recipe 2: Peanut Butter Banana Biscuits.

Four ingredients. Vegan. Delicious.

Ingredients:

-3 soft bananas

-300-400g peanut butter

-100g almond butter

-2tbsp plain flour

Utensils:

-mixing bowl, fork

-greased or nonstick baking tray

-spoon

Recipe:

1: Mash the bananas.

2: Mix in the butters.

3: Stir in the flour until stiff.

4: Spoon onto the tray.

5: Bake at 200C for 40min.

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Recipe 3: Banana Cream Puff Tart.

Ingredients:

-3 soft bananas

-3 whole eggs

-400ml double cream

-2tbsp flour

Utensils:

-mixing bowl, fork

-greased baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mash the bananas.

2: Mix in the eggs.

3: Add the cream and flour, stir until smooth.

4: Pour into the tray.

5: Bake until it rises. Leave in the oven for a further 15min.

6: Remove and cool.

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And finally our lunch. Chicken-Stuffed Vegetables with Gravy.

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Recipe 1: Gravy.

Ingredients:

-100-150g chicken scraps

-200ml chicken jelly and fat

-2tsp paprika

-2tsp pepper

-hot water

-flour as needed (I recommend rice flour)

Utensils:

-jug

-blender

Recipe:

1: Tear up the chicken scraps. Place them in the jug with the jelly and fat.

2: Pour boiling water to cover. Add pepper and paprika.

3: Blend all together.

4: Slowly incorporate flour whilst blending until it’s thick.

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Recipe 2: Stuffed Vegetables.

Ingredients:

-2 peppers

-bottom of a marrow

-1 cooked chicken breast and 1 leg, or 2 breasts

-roast potatoes

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Halve the peppers and the marrow bottom. Clean out the seeds.

2: Fill with roast potatoes and chicken.

3: Bake at 180C until the chicken and potatoes are crisp and the marrow and peppers are soft.

4: Sprinkle with salt and serve with gravy.

WWW. Lemon Salmon and Mixed-Fruit Pie.

One hen is ill, the other is stressed. If they don’t resume laying soon it’s vets or put them down ourselves. Doesn’t discourage me from getting more as we were aware that ex-bats can have issues, but is a bit annoying. Depending on how they do I may write a review on how it went. We’re still looking for pullets that are unlikely to have as many issues as ex-bats.

Anyhow, today for lunch we had this.

Lemon Salmon Fry.

Ingredients:

(serves 2)

-2 salmon filets

-200g broccoli florets

-3 small carrots

-1 bell pepper

-100ml double cream

-1tbsp tahina

-1/8tbsp crushed chilis

-150ml lemon juice

-1/2tsp ginger

-1tsp pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

-cup and fork/whisk

Recipe:

1: Finely slice the carrots, pepper and broccoli. Pan-fry in a little butter.

2: Mix the lemon, tahina, chili and ginger in a cup.

3: Slice the salmon into strips. Add to the pan carefully, so it won’t disintegrate.

4: Once the salmon is sealed, pour the lemon mix over the top. Simmer until reduced.

5: Add the cream. Reduce further.

6: Right before serving, add the pepper and heat through.

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Mixed Fruit Pie.

I used home-made jams and elderberries and raspberries, but really any two fruit jams and two fruits will work.

Ingredients:

(one pie, serves 6-8)

-350g flour

-50g butter

-1 egg

-150g jam 1 (plum)

-150g jam 2 (strawberry)

-50g fruit 1 (elderberries)

-50g fruit 2 (raspberries)

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and fork

-greased or non-stick tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the butter, egg and flour. Add water until the dough is dry to touch and stretchy.

2: Roll it out and fit it to the pie-tray.

3: Bake at 200C for 10-15min.

4: Spoon the jams into the pie. Sprinkle the fruit on top.

5: Bake at 160C for 45min.

6: Reduce heat to 100-120C and bake until the middle’s firm.

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Stew of the Week.

Chicken and gammon stew.

Ingredients:

-5 chicken quarters

-300g gammon

-500g carrots

-3 large bell peppers

-200g bean sprouts

-400ml double cream

Utensils:

-paring knife

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Skin and separate the chicken quarters. Place them in the pot.

2: Slice the carrots and peppers. Add to the pot.

3: Cover with water, add the bean sprouts.

4: Cube the gammon and add to the pot.

5: Boil until all is tender.

6: Add the cream and boil for a further 5-10 minutes.

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

“So what is it you do all day?”

Two Weeks in the Life of the Rural Housewife.

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See Also:

Elspeth’s Week in the Life of a Suburban Housewife.

A Week in the Life of Hearthie.

Introduction.

Inspired by LGR’s extract from “A Lesser Life” and Elspeth’s counterpoint, I decided to actually document what I do over the course of two weeks. Now, I am under no illusions that I work more hours than Jon or that my work is harder. He is by far making the greater sacrifice to keep us in this house and guarantee our happiness. However, I don’t believe I spend all day messing around online either. I predict that this will show that either online time or art time is a bit excessive, if not both, but I am hoping it will be a realistic illustration into the life of a woman who works hard at home to improve the couple’s financial situation, leisure time and independence.

End of Fortnight Review.

[Seeing as the records below are a bit too much to expect anyone with a half-lively mind to read, I'd recommend at least going through one day so that this will make sense.]

So, as predicted I do actually spend most of the day on chores. I don’t whiz through the housework by half eight or nine and sit around blogging all day. But why is it that I kept so busy?

  1. Of course, my main tasks aren’t many more than a 50s housewife’s. And, having no children, they are lessened and made easier. But the more personal jobs and the little jobs around the sides really do add up. Every child, pet and square foot of garden, for example, mean something that needs attending to at least once per day. Having no children means that all I have is the garden and the pets. But that’s still time.
  2. Seeing as Jon is the main earner and has other things to do when he gets home, that means cooking and buying food in fall on me. Shopping economically, foraging, preserving and cooking all take a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Then we have the secretarial tasks. Even without my work, there would still be emails to send, eBay sales to manage, phonecalls to make and research to do. Things Jon doesn’t have the time or means to do when he’s at work. We also have the tasks that just build up, or happen. Tidying is a day-long job, especially  when many other tasks are being done or when it’s more than just yourself in the house. Cooked lunch? Time to tidy. Child/pet emptied a laundry hamper? Time to tidy. Lessons ended? Time to tidy. Putting things back in their right places keeps a house neat and comfortable and saves a whole weekend of organizing, but it does add up over the day. It’s like you’re playing a continual game of tug-o-war against mess and dirt, where letting your guard down for a day or so loses you a disproportionate amount of ground.
  4. And finally, the work doesn’t really end in the morning, or at lunch, or when we go to work or when hubby gets home. It only truly ends when we go to bed or go to sleep.

However none of this is bad. We seem to associate chores with the stress and pain of being forced to do them as a child, or having to do them after a long day of work, but these are not punishments: they’re jobs that need doing. There’s a reason that suffragette housewives going on strike actually had an effect. When the children aren’t dressed or fed properly, when they miss school or don’t do their homework, that’s abuse. When the house is dirty, moldy and damp, that’s unhygienic. When everything is out of place, that’s stressful. When the animals aren’t properly cared for, that’s cruelty. When the garden grows wild that’s a waste. Your house is where you recharge your batteries after a stressful day, hide from people and things you don’t want to see, raise your children, keep your more precious belongings. All this is what makes it a home to most people. A house in disarray provides no shelter or comfort. And maybe when it’s just the one person you can keep on top of the basics so that it’s at least accommodating after a day at work. But the more you add to a house the more needs taking care of, especially when you add more people. When you want a large home, an attractive garden, good meals, many children, dinner parties and plenty of spare time after work to relax and recharge for the next day, someone needs to keep everything tidy, every room clean, every living being fed and happy, so that everyone else can relax. When there are no housewives, everyone must pull more weight than before, either to pay for someone to do their work or to do their jobs in their own free time.

Of course, it sounds like the fairer option, but it’s arguably the least economically wise. When first thing after coming home you must do the laundry, set the table and feed the cat, you look forward to your home less and less, regardless of whether you’re a CEO or a schoolchild. People are less motivated to do well in their more stressful endeavors when they come home to even more stress. When you hire a nanny, a housekeeper and a gardener and eat out all the time you are costing yourself money, no matter how many extra hours you put in to pay for it. When the house degrades there is nothing pleasant to come home to, so the household dynamics degrade also and everyone spends more time outside the house, making almost everything under the roof unnecessary.

So a good housewife is neither a lazy parasite taking in someone’s hard-earned cash and playing bridge all day, nor an underpaid, overworked maid. A housewife is simply a different beast entirely to an employed or unemployed person. A housewife has more free time between 8 and 5 than an office-worker, but does by far more hours of work than someone who is unemployed. The work-day starts when the eyes open and ends when they close, but is nicely divided up with coffee-breaks, TV shows and bonding time with a healthy, happy family. Of course, a housewife’s work is not directly moneyed, however it can encourage the earners to put in more hours, not take days off for secretarial work and finish their work in good time, which results in more household money, which earns her keep. The results are similar to those of being employed in a well-paid job. A businessperson may earn a lot of money, but spend a large portion of it on house maintenance, travel, meals out, nannies and daycare with a comfortable remainder for leisure. The housewife earns the remainder by proxy, through the extra work the earner can put in, has all the jobs done and saves the money that would have been spent on labour. The only missing variable is tax. Likewise, a housewife’s work is not a back-breaking, dull job nobody would ever enjoy. Many people choose house maintenance, cookery, childcare, animal keeping or gardening as their moneyed jobs. Of course, housekeeping is a job that encompasses many small jobs and there are jobs that we don’t like, but the variety is welcome and every form of work has jobs you would rather not do. Housekeeping is just another job in most ways: you earn your quality of life, you are free to leave and find another job, you can fit in a second job, there are parts you like and dislike, you have work time and downtime. In fact, as a tutor working from home, it’s very similar to being self-employed: you work your own hours, your breaks are longer, you may work two or ten hours a day, you may have a quiet week or a busy one and finally, you’re completely at the mercy of your own prior choices, of other humans with no obligation to pay you, of sheer chance. But many people will likely view the tutoring work as a more noble and valuable pursuit than the housework. And the main reason is that the tutoring provides cold, hard cash. Even if it provides less for me, I am helping strangers to meet their goals for which I will receive nothing but monetary reward, where my earnings are inconsistent and dependent on people to whom it matters nothing whether or not I eat. But I guess money is more important than suck fickle things as stability, home, family, happiness or fulfillment.

My conclusion? Jon definitely does the lion’s share of the work. He puts up with a work environment he doesn’t enjoy, he can’t just cancel a week because he feels a bit unwell, he brings home the consistent and usually the largest paycheck. As such he is the master of the house, he gets more say in what happens over the weekend, he always gets asked about larger expenses before they happen and he even gets a say in whether or not I’m allowed to take time off my tutoring work. He is the financial pillar of the household and that earns him some respect. However I also work hard to pull my weight, not out of some desire to outcompete him, to balm my guilt or to feel like I’m smashing some magical social force. It’s because we’re a team. The work we do should complement each other, so as to better the quality of life shared by the household. He is our financial pillar. His time and energy is dedicated to work that means a stable income that is high enough to support us both even if I weren’t working at all. I am our leakage manager and financial bolster. My time and energy is dedicated to work that saves us money and makes some extra money on the side. Both improve our quality of life. It is not a zero-sum-game where someone wins and someone loses, but a self-regenerating cycle of brilliance: He brings home the paycheck so we can afford a large house with a garden. Having the space, I made a spare room into a classroom so I could work from home and earn us more money. As I can afford to work from home I have eliminated any travel costs and time associated with work. This means I earn more money per hour, which results in more time to invest into housework. This means Jon doesn’t have to do any housework at all. This means he has both more time to put into work and more time to put into leisure. Which means even more money for the household. Which gives me time to forage, tend to chickens, grow our own food, hunt for bargains and plan leisure time. Which allows us to live a very high quality life. We eat largely fresh meat and vegetables. We get home-baked bread, assorted fish, game, berries, nuts and cakes. We have a weights room equipped with barbells, dumbbells and stands as well as other assorted items and we make regular use of it. We have National Trust and RSPB memberships. We go to London from time to time. We have a well-kept, attractive garden that provides us with fruit, vegetables and eggs from our hens as well as a place to sit outside and enjoy a cider in the Summer. We go on long walks, we hold dinner parties, our house is nicely decorated and furnished with everything we need and desire, our wine stand is stocked as is our bookshelf. We’re planning for a child, for some job changes, for a smallholding. We further each other as well as ourselves. It’s a joint endeavour. And whilst that’s not what a housewife necessarily does, it’s what a housekeeper should do.

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The Records.

Monday 15th September.

6:30- Alarm went off. Very tired from last night. Woke up, turned it off, dozed.

7:00- Got out of bed. Changed hens’ water, fed hens, opened the coop. Fed cat, put kettle on.

7:20- Returned to bed with Jon.

9:00- Woke up properly, responded to a few emails.

9:15- Blog, started writing this.

9:30- Got up, washed and dressed. Tidied house (make the bed, put away dirty and bed clothes, put some posters up, take cups downstairs, put cat toys away, take everything to its respective room, clean litter tray, put away food in pots), washed dishes, put away laundry, put new load of laundry through. Film in background (Dreamworks Short Stories and The Eye).

11:00- Sent students homework. Ate quick breakfast (2 pre-prepared hard boiled eggs, cream cheese and cucumber on home-made spiced bread) whilst working.

11:25- Prepped Jon’s supplement pillbox for the week. Changed the bins.

11:30- Making jam. Continue with film (The Eye).

12:50- Found spare car keys and WD-40 for Jon as his main set of keys got jammed in the lock. Made tea.

13:00- Heated curry for Jon’s lunch and stew for mine. Had lunch with Jon.

13:30- Continued making jam.

14:10- Ran out of jars for jam. Tidied up. Looking for more jars on eBay. Mess around online.

14:30- Hung up washed laundry. Changed hens’ bedding. Let hens range on lawn. Tidied house.
15:00- Messing around online.16:00- Checked hens. Collected peas and beans for dinner.

16:20- Checked tutoring sites for more potential students.

16:25- Started listing eBay items.

16:40- Washed dishes, sorted computer problem.

17:40- Herded hens back to coop.

17:50- Prepared dinner. Messing around online.

19:00- Started weights with Jon.

20:00- Put hens to bed. Had dinner. Watched TV with Jon.

22:30- Went to bed.

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Tuesday 16th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens and cat. Cleaned litter-tray. Got breakfast ready and put kettle on.

7:10- Had breakfast.

7:45- Let hens out into garden. Saw Jon off. Showered. Cleaned bathroom.

8:05- Tidied bedroom, moved everything to its respective place, washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen surfaces. (Film: Dark Skies.)

9:00- Made stew, messing around online.

9:35- Blogged.

10:30- Tidied the garden.

12:30- Finished stew, blogged, made shopping list.

12:50- Made tea, had lunch.

13:30- Headed into town to do shopping, banking, etc. Gathered hazelnuts on the walk home.

17:25- Got home. Tidied the shopping away. Put the hens in the run.

17:45- Made jam.

19:30- Watching TV with Jon.

20:00- Made dinner. Started shelling hazelnuts.

22:00- To bed.

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Wednesday 17th September.

7:00- Got up. Fed hens, fed cat, cleaned litter-tray, had breakfast, let hens out.

8:00- Relaxed a little.

9:00- Got dressed. Tidied laundry away. Tidied everything back into its place.

9:50- Working out lunch recipes.

10:10- Shelling hazelnuts.

11:00- Preparing lunch.

12:00- Lunch in oven, shelling hazelnuts.

12:50- Had lunch.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Messing around online.

15:00- Tidying kitchen and washing plates.

15:45- DIY jobs.

16:30- Blogging.

17:25- Put hens into coop, open gate.

17:30- Shave legs, tend to nails. Film in bg (Wilderness).

18:15- Walk dogs, collect pears.

19:00- Weights with Jon. Put hens to bed.

20:15- Dinner.

21:00- Relaxing.

22:30- Bedtime.

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Thursday 18th September.

7:00- Woke up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

7:20- Back to bed. DOMS.

10:00- Got up. Washed patio, let hens out, washed dishes, tidied bedroom.

10:40- Blogging, making list of tasks.

11:10- Breakfast.

11:30- Making bread, pie, roasting hazelnuts.

12:50- Made lunch for Jon. Watched TV.

13:30- Tidying up after lunch.

14:00- Started chutney.

14:30- Tidied garden, put out bins.

14:45- Messing around online.

16:00- Finishing legs and nails.

17:00- Tidied beauty bag away, looking for pullets.

17:25- Tidied kitchen some more.

17:50- Put hens to bed.

18:00- Showered, made fish stew.

18:30- Messing around online.

19:00- Skype Dad.

20:00- Watch TV.

22:00- Bed.

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Friday 19th September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat, cleaned litter tray. Got dressed.

7:30- Fed hens, let them out.

7:45- Prepared classroom.

8:10- Sorted emails, blog.

8:30- Lesson started.

10:30- Lesson ended. Coffee break.

10:45- Next lesson started.

11:30- Lesson ended.

11:45- Cleaning kitchen, washing dishes.

12:15- Messing around online.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Messing around online.

14:30- Emails.

15:00- Lesson starts.

17:00- Lesson ends. Tidying up classroom.

17:30- Feed cat. Have tea. Make shopping list.

18:00- Go shopping.

18:45- Walk dogs.

19:00- Mess around online.

20:00- Dinner.

21:00- Put cat and hens to bed. Watch TV,

22:00- Bed.

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Saturday 20th September.

6:30- Get up, feed cat, feed hens, let hens out, clean litter tray. Back to bed.

9:15- Get up and dressed.

9:30- Prepare lesson.

10:00- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Tidying classroom.

12:15- Make and have a sandwich.

12:30- Go to post a letter with Jon.

13:00- Blogging.

13:25- Tidy kitchen, start stew and chutney.

13:40- Blogging.

14:30- Weights with Jon.

16:00- Emails and homework. Lesson plans.

18:30- Walk dogs.

19:00- Messing around online.

20:00- Made chutney. Tidied kitchen.

21:00- Blogging. Messing around online.

21:50- Tidying kitchen and living room, photographing selling things for eBay.

22:30- To bed.

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Sunday 21st September:

7:15- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray, put kettle on, put rubbish out, let hens into garden.

7:45- Back to bed.

9:00- Got up, got dressed, tidied bedroom, made Jon breakfast, had tea.

10:00- Went shopping and foraging.

12:30- Got home, unpacked, tidying kitchen.

13:30- Shelling hazelnuts.

14:30- Make Jon lunch. Shelling hazelnuts.

15:15- Messing around online.

15:30- Hoovering, laundry.

16:35- Put up sign on gate.

16:55- Making Jon tea, weights.

17:30- Dinner at Pat’s.

19:10- Home, drinks and a film.

21:00- Make tea, put the cat to bed.

22:00- Bed, drinks, TV.

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Monday 22nd September:

6:45- Got up, started breakfast, fed cat and hens.

7:15- Sat with Jon.

8:00- Emails, eBay, messing around online.

9:00- Got dressed, tidied house.

9:20- Put laundry out.

9:30- Washed dishes, tidied kitchen.

9:50- Prepared lesson.

10:00- Lesson.

12:00- Lesson ended, tidied up.

12:10- Made lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Let hens out.

13:35- Getting changed. Tidied kitchen, did dishes.

14:10- Messing around online.

14:30- Change chicken coop.

15:00- Go to town. Drs, shop, hazelnuts.

18:00- Home. Made stew.

19:00- Shelling hazelnuts.

20:30- Had dinner. Messed around online.

21:20- To bed.

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Tuesday 21st September.

7:00- Got up, fed cat and hens, showered, back to bed.

9:45- Got up and dressed, let hens into garden, collected herbs.

10:00- Baking.

12:00- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons.

18:00- Lessons over. Tidying classroom, sending homework. Fed cat.

19:00- Cooking.

19:30- Relaxing evening with Jon.

22:30- To bed.

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Wednesday 24th September.

7:15- Got up, fed hens, fed cat, sorted breakfast and teas.

7:45- Prepared for lessons.

8:30- Lessons.

11:30- Lessons over. Sent homework, making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Planning next lesson. Blogging.

14:00- Lesson starts.

15:30- Lesson ends. Tidying classroom, sending homework, checking eBay.

16:00- Doing some research for Jon.

16:45- Relaxing, painting. Watching Goosebumps.

17:30- Make tea. Sit with Jon.

18:30- Painting. Watching Goosebumps.

20:00- Making dinner. Eating dinner.

22:00- Bed.

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Thursday 25th September.

7:05- Fed cat, fed hens, put kettle on, made breakfast.

7:45- Got dressed, did laundry. Watching Goosebumps.

8:25- Did dishes, tidied kitchen, sorted emails.

9:15- Painting, watching Goosebumps.

10:30- Tidying, cooking.

11:47- Blogging, phone calls, cooking.

12:20- Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Preparing for lessons.

14:00- Lessons start.

17:45- Lessons end.

18:00- Blogging.

18:40- Laundry.

19:00- Relaxing, watching TV, blogging.

20:05- Heating dinner.

21:00- Attending to hens.

22:00- To bed.

23:00- Shower. Back to bed.

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Friday 26th September.

6:45- Got up, fed hens, let hens out, treated injured hen, fed cat.

7:05- Packed Jon’s bag. Having coffee with Jon.

7:45- Let the car out. Blogging.

8:00- Messing around online.

9:00- Depressive peak. Forced crying so as to get it out of the way before work.

9:35- Preparing for lessons.

10:05- Lesson starts.

12:00- Lesson ended. Making lunch.

12:50- Lunch with Jon.

13:30- Relaxing, messing around online.

14:00- Preparing for next lessons.

14:15- Lessons start.

17:10- Lessons over. Tidying up.

17:20- Put hens in coop, fed cat, prepared for shopping.

18:00- Shopping.

19:10- Weights with Jon.

20:30- Making tea and dinner.

21:00- Dinner.

22:00- Drinks, TV.

23:00- To bed.

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Saturday 27th September.

7:55- Got up, fed cat, fed hens, cleaned litter tray.

8:15- Measured Jon for weights records.

8:45: Got dressed, having breakfast and coffee.

9:15- Tidying house, did dishes, ready to go out.

9:55- Blogging.

10:20- Headed out to Derby. Opticians, shops, market.

13:45- Home. Unpacked, cooking food.

14:00- Had lunch. Tidied.

14:20- Blogging. TV.

16:00- Tidying kitchen, bins.

16:45- Sitting in with Jon’s weights..

17:30- Tidying house. Preparing for lesson.

18:00- Setting up. Watching TV.

19:00- Lesson started.

20:00- Lesson ended. Tidying up, emails, helped Jon with a form.

21:00- Made dinner. Had dinner with Jon.

22:00- To bed, watching TV

00:00- Very late night.

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Sunday 28th September.

7:00- Got up, fed hens, checked injured hen (healing well), closed garden, let hens out.

7:15- Back to bed.

10:30- Got up showered.

11:00- Tidied, made breakfast.

12:00- Cleaned kitchen, did dishes.

12:20- Emails, student hunting, homework.

12:50- Getting ready to go out.

13:00- Setting off to Carsington Waters.

15:40- Home, unpacking shopping.

15:45- Making stew.

16:00- Blogging, relaxing, messing around online.

16:35- Making stew, having coffee and watching TV.

17:00- To Pat’s for dinner and dogs.

19:00- Home. Cleaning bathroom, finishing stew.

20:00- Sorting laundry, packing eBay sales, sending emails.

21:00- Read, watched TV.

22:00- To bed.