My family likes to believe that they are liberal and outgoing and what not, and strangely enough, they genuinely believe so.
But, to quote my mother, “We are liberal, but traditional people.”
My mother, a homemaker, has always felt that we don’t respect her enough for the work she does. But recently, I have come to the conclusion that she herself is not convinced that what she is doing important work, and the respect she wishes from all of us (and claims not to receive)
My father was doing the dishes last night, and my mother was a walking ball of fury.
“How can you let him wash the dishes! Why can’t you and your sister do it!” she hissed.
Her logic was that my father had just come back from work (he is on rotational duty – he works on the sea for 4 weeks, and has a break for 4 weeks) and needed a break. My sister and I were both doing our homework, and when we pointed this out to her, she said that it was okay, and she would do it herself.
So I heard her going to the kitchen, wrenching the vessels away from my father, telling him repeatedly, “You don’t need to this kind of work.”
My mother, I think, thinks that as the earning member of the family, my father deserves to just be on an eternal break! This may seem like a simple enough reason, but the truth is everyone has work; my mother works day in and day out, my sister is currently on vacation but busy with her homework and I have college deadlines to meet.
This stream of thought I think generates from the simple idea that men’s place is not the kitchen! Is it because they are clumsy and cannot do this type of work?
No. It is because they “earn.”
This might seem a valid enough explanation, but I remember the time my mother used to work as well. She was contributing to the family income too! BUT she still did all the work; only my sister and I could help and my father was not supposed to be involved in work like this (although he really does like to help out, which is a different story altogether!)
Her saying “…this kind of work…” is, according to me, an indication of sorts that she does not deem it important enough.
But from another perspective, my father is the only one with a lot of time on his hands, and if he was allowed to do some chores at home, the routine and my mother’s burden would be so much simpler!
What made me most irritable about this, was how my mother demanded respect but did not deem her work respectable enough for my father to do!
To uproot gender differences in the society, it must start at home, where there should not be distinction between work that men and women do.