A Guide To Modern Womanhood
It’s assumed that if you’re a woman, you must be good at cooking, cleaning, and making men happy. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t blessed with these domestic gifts. If it weren’t for Hamburger Helper, Panera Bread, and smoothies, I’d probably be dead.
Society encourages young girls to turn on their Easy-Bake Ovens and dress up their American Girl dolls, all in preparation for a life of housekeeping and child-rearing. I may’ve gone down that path myself, if not for the time I burnt my hand trying to make a brownie.
So maybe I’m not the best cook, and maybe I don’t always clean my dishes right away. I’m not a badass tomboy or anything – but how does any of this actually define me as a woman?
I don’t need a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016 to prove that women are making strides to beat the stereotype.
As time has progressed, thoughts have progressed about the roles of women in society. Bursting out of their kitchens, women broke into the business world and turned perspectives upside down. Breaking barriers once deemed impossible for women to do, men had no choice but to begin to look at women as equals in the workplace, and soon, the home.
As women began to be taken more seriously, the myths about women came to realization as well. Gone were the ideas that all women wanted to get married and have children as more and more women these days are satisfied with putting their careers first. As the social norms broke for women, so did the stereotypes of what women should be.
Myth: All women are good cooks.
Truth: It’s not so much that women are good cooks as it is they tend to prioritize preparing meals more than men. A survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that on an average day, 83 percent of women do some sort of housework, compared to 65 percent of men. With respect to food preparation and clean-up specifically, only 40 percent of men, compared to 66 percent of women, take responsibility for it. It’s not that we’re more cut out for cooking, but just that the task more frequently falls to us.
Myth: All women are good at cleaning.
Truth: We all know the gender roles when it comes to cleanliness for boys and girls: boys are expected to be filthy while girls are expected to be prim. Now we just need to do some research as to why a vacuum cleaner is now in the portrait of a standard housewife. One article said cleaning is a form of meditation. Another article said that women just have higher standards of cleanliness. They go on to say that if a house is a mess, the woman living there is the one who’ll be judged, not the man.
Myth: All women are all feminists.
Truth: Maybe to a degree, but the definition of feminism is ever-evolving. It comes down to the fact that women are equal to men and deserve every opportunity to prove it, not that I think men are scum. Feminists aren’t a different breed of person, they just demand the acknowledgement that anything he can do, I can do. I want a man to hold a door open for me, but I also want to get promotions for my hard work, not based on how I look in a skirt. Empowering organizations such as Lean In aren’t trying to make women kick all men to the curb, but instead give them the tools to realize they can and should stand on their own two feet without feeling inferior to men in and outside of the workplace. I want a six-figure income at some point – and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t get it.
Myth: Women don’t enjoy sex as much as guys.
Truth: Just because I’m not running around trying to sleep with everyone that looks good doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy sex. Women are just a bit more reserved about it, or at least they tend to be. Plus, we don’t have sex just to make the other person feel good; it’s about us, too, and don’t you forget it.
Myth: All women love to shop.
Truth: Women shop because they’re held to higher standards than men regarding appearance. I don’t need scientific facts to back that up. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you’re a young woman getting started in the business world, especially if you aren’t well dressed. When it comes to beauty, women are expected to be on top of their game at all times, while men are expected to simply slide by when it comes to appearance. In regard to clothing, the fashion industry is aimed mostly at women and their appearance far more than men. With a majority of the business aimed at women, naturally it’s linked to a desire of women to shop.
The Bottom Line
I don’t feel any shame about being bad at “women’s work,” and in 2013 I’m not convinced there’s any reason I should be.
Sometimes it comes down to what women are willing to talk about and what aspects of their lives they want to take responsibility for. Women have a lot more opportunities these days, but that’s not to say you’re any less of a woman if you do fit this “traditional” mold.
The fact of the matter is, women have other things to do in life besides cooking, cleaning and giving birth. These days, women are able to juggle all of that and more while still being happy. As times have changed, so has what’s expected of women. Some are stuck in the past, but progressive women all over the world are changing what women can do and refuse to be held to certain standards. Those are the women who aren’t tied to their cleaning supplies and want to be held in the same regard as men.