As we talked about the history of women’s housework in class, it became ever more clear to me that even in the increasingly progressive, egalitarian world we live in, in which more women have careers than ever before, the female role in the house has not changed very much. Today being Thanksgiving simply gave me another opportunity to witness this issue – that females are maintaining their housework responsibilities, even if they are also climbing the corporate ladder.
After reading Belkin’s, “When Mom and Dad Split it All”, I started to wonder if there will ever actually be free choice when it comes to gender norms in parenting roles, or will families forever be somewhat restricted by the more traditional male and female parenting roles that have existed in society? In Belkin’s article, parents attempt to allot equal housework and childcare responsibilities to mothers and fathers, thus generating “equal parenting”. Even though some families were able to maintain this equity in parenting, the majority could not. I even witnessed this today on Thanksgiving – even though all the fathers in my family attempted to lend a helping hand, in the end it was the mothers who did the majority of the housework – cooking, baking, serving the table, cleaning up, looking after the children, etc. In the majority of situations, men may have good intentions, but women end up doing more of the housework, which is what led me to asking – do we actually have free choice? Or will women always end up doing more labor in the house? Is this because women just have a lower tolerance for letting dirty dishes accumulate in the sink? Are women simply better at cooking? Or born with the ability to bake pies? I don’t think so! These questions all demonstrate the impact of the culturally constructed notions of women’s roles in the house, which helps us understand how we are limited in our free choice when it comes to gender roles.
Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share It All.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 15 June 2008. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.