In an age when female empowerment dictates that all women should seek a career, has being a housewife become taboo?
When I was young, I went through the usual future-jobs-I-want-to-do phases, much like every other little girl and boy in the world. I wanted to become a vet, an archaeologist, an astronaut, a world-famous designer, a model, a ballerina and finally settled on becoming Queen of the World, and at no point did my parents say ‘no you can’t’ or ‘dream on’. Indeed, for as long as I can remember, my parents always preached that a woman can, should and does have the option of becoming whatever and whoever she wants to.
But I still remember how, when my son was born, my mother lectured me about ‘the dangers of abandoning my career’. I thought it very ironic coming from a woman who had never worked a day out of the house in her whole life and who wore her pearls first thing in the morning – but maybe that’s why she gave me that pep talk in the first place. Nevertheless, as time goes by, more and more women are told that being a housewife is limiting and almost degrading.
I don’t think that’s the case. And I refuse to think that we have become so detached from our humanity that, when a woman decides to dedicate all her time to the upkeep of the home and family, she should be labelled as inferior or as not doing her part for society.
Although I am an architect-turned-writer, I am also a mother and, at one point, I was also a wife. The fact that I’ve worked since I was 16 (a long, long time now), means that I have never had to rely on the partner I was with, and I have always paid my share of the bills and the luxuries. But if I had to become a housewife, it would be obvious that someone else would have to support me – and what’s wrong with that?
If you’ve ever been to a restaurant, or had a maid, or got a child-minder, you would know that nothing comes for free. If you have someone at home who is taking care of the space you go to in the evening to relax, then that is a perk that needs to be paid for.
As for the women who do it, there is nothing degrading about it. Education is by all means a very important thing, and just because you don’t currently have a career does not mean you should not study and educate yourself (this you do to better yourself and not to find a job). Even so, working in and around the home is a job that requires many skills that seem to have long been forgotten by modern society. I mean, how many career women can reattach a button? Or know how to make jam? Or to go down on their hands and knees and scrub the floor?
It is high time that our ‘civilised’ and ‘advanced’ society understands that every person has a role in society. If a woman – or a man, for that matter – can afford to stay at home and do the work that is required there (which often adds up to more than 8 hours a day), then they should not be judged for it. And women need to stop picking on each other because of their flawed feminist ideals that anyone who is ‘zaqqha mas-sink u sidirha mal-cooker’ is a disgrace to womanhood.
I think the attitude we should take is very simple: Want to be an astronaut? If you can get there, good for you! Want to be a housewife? If you have the arms and the strength for it, enjoy it! Can afford to stay in bed all day? I’m jealous! Good for you!
What do you think of Evelyn’s argument? Do you agree? Is it okay for women to want nothing more than to be housewives? Let us know!