It’s interesting to see how families are affected by the gender dynamics in their household accompanied by the changing times within the generations.
I remember once in high school social studies when we were talking about gender roles, my teacher asked me who did the cooking in the house. I said, “My dad.” My teacher asked who did the cleaning. Again I said, “My dad.”
It sort of shocked my teacher, because norms had been the mother does the cooking and cleaning, and the father does the working and outdoors work. That’s certainly a true statement to my grandparents, who follow those rules to the T.
But for my family, my mother is the one who “wears the pants.” She micromanages everything she can, including finances, family events, personal lives, chores, etc. She does well with it, and it’s certainly taught me a lot about time management and responsibility, but more importantly, it showed me a woman lead a household.
In our generation, I would say this isn’t uncommon. Many women are taking charge in many fields, from careers to romantic relationships to families, and with gender equality rising, it’s easy to imagine a woman being in charge of a household. But not all see eye to eye with this.
Plenty of my friends talk about the man holding the door open for them, demanding to pay for their bill, buying them presents, and all of the ooey-gooey courtship rules we’ve grown up seeing on television. But sometimes those expectations just aren’t realistic.
Not to say that chivalry is dead by any means, but realistically I can’t expect my boyfriend to pay for every dinner or buy me expensive Pandora rings for Christmas. We’re both relatively poor, college students, and truly, I don’t see it as fair for the man to pay for everything. If I expect equality for women, I expect women to treat men fairly too.
On the other hand, boyfriends come and go, but every time, I’ve made it clear that I will not be the conforming domestic wife women are sometimes expected to be. I won’t limit myself to taking care of the kids, doing the chores or cooking (mainly because I can’t cook).
What I am comfortable with is an equal share of responsibilities from all members of the household, and I am determined to contribute what I can to the financial status of my family. My grandparents may consider it untraditional, but they understand the times are changing and that means family dynamics too.
The “man of the household” ideal is diminishing as women take a stand for domestic equality in their families and homes. What’s fair is fair. It’s high time gender roles take a back seat to the progression of society anyway. I guess we’ll start here.