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The Politics of Housework

One of the daily routine fights in most households is about housework; most men believe that housework is a woman’s duty. Many people think that women have taken more than their share of rights in society, but in reality they have not.  If we pay close attention to most families, women still have to do all the housework, while men sit and enjoy their time watching T.V or engaging in some other pastimes. When a man and woman both come home from their outside jobs, the woman is responsible for preparing food, cleaning the house, helping/playing with the kids, and many other things. In fact, when people come to visit and the house is messy, they start talking about how the woman is lazy, dirty, irresponsible, and etc. Moreover, women themselves believe in that ‘norm’, and that housework is their duty, so they hide the exhaustion caused by their endless daily work. In fact, some women enjoy doing housework and seeing every thing clean and neat. What makes most women angry, though, is not the work itself, it’s the fact that: One- most men don’t consider housework as a real job and see it as ‘easy’; and, two- housework determines who has more influence when it comes to household affair.

This article, by Pat Mainardi, reminded me of an episode in my childhood. When I was a young girl around ten years of age, I heard my three brothers arguing about women’s rights. They said, “women should have the same (equal) rights as men in every thing, because women are our sisters, mothers, and wives.  We are living in the twentieth century, women are not slaves”.  This topic was a very controversial one in our household and it dominated many of my brothers’ conversations. However, while they argued about women’s rights (for and against), they always asked my older sisters to make tea for them; and after they were done with their constant debates on the topic, they would go about their daily routines, leaving the used tea cups on the floor for one of us sisters to pick up, wash, and dry. In reality, they were just talking about the subject; they never practiced what they preached. No man thinks about housework when they talk about equality for men and women. I believe equality should start from inside the household with men sharing the burden called housework; society should first change its view about housework being a woman’s job before they move on to bigger issues.  Nowadays, there are men who actually stay at home and become the proverbial “housewife”, while the woman works outside.   Many people think that the men who help their wives with the housework are feminine and/or not man enough. Many men work secretly in their households so that societies views of them don’t change, and they are also able to keep their ‘pride’. While it’s all well and good that they at least (try to) help with the load of household chores, it would still be better if working at home for men didn’t cause them shame along the way.

1 Comment

  1. ckazda2013 says:

    I think housework is both the husbands and wives job to help make the house clean. I know in my own experiences, I found that my mom does most of the house cleaning while my dad sits back and puts his feet up after work. However, my mom has a full time job too, her job seems to never end working 9 to 5 and then making dinner, washing clothes. Its an endless job but someone needs to do it if a man won’t help.

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