Since the beginning of time the male role in marriage has been distinctively defined. Even before civilization formed, men were the hunters and providers while women stayed home, tended to the land, and bared children. Women’s rights and equal opportunity have taken full effect in major parts of Western civilization and have challenged those roles. One thing for sure is that the options of what a woman provides to her marriage have profoundly changed with the times. Unfortunately not all of these changes have been for the better. Now that we are afforded more opportunities, certain roles are looked down upon. No longer can woman be met with the question “What Do You do?” and say without being shunned “I’m a Housewife”.
For centuries women weren’t expected to provide monetarily to a marriage. Many areas of the country were still rural and needed several children to take care of farms. Others had husbands off at war and were the sole caretakers of their family and homes. If you did decided to work during these times college education was only given to future nurses and teachers, two professions that both dealt with a sense of nurturing. They were looked at as the backbone that held there men down and there communities together. A housewife was a homemaker whose full-time job was to make sure groceries were bought, the house was clean, and the children were taken care of. Tasks included everything from preparing meals to running daily errands. The housewife was an intricate component to a well sustained family and a respected one.
In the year 2012 with women taking on more independence than ever before and putting their career first, the role of a housewife is now frowned upon. Depictions in the media alone have tarnished this role. ABC’s Desperate Housewives, Bravo TV’s Real Housewives franchise, and VH1’s Basketball Wives alone give the word “housewife” a negative connotation. The public now equates being a housewife with lavishly lying around, shopping, planning charity events and getting into high school style cat-calling spats with frenemies. For the average citizen this is not the case. People don’t understand why with new opportunities available why a woman would choose to stay in that position. It seems what we have forgotten is exactly what we sauté out to change. We wanted more options, and for some being a housewife is still apart of those options. Unlike the glamorization or dramatization of television most Americans can afford to do the activities named above just to fill in free time. Housewives actually do work.
Many women working or who are single are forced to drop their children off at daycare on a daily basis. If they were given the option, some would opt to stay home and be the primary caretaker for their children especially those in the developmental stages, and what is wrong with that? People say all the time “raising a child is a full-time job” and that’s just one component. Housewives are mothers, chefs, chauffeurs, financial advisers, assistants, and house keepers all in one. They take on many roles aside from money and provide an oasis that is the household and that should be respected. We began to fight for our rights because our choices were limited. We were being denied positions and jobs in society and forced into roles society had chosen for us. Just because times have changed and it’s now socially acceptable to have a career as a woman does not mean we should shun those choosing to make a housewife their role in marriage.
Look out for part two of Women’s Role in Marriage, where I will discuss the other side of the coin about women putting the power back in “Power Couples”.