Women are already given so many titles in this world; mother, grandmother, aunt, wife and sister. In addition to this, they were also given the title of “Housewife”. As Angela Davis discusses in “Women, Race and Class”, women are placed into a stigma where they are the “maids” of the household . In the book, she states “The Countless chores collectively known as “housework”–cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry …consume some three to four thousand hours of the average housewife’s year” (page 260). Davis explains that with all the chores like washing dishes and laundry, it can take up most of their time. On top of all this, women are also supposed to be a wife to their spouse, and take care of a baby. This can be exhausting for women, especially if they don’t receive any help from their spouse. These are all expectations placed on women from the beginning of time.
The idea of a housewife has become much more prominent because of the fact that men believe housework is a women’s responsibility. Most men in society believe that women are supposed to stay home, while they go out, and come home to a cooked meal. I’m pretty sure if you ask most men to do certain chores such as laundry, they probably wouldn’t know where to start. But why does it have to be this way? Why can’t men pick up the broom or do the laundry every once in a while, why does it always have to be the women? I believe that men are just as capable of getting housework done, just as a woman is able to do. I also believe that if men were to help with the chores around the house to keep it clean and tidy, it would give the women a break. It would also help them feel like they are appreciated by their spouse, if they help out, or at least acknowledge the heavy work. Davis points out the idea of how household work can be invisible and is only noticed if something isn’t done. She states, “No one notices it until it isn’t done–we notice the unmade bed, not the scrubbed and polished floor” (page 260). Instead of men pointing out what isn’t done, men should help out with finishing the chores. After all, it would make the chores around the house feel equal, being that both the man and women are contributing their part.
I believe that the “housewife” title restricts the idea that women can be more than just that. Women can be lawyers, doctors, nurses, electricians, just to name a few, but because of this specific title, they aren’t seen as being capable of becoming that.
In today’s society, the title of “housewife” often comes with a negative meaning behind it and has changed since being used during the Industrial Revolution. There is a look of disgust when a woman mentions that she is a housewife, they see her as idle or may think that her spouse is rich, which allows her to be one. In today’s era, if someone mentioned that they were a housewife, it may lead to a discussion of “Is that all you do?.” We see women that have progressed throughout time and are capable of balancing the idea of looking after the house and having a regular job. This helps bring extra revenue into the household, instead of it always being the husband. I also believe that many more women in today’s world are independent and don’t want to depend on a man for money, making them more motivated to go out and work. In today’s world, we have television reality shows that mock the idea of being a “housewife”. The ladies on the show are basically depicted as women who have issues within their marriage, such as financial issues or infidelity. Most of the time, the ladies in the show aren’t shown constantly cooking, cleaning, doing laundry. Instead, they are gossiping or hanging out. These reality shows prove how the meaning of “housewife” has changed over the years.Women have gone from being in the house all day to now living their best life, outside of the house. Not only this, but I, as a woman, aspire to be a woman that doesn’t need to depend on a man for anything, whether married or not. I don’t wish to hear a man try to belittle me either, as to only being a housewife and nothing more. I can’t speak for all men, but luckily, there are some men who help their wives with chores around the house and don’t leave it all to them. In all honesty, I wish the term “housewife” wasn’t a thing because it degrades women’s capabilities as a wife, especially since the word came from a man.
Davis, Angela Y. Women, Race & Class. Vintage Books, 1983.