Recently I had a conversation over breakfast with one of the guys in my office. It started as a simple and casual conversation filled with jokes, until he started to ask me some questions that left me thinking later of how confounding his way of thinking was.
It went like this:
Him : What will you do after you get married? How will you feed your husband?
Me : Well, he can feed himself, right? (while thinking, My husband should have his own money to buy his own food if there really was nothing to eat at home)
Him : How could you do that?
Me : Well, (only slightly joking), I actually plan on looking for a man who can cook rather than one who expects me to cook, and end up burning the food.
Him : Won’t you feel sorry for your husband then? He has to cook for you after working all day!
Me : Well, let me be the one who works then.
Him : Wow, must be very nice to be your husband then. He can just slack off at home not having to go to work.
By the end of our short conversation, I was baffled and miffed. There were so many ways in which he was wrong.
First, he basically implied that every woman is meant to be a wife and a mother. Well, I think that it’s safe to assume that more and more women these days are aware there are more choices for them other than being a wife or mother. And why can’t a woman stay single and be happy about it, while also living a fulfilling life? A woman should be able to choose whether to be a wife or to stay single, and not making that choice merely out of family or social pressure.
The second thing that irked me was his comments about “feeling sorry” for my future husband for having to cook after having worked all day. Hello? That’s exactly what working moms or wives out there have been doing since time immemorial. Most working moms or wives don’t just work in the office by day and then go home to a nice hot meal and a relaxing time on the couch. They work the same hours as men, but when they get home, they do some more work doing house chores, taking care of the children. Except they are unpaid. How my colleague failed to grasp this was beyond me.
And, lastly, his last comment. I completely understand that working wife and stay-at-home husband is not something you find every day. It’s weird and strange because it’s so different than the existing norms and gender roles expectations. Let’s save that discussion for another time, but what I found unbelievable was his comment that if a husband stays at home, that means he will have an easy life. Does every wife or mom who stays at home slacks off doing nothing? No! They cook, take care of the house, and do God knows what to keep the house intact by the end of the day, especially those who can’t afford to or who choose not to have a maid. I know a stay at home mom who is extremely exhausted by the end of the day after doing house chores and taking care of her kids. So, being a stay-at-home spouse definitely does not equal doing nothing!
Even so, I kind of understand where he came from, and why he responded the way he did. He doesn’t know any other concept and he isn’t aware of why he sounded so wrong to me. From the moment he was born, society has constructed his way of thinking on gender roles and expectations in a way that he can now see no other way. But this can change. This is why it’s more important than ever to raise awareness about issues like this. If each of us do our own part to spread the awareness, maybe someday you won’t have to listen to remarks like this too.
Eugenia Lupita is a 25-year old who is looking for her purpose in life through some random blog posts, hours of karaoke and singing her heart out, watching videos, and crocheting. You can find her ramblings on www.lupeesworld.wordpress.com