Some days back I happened to read a post in which an irritated blogger asked, why some women must remain homemakers, and why we (men and women) cannot ALL work outside the home (and earn) and then share the housework equally too.
Now as a homemaker myself, I do not pick on those whose choices are different from mine. But time and again I find people like her who question choices of people like me. And for the sake of those like me, if not myself (I am not so bothered), I want to take a look at that question. But before that….
I firmly believe it is those people who do not have conviction in their own beliefs or actions who are agitated about the choices made by others. A good example can be found in people of faith (take ANY), who, regardless of their object of faith whose supreme power they believe in, are always cribbing about those whose paths are different from theirs. I privately call them The Faithless. If they really had faith, wouldn’t they let that supreme power deal with the non-followers of their path? After all, they call it the ‘supreme’ power! Instead you find their puny (their own description of themselves, not mine) selves as compared to the supreme power itself, having to interfere on its behalf to set things right. The irony of it!
But I digress. I was talking of people who do not have conviction trying to convince others as to what convictions they should have. Funny, eh?
It seems to have escaped this blogger that women (and men), have the right to make choices in life. When you are a couple, those choices, though not necessarily, but MAY take the form of the couple deciding that one of them would work outside home, and the other take care of home. It is another matter that society in the present decides which gender does what. THAT is the real problem that I see here, not the fact that one of them decides to stay at home to do a work that is not paid, but still definitely is WORK (link). So what makes this blogger decide that such an agreement between couples is not for the best?
If it is a question of each one of us earning and then each of us sharing household duties as well, how about each of us growing our own food and eating only that, each of us building our own homes with our own hands, to stay in, each of us wearing only clothes that we have woven and stitched, each of us learning medicine and treating ourselves? There is no end to this, one can go on and on.
In Economics class years and years back, I remember reading that division of labor resulted in an increase in productivity. Where 10 crooked pins used to be made at the end of the day when all the work associated with making a pin was done by the same person, more number of perfect pins could be made if each one concentrated on one aspect of pin making.
Well, can you really fault a couple if they follow that policy, and that too in a decision THEY made together, happily so? If it does not work for you, don’t do it. But why this frustration about what others do and which works just fine for them? Cry for those locked in relationships that do not let them realize their dreams and try to help them. That would be fair. But, why ask those who have a different set of dreams to accept yours as their own?
There may (nay, there ARE) women, and men too, who love housework. Let us simply respect their choice. I have already talked of it elsewhere, but will repeat it again. How can someone decide for me that I must do ‘paid’ work outside my home, that I do not actually enjoy, by giving up work that I love doing, to people who must then be also paid for doing something that I would gladly have done myself? I find that utterly ridiculous.
And no, working at home does not make me or anyone else any less of a feminist, the same as working in an office does not make anyone a feminist. Far from it. Unlike some people, I don’t have any doubts as to what feminism means, equal political, social and economic rights for women (which automatically means men have equal rights too. Remember, the word used is ‘equal’). I’d like to keep that right to make choices for myself, working at home being one of them, just as some of you would want to have the right to work outside home, thank you very much.
A related post: “Do you work?”