We’re all familiar with the stereotypes. The career woman. The housewife. Most women tend to fall in between the two, yet we still use these tired, moderately outdated ideas.
The career woman is a bitch, she has no children and her love life is a mess. She is severe and lonely, we’re all expecting her to wake up at 34 in a panic because all of her eggs are slowly dying, as is she.
The housewife is a doting mother. She keeps a clean house, always has dinner on the table for her family. Her kids come first and she could never understand why women would want to give all of that up for a career.
The actual woman goes to school, maybe. She works a 9-5 job and then comes home to take care of her family. She cleans the house on the weekends or after work and she cooks a full meal for her husband and children every night.
We get it, right? But have you ever wondered why exactly it’s the woman’s job to keep the house tidy, to scrub the stains from the toilet bowl, to wipe the jelly off of the children’s sticky faces and hands?
Why is it that the men of the world get to go to work every day and come home and do nothing? Is your job more difficult? Do you need more free time than us? Or is your time just seen as more valuable?
The working women of today tend to work the same hours as their husbands, yet they are expected to come home and continue to work. They are technically equal, but as a society we recognize the male as the head of the house.
The men make the major and final decisions. Where we live, where we move, how much we spend, where we go on vacation. Women tag along behind like smitten, lost puppy dogs.
And for what? For the sake of living in some jackasses shadow?
That sounds like no kind of life. Women shouldn’t feel the need to consistently settle and compromise in their lives and relationships. We should be able to be a mother and a career woman without having to wonder how we will juggle it all. We should be able to get married without wondering how it will affect our career.
Growing up, you see your mother as invincible. Nothing could bring her down. For a time in every person’s life, a mother is someone who seemingly stands alone. They can do anything, anywhere, anytime. They might as well be wearing a spandex suit, emblazoned with a large “S” for Superwoman, under their clothes.
But then you grow older. You begin to realize that maybe your mom isn’t so super after all, but not by any fault of her own. She’s just worn thin by the crushing realities of responsibilities, complaints, fears, hopes, and dreams. She puts her family first and thinks nothing of it, or if the thought enters her mind she simply shrugs it off and continues with the task at hand.
All of these things, these small and infinite realities that exist in each of the women around whom we love and hold dear, go unnoticed by the naked eye. The unabashed sacrifices, the dirty work, the fading memory of the future that she always imagined, and the role that she has found herself playing.
Meanwhile the father is the “fun one”, the one to whom we gallop to with joy when he has returned home from a full day of experiences. The one whose every word we cling to, as if his sentences were a finite resource that could never be replenished. Girls dub themselves “daddy’s girls” and spend the evening goofing around with their father, only hours after they were arguing with their mother over something as simple as a short hemline or an unwashed blouse.
If a woman wants to be a housewife, so be it. There is nothing wrong with that at all. The problem is when it’s expected of a woman. Women should feel free to be the head of the household, because maybe in some cases they can do it better than a man. And maybe in some cases men make a better “housewife”.
Gender roles don’t help anyone. They only constrict the lives of millions of very real people. When the children grow up, they see their parents being placed in these suffocating roles and they begin to believe that that is the natural order of things.
As evolved human beings, we should be past these stereotypes. We should be moving forward and progressing.
Because there are millions of women in America and across the globe who feel that they must settle, that they must put their marriage first in their life.
Behind every successful man is a woman who wishes she could have the opportunity to be standing at the front.