Being a ‘Housewife’ is a Choice

Over the recent years feminism has rewritten what it means to be a woman, meaning all types of women are accepted and not judged by others, writes Elisha Jones.

By definition feminism is equality of the sexes, but it is how you, as a person defines it. Female liberation is something we have celebrated so much over the years, from women getting the vote, to being allowed to work with men, making up skirting illegal and even gaining our own mental power to tell a man to stop interrupting. Two of the most important elements to come out of feminism is choice and respect. We have a choice to do what we want with our bodies, our lives and our minds and we should respect whatever others choose to do.

Back in the 1900s women had no choice but to stay at home, cook, clean and look after the kids whilst their husbands were out working. Their only job was to serve their husbands, so why, now we have the choice to work in whatever job we’d like would we stay home and do all the domestic jobs we fought hard to get out of? 

The word ‘housewife’ still has a stigma surrounding it, with some people viewing them as lazy and boring, however, it is mostly seen as old fashioned. When people think of a ‘housewife’, they think of a lady from the 1950s in a pretty dress and little apron, a house smelling of the fresh cooked meal on the table waiting for the husband to come home from work. People see this and don’t take into consideration the hard work it takes when it comes to maintaining the house, especially when they aren’t getting any help from anyone else. 

Feminism is forever progressing, with more and more women getting in positions of power, more women taking a stand and more male allies than ever, helping it grow further and making the world as equal as it should be. However, even during this revolutionary time there are still lots of people who believe that gender roles should be a part of society, with women staying at home whilst the man goes off to work. With people still having this mindset, there is an important question to go with it. Is it sexist for a man to WANT a housewife? 

And to put it simply, yes. 

Nobody should expect anyone to do anything, especially when it means they have to do stuff for you and wanting a woman to be “your housewife” is like hiring someone to work for you. Getting into a relationship should mean partnership and equality, there shouldn’t be any expectations for each other, nobody should expect dinner to be on the table and the house to be cleaned top to bottom for when they come home; whether they work or don’t. Having these expectations creates a hierarchy between the couple, with the husband being at the top of that, it creates a social agenda that women have been fighting so hard and so long to be released from. 

Saying this, some may argue that “it’s not sexist to want something”, however, when it’s regarding someone catering to your every needs, it can get there. If a man says that they actually want a housewife (and this isn’t an uncommon occurrence) it shows how he values women and how they’re more of a possession than a human being. 

Amongst the women who have used this development to go into male dominated careers, there are of course women who have made the decision to be ‘housewives’, and between the women who have chosen this path to follow, there are a few who have managed to make a successful career out of it. There has been a rise in domestic influencers on instagram; this is where people, predominantly women, give tips and show how they keep their homes tidy, what products they buy and what they do in a day, however, some, have been able to make money from this. 

Mrs Hinch, is one of the most famous domestic influencers on Instagram, with 3.8 million followers, two books and lots of brand partnerships. She started her Instagram for fun, just broadcasting what she does day to day, and what she enjoys, and people really enjoyed her tips and tricks and her bubbly personality, thus resulting in her quick rise to ‘fame’. Although Mrs Hinch has a well-established fan base, there are plenty of other domestic influencers that have been cooking up a storm on the cleaning side of Instagram. But people are torn as to whether this is bringing women backwards or if it normalising women making the choice to stay at home.  

Watching women on our screens clean, cook and look after the children at home feels like hitting the rewind button a few decades, showing women back in those ‘traditional’ roles doing unpaid labour for the man of the house. It seems crazy to have come so far just to glamourise a time where women were oppressed and had limited possibilities, and that is exactly what it is, glamourised gender roles, including the household hierarchy. A lot of these influencers who have created a cleaning fan base have ‘copycat’ followers, where they buy the same products and clean the same way and post to their instagrams; but with a lot of them using mannerisms from the 1950s. You often hear the phrases, “look what my husband bought me” or “my husband let me buy this” in reference to a mop or a hoover, and this is something we really shouldn’t be glamourising. 

However, it is good to normalise and show people that it is okay if you want to stay at home, and by giving tips out on how to clean, surely that can’t be a bad thing? Cleaning can often be seen as such a dirty job for people but by these influencers normalising cleaning toilets and taking out the bins, it can only be a good thing to future generations, with them making cleaning fun. 

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