In Defense of Housework

By Natalie Church

I am a firm believer in the necessity of equal treatment for people of differing genders and respect for all. I am aware of the difficulties facing women in receiving equal treatment. I want to do everything I can to help combat stereotypes and false ideas of the constraints facing what people can or cannot do because of their gender or position in life. That said, I really like keeping house.

It’s not a recent development; it’s something that’s been true of me my whole life. I like keeping house. I like cooking, I like sewing, I like looking after my tiny little vegetables that will, come Fall, be turned into jars of vegetables which will, in turn, become part of an incredibly delicious soup. I have no problems with this part of me; it’s just another one of “those things” that helps to shape my person. I do have problems with the idea that housekeeping is all that I, as a woman, am fit for, or all I should ever aspire to.

That statement may strike you as odd. Perhaps you are under the impression that, in this day and age, everyone knows better than to confine people in small boxes, to organize genders or races according to some preconceived notion of that person’s capabilities.

I have, through the work of many incredible and dedicated people, both male and female, been granted rights that before now were fantasies for women. I can vote, attend university, even run a prestigious corporation. With the rights and opportunities presented to me, some may see it as an abuse of my privileges were I to choose to stay at home for the rest of my life. While I have been given the opportunity to live outside my traditional-gender-role boundary, I have also been granted the right to live within it. My choice to live within a certain aspect of traditional gender roles should not exclude me from the ability to live outside them.

I speak in defense of housework, because, while necessary, it is seen as demeaning work; something, like most entry-level jobs, or even manual labor in general, that is beneath our highly-intelligent and extensively-educated selves.

In looking forward to where you’ll be as you progress through college and into the world beyond, don’t be afraid to define yourself outside of the carefully-marked traditional gender-specific lines. Regardless of where your passions lie, regardless of your gender – don’t be afraid of being a little non-conformist. Maybe you like to hunt, or find that sewing a zipper centers you like nothing else – learn to embrace these aspects of your person.


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