Whenever I walk on the roads one thing that I more specifically notice than any other thing is the presence of women in the housewives’ role. The role is supposedly the one that has to be dealt with the weaker gender and as patriarchy puts it, it has to be the women. Being a housewife as many might believe, is something that anyone can do and too without any problems. Misogynistic men who return from work to find their wives waiting for them are of the opinion that all housewives do is watch T.V. and sit ideally gossiping with their friends. But is it actually their fault that they were brought up in a patriarchal society, made to believe that women belong at home? Why is it okay for working people to have friends to hang out with but not for housewives? Why aren’t housewives treated with same respect as the women who work in public arena? Why all the questions are targeted towards women who choose not to work in political sphere and not to the people who indirectly force them to do so? Why are there so many whys in this “developed”, “progressive”, “advanced”, “educated” India even after more than 70 years of independence?
From the time girls hit the puberty and sometimes even before that, the young ladies are taught that they deserve to stay at home after marriage and thereby are even “trained” for the same. These budding humans are coerced to swallow the case of learning all the household chores as a step closer in their journey of being the best housewife. They are to buy the reality of not getting the perfect groom if they aren’t the perfect wife- the wife who stays at home and does all the household chores for her husband without the expectation of any dignity, praise or even sometimes love. From the very beginning the males are stopped from doing the basic chores because of the belief of them being a woman tasks. This gendered upbringing pulls the strings in a way that housewives end up in the role of ordinary or normal being doing the usual thing with househusbands getting the status of the “supreme being” executing the extra. The first push often becomes the last push when the teenage girls surrender themselves to the polity of stereotypical society and take the disrespect as their part of housewives’ existence after what they feel is necessary for a happy married life.
Children are bound to learn from their surroundings, so when little kids see the situation that the housewives are subjected to and the treatment that the society showers upon them, they learn it to be normal and absolutely okay. Young girls observe and get the grip of normal household with mothers as housewives and fathers in the role of bread earners, corrupting their immature minds with the ideas of staying as housewives bring disrespect and punishments for any mistake they make and thus have to be utterly common. The legacy of lost dignity and appreciation is continued in the name of “traditions” and “customs”. The practices of these traditions only take place so as to show the housewives their positions as being under the men of the house and totally dependent on them for their survival. Daughters end up carrying this legacy forward, unknowingly and mostly out of obligation. The legacy of subjugation of housewives, the legacy of lesser importance to the household chores, the legacy of women being the epitome of women only after becoming housewives, the legacy that should worry us.
A Step Diagonal
Under the microscopic scrutiny we need to add the fact that housewives are not given their due respect. The housewives are taken for granted because of the non-monetized nature of their work. But the pretext of respect only to those who do work that benefit financially is further shallow. We need to discontinue the legacy of discrimination against the housewives and start a new tradition of egalitarian society. A step diagonal is a step in the direction that takes us to the path of respect, dignity, appreciation and value of the work that housewives do. Men need to take up the positions of househusband without the society making a huge fuss about it and therefore, making it usual and everyday normal. Every time we look at housewives, we need to see the extraordinary deeds that they do 24*7 without expecting much in return, is rewarded appropriately with recognition, admiration, idolization and glorification in abundance so as to give rise to the extraordinary lives of the housewives.