So, I’m a bit tipsy watching the Office finale and I’m a little pissed. This will be a quick post. Spoilers ahead.
I’m pissed because in season 5, Pam quit design school because she was going to have to stay in New York an extra three months because she failed out of some class. Jim had proposed in the interim and said he was fine with her staying and finishing school but she decided to drop out and Jim pretty much let her without ever even really digging into it or acting like it was a big deal. She had to slink back to the office and finagle her way into a half-way decent position.
In season 8, Jim finally decides to quit a side job in Philadelphia that he took without telling Pam, leaving her alone with their two kids, and he’s lauded as the most romantic guy ever and Pam, out of terrible guilt, decides to sell their house, quit her job and move to Austin so he doesn’t have to make any sacrifices. He can have his family and his job and not have to make any tough choices or give up anything.
It just seems terribly sexist to me. I loved The Office for a long time, but this always struck me as a really obvious double standard and definitely tarnished my view of the show. On top of that, it makes it seem like everything in a relationship or marriage has to be about complete and utter martyr-like sacrifice, when it doesn’t. Pam had to completely give up on design school, Jim had to completely give up on his dream of being an entrepreneur, and then Pam had to give up her entire life. Jim said “You have to find the ONE THING that makes you happy and commit to it 100%.” To me, that is exactly the sort of ideal that sets real-life marriages up for failure, the idea that one person can be everything for you and be big enough to fill up a whole life. That’s not healthy!
Real relationships are about compromise and supporting each other, helping each other work around obstacles, and having a strong sense of identity and things that fulfill you outside of the relationship/marriage so your spouse isn’t being taxed with being your everything. I bought into this fantasy for most of my life and it nearly destroyed me.
That’s all, I just needed to get that off my chest, it’s been bothering me for years and it came to a head with the finale. Hollah at me if ya feel me. I’m going to put myself to bed now!