Yesterday, I met Renu, a young girl of around 17 years. I asked her that what did her father do? She said that her father worked in a factory. I asked her about her mother. She said that her mother did nothing, she was a HOUSEWIFE. It was not the first time that I was hearing this kind of reply. Many a times, I have heard women saying that they are a housewife, remain at home and do nothing.
I thought that it is high time to ponder, What does the term HOUSEWIFE mean? Who coined the term Housewife and why is it used as a passing by term with no emotions or pride in saying so!
In common parlance, the word HOUSEWIFE would mean a woman attending to household chores that includes child care, looking after the elderly and sick and ensuring at the same time that all is well at home. This is necessary so that other family members can lead a life free from the worry of meeting the basic nutrition, sanitation and health needs. In other words, these members are spared the time and energy to invest in higher goals of life and accomplishment. The woman’s direct labour round the clock results in household management that saves money which is essential for the economic prosperity of the family.
And this woman is said to do no work at home!!!!!
This woman is glorified as a HOUSEWIFE: HOUSE + WIFE. The actual connotation of the term is that after marriage, a woman becomes a wife and is confined to the four walls. Her responsibilities are so divine that she sacrifices the self to make happy homes and healthy communities. The glorification completes when she is named as the Maker or the Beaker of Homes and Families. After all, she is a goddess with a divine wand. Smells of Patriarchy!!
Now the question is, when HOUSEWIFE is so crucial for the survival of the family then why is it whispered in ears! When the home is built on HOUSEWIFE’s labour then why is it not said so with motivation and pride? Lastly, Do you think that tag of a HOUSEWIFE continues more as a token of society’s respect to Patriarchy and patriarchal norms?
I call out to my fellow sisters to comment on this subject.
Lets together change the very existence of a HOUSEWIFE from that of a glorified goddess to where she speaks about herself with her Head Held High!!