Thursday, 10 May 2012

Is a woman's place still in the kitchen?

I'm no forceful feminist, I don't want to constantly argue women's case throughout life, nor try and 'get one up' on men. However, I'm also not a wannabe Desperate Housewife, wanting to stay at home all day and pander to a man's every whim.

For me, in any relationship, everything needs to be fair - whether it's sharing chores, managing money or sorting social plans.

We all know in the past men were traditionally seen as the hunter-gatherers and women were there to look after the children and keep everyone fed and happy in the home. Times have changed though since then. Or have they?

I often joke with friends that my relationship with my boyfriend is a case of role reversal - I'm the one who goes out drinking and acting the fool, the one who suffers all day with the hangover and needs looking after. It is my boyfriend who takes care of me and complains about my never learning to drink less.

Don't get me wrong, I think that whatever works best for the couple in question is the right way to be, who am I to say how others' relationships should work.

However, it's whether or not both sides are happy that bothers me and I find it shocking how 'traditional' roles for women are still expected and very apparent in relationships today and our modern world.

Women who don't go to a physical office or place of employment, are still labelled as 'just a housewife'.

I don't have kids and until I do I don't really know the full extent of what being a Mum involves, let alone one who stays at home. However from my own Mum and friends of mine who are mothers I certainly think that caring for a person's life, washing, cleaning, cooking, getting up for feeds and lots more surely constitutes a job in itself.

Why is it that we still feel like certain chores or roles in the home and in family life are gender specific? I admit I'm guilty myself of being far too comfortable with letting my boyfriend take the rubbish bags downstairs for me to the binstore. Although, this is more laziness on my part, rather than thinking 'it's a man's job!'

This topic has come more into the light for me lately, what with my Mum finding herself pretty helpless after breaking her leg. My Mum gave up employment once she had me and never returned to work, becoming a stay at home Mum and 'housewife'. My Dad took on the typical role of 'breadwinner' and they stuck to these roles ever since.

The result now of course is that my Dad is - in his early 60s - having to learn domestic life whilst my Mum recovers from her injury. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, washing and ironing.

However I also know more modern couples that act in this way, again not necessarily something the female in the relationship may have chosen.

Why is it in 2012 men still feel they earn the money, so the woman is indebted to them, to do everything within the home? This even seems to be the case when the girlfriend/wife works themselves. How is this fair?

I feel I'm a little unfair commenting on this at times, since I count myself lucky being in a relationship with someone that doesn't feel this way at all.

He doesn't think men and women have set roles to fill and although we don't live together he helps me keep my flat clean and shares chores with me without question. I also know without a doubt whenever we do one day have children he won't shy away from doing his share and would be happy to look after the child, help with feeds and change those dreaded nappies.

So when are people going to wake up to the fact men and women can take on any roles they want and works for them? And when are we going to stop judging those who do take on these 'traditional' roles if it's right for them?


  1. I agree 100% with your veiws but changing a nappy is easy just fold into a triangle straight piece alng back pointed piece between legs and viola you there you have it,No seriously its upto the couple to discuss between themselves at the begining.

  2. Ryan never tries to tell me to do things and wouldn't suggest any jobs were womens' work but it is still the case that if I don't do them, thet don't get done. Men seem to have the blinkers on when it comes to crumbs on the side, toys on the floor and an overflowing washing basket. If I do it all myself I get tired and huffy and I get accused of being a martyr I should just ask for help, but if I ask for things to be done I'm a nagging housewife (who works!) I don't think anything will ever change we've lasted 11 and a half years like this, I think we'll carry on until we're old in the same way. Definitely kids are a huge factor in all this domestic organisation though so look out when they come along!