RANT ALERT! I am well aware of and participate in many rants about gender stereotyping – why do all the dolls in Toys R Us appear to be in pink? Why can boys not like dressing up as princesses too and WHY OH WHY are Gruffalo Pjyamas for boys – they’re cute on boys and girls??!!!
However this gender rant involves those bias that we don’t even realise we have and it all boils down to the hoovering of our house.
My husband and I have always dished out the chores according to whatever else is going on in our life. When we fostered and he worked part time he did stacks more housework. When he was studying and I was working full time he did the hoovering. Great. I was out AT WORK all day. However according to many people I was incredibly fortunate that he did the hoovering of his own house as their husbands/partners didn’t.
I did appreciate his contribution to the cleanliness of our house even if he didn’t every move anything to vacuum behind it or do the edges. The majority of floor surfaces were cleanish. Happy Days! He appreciated my contribution to keeping us solvent.
Now we find our situations reversed. He is the main earner and I am home with the children and working part time. However since I have started doing the hoovering again not once has anyone suggested that I am wonderful or he is fortunate. He was able to hoover uninterrupted or “helped” as I am by two little monkeys – one who takes 3 minutes to pick up one crumb or screams because she doesn’t like the noise of the hoover and the other who just wants to chase and ride the hoover. Where is my appreciation club?!
This is where, in my view, the real problem of gender stereotyping view because it is unnoticed, but very much present. In the same way when my husband recently returned to a full time employment outside the home he was congratulated on “finally getting a proper job”. It was said, on more than one occasion, in jest and without malice, but would that have been the case if he was female? Is raising children, particularly those away from their own parents, not a PROPER job for a man?
Whatever jobs or chores I or my husband do, I want my children to grown up in a home where they see their parents working as a team. We are both able to earn, clean and cook – over the years how we distribute these responsibilities fluctuates and I am sure it will continue to do so. Pulling our weight does not make us wonderful, but each person sharing, supporting, being flexible and willing to make our home a community that works is pretty fab.
I’m just hoping my son enjoys hoovering as much in 10 years time!