I have been thinking a lot about women and their roles in the home recently, perhaps because we just watched two films recently which made me realise how much things have changed in my own lifetime regarding a woman’s role in the home and at work. It is hard to comprehend fully what it was like to not have choice and options available to you when we have it all now. The woman who fought for the right to vote, equal pay, and working jobs and at home to make ends meet had a cause, determination and made history. So have things really changed? Have we not made life more difficult for ourselves?
When washing machines, fridges and household machinery became available to woman in the home was it not to make life easier? Did we really need to make it our mission to go out into the workplace and compete in the arena with men to give ourselves more jobs to do? I know there is often not the choice , that needs must and it isn’t that I am anti feminism, I think every woman has the right to have the choice to work if she wants to and the problem in today’s society is woman need to, or so we say. Now we have to do it all. As a consequence, we expect men to do more around the house and roles are shared and split throughout. I read an article in ‘Good Housekeeping GH’ (obviously a magazine aimed at woman may I add). It was highlighting the issues that men face as a result of woman now ‘stamping in men’s stomping ground’.
It is true, we don’t really want to imagine men wearing an apron pushing a hoover, do we? it is not after all what defines masculinity. But so many women speak of how they do all the work around the house and their partners don’t lift a finger. Perhaps they take out the rubbish, although according to GH when doing this they are actually thinking about is “chopping wood to build a shelter or herding bison.” Anyway, I am diverting from the role of woman here.
Why do woman struggle with staying at home, looking after the kids, cleaning and cooking. The beauty of today’s world is that doesn’t mean we can no longer be intellectually inferior or not participate in society. Surely if there was more of a shift to woman being more home based ( that could mean working from home, more part-time and flexible working, involvement in community service) we would solve so many antisocial problems. The secret, I guess lies in finding beauty in the mundane, the repetition, the knowledge that a stable and ‘a good meal on the table’ prepares your children for their future.
Perhaps I am being to radical and idealist but what is wrong with a woman wearing an apron, baking and generally being queen of her domain. If we are to be home based then men need to respect that it is still a job. The job at home is after all management,, teacher, cleaner, conflict manager, gardener, office organiser, shopper, counsellor, nutrition and dietician, finance planner, secretary and general dogsbody and there are no holidays or time off. Why have woman shunned this work and clambered to be in the work place? I think of the books like Reveloutionary road depicting a woman struggling with the life of a
I suppose the real point is that all of this is ok when and if your partner is able to support you emotionally, financially and intellectually. So as my husband hands me my ‘pocket money’ I am thankful for the unique position of being able to be at ‘home’ and more importantly happy to be so.