I’m a failure.
This according to Nyoman and Made the two women who own the shop over the road.
I am a failure because I only have a daughter.
‘You have more children soon yes?’ they ask.
‘Err no. Not planning on it,’ I say.
They stare at me with a mixture of pity and horror. ‘But you must have son,’ they say.
‘Why? I have a daughter,’ I tell them. ‘And she’s just as good as any son.’ But they can’t get their heads around this at all.
It’s so frustrating that this concept persists around the world. And it’s not just here. I get it at home too – from my father-in-law – who would dearly love a grandson to carry on the Alderson name. Fair-dos. But he best start looking to the other daughters-in-law. Cos this mare is done breeding.
When will it ever stop? When will the women of the world wake up and smell the roses? If even women think men are better, think they are not equal to men, then we are truly fucked.
But the really amusing thing to me is that the men in Bali are (generally speaking – but when do I do otherwise?) for the most part pale shadows of their women folk. It’s the women who do the back breaking field work whilst the men sit around stroking their cocks and yelling out transport transport to any Bule who walks past. I’ve met several powerhouse women running successful businesses (whilst also having to fulfill the needs of family and community) but am wracking my brains for an example of a man running a successful business. I can think of one – but he only got the money by gambling. And I’ve met a handful of Balinese men who’ve lost everything on cock fights.
It’s the women who seem to hold the whole of society here together – they cook, clean, work in the fields and on the roads, they look after the children and their in-laws, they spend days and days and even whole nights of each month preparing intricate offerings for the frequent ceremonies.
Yet their economic value is tiny compared to a man’s. A two minute taxi ride (only the men drive taxis here) costs the same as a day’s wage for a woman home help.
The women here rock. I haven’t yet met a Balinese woman who isn’t working flat out seven days a week providing for her family and community. And the men? Yeah, good question. Judging from the sheer number I see sitting around on doorsteps all day they’re not quite so busy.
But maybe the failure is on women after all. For failing to raise sons who respect women and treat them as their equals. For failing to raise daughters who believe in their self-worth. For being horrible to their daughters-in-law (they have to LIVE with their mothers-in-law here, and look after them until they die. I haven’t yet met a Balinese woman who actually likes her mother in law. I guess the cycle perpetuates.)
I’m not sure what the answer is. But I think I’ve found my cause.