“What do you want to be?” I couldn’t answer. Right now I’m still not so sure. I’ve narrowed down my list by a lot in the last year or so, but when he asked I didn’t know what to tell him.
His answer to my silence: Why don’t you be a housewife?
I told him I didn’t really want to be a housewife, and that I wanted to have work and my own career.
“Why? You teach English. Maybe being a housewife is better.”
He was someone from another country, and therefore a difference culture, so I cut him some slack. But still. I was offended. Not so much because of the teaching English comment, although that still sucked, but because of how easily saying “being a housewife would be better” rolled off his tongue.
Now to the women who are housewives and to the women who’ve always dreamt of being housewives, all the power to you. What you guys do is a lot of work and is more often than not under appreciated.
But the thing is, I never dreamed of being a housewife. Yes, I’ve dreamt of having a family of my own, but I come from a family where all the women hold down jobs while carrying babies on their hips. So the daydream was never to have kids without having to whisk them off to school before work, and then picking them up after work to go grocery shopping.
Work has always been included in the fantasies and I never thought of having a family with only one breadwinner.
But this man, despite him seeing me at a legitimate job, made it clear that he had already concluded being a housewife was all I was good for.
The look on my face probably registered, because he tried to amend what he said with, “A lot of women are housewives.”
True. But a lot of women are teachers. A lot of women are scientists. A lot of women are engineers, physicists, journalists, painters, chemists – basically, a lot of women are found to be a lot of things. Sometimes more than one thing at once.
At this point in the evolution of human civilisation, being a housewife should be a choice; not something you become because of an extremely low-set glass ceiling.
And it’s not like all the men in their mid-20s have got it all figured out; most of them are just about as confused as I am about which direction they want their lives to go.
I, and all the women in the same boat, should be allowed to work it out without being told we’re probably better off as housewives.