A rebuttal: No such thing as “just” a housewife

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By Katie Wolf

Guest Columnist

I have a serious problem with last week’s Perspectives column. Although I think Amanda Meade meant well, she did more harm than good. “Yet, with all the freedoms that women are now entitled to, there are still some women who dream of being housewives.”

Disdain is dripping from her words. What is so wrong with being a housewife? The women’s movement was meant to give women the right to choose how they would spend their lives, not condemn them for their choices. The women’s movement was meant to open doors to all possibilities — but why does that mean we have to close the door to the possibility of being a housewife? Why are we criticizing women for taking advantage of the freedom to do what they want?

Here’s a reminder: Being “just” a housewife is hard work. It is a gross misinterpretation if society thinks that the role of a housewife is easy. There is the standard cooking, cleaning and laundry, which can take up most of the day. There’s getting the children ready for school, helping them with their homework and volunteering at their schools. There’s driving the children to and from basketball practice, piano lessons and the occasional playdate — and that’s only after they’re old enough. Until a child is old enough to go to school, he or she needs to be under constant supervision.

A housewife is a woman that contributes just as much as her husband does. A relationship should be an equal partnership. Both people involved should bring something to the table, and a housewife brings more than dinner. On the other side of the same coin, a husband brings more than a paycheck.

I agree when Meade said that a woman should not depend solely on a man. However I think it would have been better to say that one individual should not depend on another.

Self-reliance is important no matter what gender a person is. A woman’s plans can be based on whatever she wants them to be — as long as she takes into account that plans can change (and often do).

It would be more realistic to criticize a woman for putting too much stock in one plan — whether it be a family or a career. A woman is naive to believe that life is a fairy tale and everything turns out perfectly. A woman is brave to strive for her dreams. It is a sad day when we look down on a woman for choosing to devote her life to her children.

It is also a sad day when we neglect to examine situations outside the nuclear family consisting of a man, woman and their children. There are single mothers. There are lesbian and gay couples. There are stay-at-home fathers. There are single fathers. It is important to remember that the world is changing.

Consider the fathers. They deserve a little credit. Instead of painting them as obsolete we should be giving them a break. In today’s world, no matter what freedoms and equalities women have accomplished, let’s face it: there is still an extreme amount of pressure upon the men of the world to be the provider.  

Not all men are singing along to the lyrics of songs that depict women as sexual objects. But maybe it’s time to cut down on the “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar.” If we really want equality we should be giving credit where credit is due — for both women and men.  

Women need to stop being judged for their choices, and instead be celebrated. Women can find happiness in their careers as police officers and nurses. Women can find happiness in the joys of motherhood and being a wife. Or, they can find it in doing both, or neither. A woman does need to look within herself to find happiness. It doesn’t really matter how she finds it though. It’s just important that she does.