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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Feminists. We're Not All Lesbians.

Reading through other blogs on, I came across a blog that had several posts titled something like "Day 5 of Housewife Training: Today - Cooking, Laundry, Vacuuming and Toilet Paper Duty" ... Am I the only Mom who finds this incredibly offensive? I honestly feel like vomiting in my mouth. It's no secret that I'm a feminist. Wait, don't run away!! Being a feminist isn't as scary as it sounds. We don't hate men. We aren't all lesbians. We DO clean, cook and provide for our families. We may also be "housewives." But what makes us feminists is that we strongly believe in the the principles of gender equality. I would think all women would want that. Apparently, I'm wrong.

The standard definition of Feminism/Feminist, and in this case according to Merriam-Webster online, is:


noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of FEMINISM

1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests
fem·i·nist\-nist\ noun or adjective
fem·i·nis·tic\ˌfe-mə-ˈnis-tik\ adjective  

And this is what makes me a die hard feminist. I strongly and firmly believe in the theory of political, economical and social equality between genders. I am also all for teaching our daughters responsibility, how to pitch into the family unit and strong family values, but I equally feel strongly in teaching those same principles to our sons. The title in itself "Day X of Housewife Training" literally made me vomit in my mouth! I'm sorry, I didn't realize I stepped into a time machine that took me back to the 1950s. I can't help but wonder if this mother is teaching her son(s) "Day X of Househusband training?"  Because isn't it true that young boys, who will eventually turn into grown men, also need to know how to cook, clean, wash and fold laundry and wipe their own asses, for goodness sake!?!?! If we're going to teach our daughters to be good "housewives" shouldn't we also teach them about finances, how to be independent, self-sufficient and strong leaders? Shouldn't we be teaching all those principles to any of our children, regardless of their gender? Am I too 'new-age' in believing that? I don't think so. I am firm believer of education being the key to progress, no matter what your goals are (to-be-or-not-to-be a house-person). So for me, it's important that I teach my son (and any other children I may have -- boy or girl) essential functions of maintaining a household so that when they leave our nest, they can fend for themselves. This includes while they are away obtaining their college education.

I guess what bothered me most about this mother's blog posts were that they were geared around teaching her daughters to be 'housewives' by instilling 'traditional' and stereotypically 'woman duties' rather then teaching them how to be equal members of the household. In fact, one of her posts had a timeline of the day-to-day events. The day started with waking up and cooking chocolate chip pancakes for daddy (with her two daughters, both under age 5), mid-day was teaching them how to scrub the bathtub (apparently an essential housewife duty), folding laundry, putting dishes away, feeding their brother AND then starting dinner. Sigh. What happened to letting these young girls be CHILDREN. When did they become child workers and indentured servants?

This won't be the case for my husband and I. We will be teaching our children (both daughters and sons), as it pertains to duties around maintaining a home, responsibility, distributing chores evenly and the ins and outs of everyday household duties. Currently, when one cooks, the other one cleans up after. My husband loves to cook, so I end up cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes more often then I like. But it's a fair trade off since I enjoy his cooking. When I cook, he cleans the kitchen and washes the dishes. We both change Elijah's diapers, feed, bathe and put him to sleep. Sometimes I do it more, sometimes he does. I don't foresee this changing drastically if I decide to be a stay-at-home mom. And yes, as a feminist, I really would LOVE to be a stay-at-home home.

Although, I respect the right of a woman to be a "housewife" I truly find it archaic and a disservice to their youth by teaching such young girls to become housewives, filling their day with household chores and duties and greatly limiting their time to be "kids." Especially since those chores and duties are ONLY being taught to the daughters! At least after reading through several posts, that's the conclusion I made. I hope somewhere between scrubbing bathtubs and toilets, folding laundry and cooking/feeding daddy and their brother, these young girls are being taught that if they so choose, they can be Doctor's, Lawyer's, Fire fighter's, President's, Teacher's, and Mother's -- that they can maintain a household and not necessarily "have" to be a housewife. And if they choose to be housewives, they can still contribute to the greater good of the world in many ways, other than folding laundry and making sure daddy is fed and happy. I hope their being given 'opportunties' and a 'choice' and that becoming a housewife isn't their only option. Sigh.

Time machine, please take me back to 2012!


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