So l have a habit of listening to music or podcasts when l’m doing my chores. And earlier this morning l was listening to one of my favorite influencer couples Mpoomy Ledwaba and Brenden Praise podcast (Our Love Journey). As l was scrolling, l stumbled on an episode that
the prompted the conversation about dissecting gender roles.
What are gender roles?
Gender roles in society means how we’re expected to act, speak, dress, groom, and conduct ourselves based upon our assigned sex. For example, girls and women are generally expected to cook and clean in their homes. According to society, it is the duty of women to take care of everyone’s needs. They can also be defined as social roles encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on that person’s sex. From a layman’s point of view gender roles are socially constructed.
I’m glad that we are living in a world that is striving to shift or change ‘the narrative’. Though these conversations tend to be tough, they are quite important in bringing awareness on how best we can coexist as men and women. If we are not cognizant of how dynamic culture is we can be easily trapped in a web of irrational behaviour. It is quite important to understand that different seasons are with new trends and a shift in perspectives.
Oftenly, we ask ourselves why women are always burdened with housechores and in defense the gatekeepers of patriarchy are quick to say, “That is our culture, it is what it is”. But what was once normalized by culture a few decades ago doesn’t make it normal or rational in this day and age. Take for instance, men were expected to be the sole providers in their homes but women are now sharing this responsibility. With time, we should learn to embrace the idea that change is important for growth to occur in our relationships.
We should possess the grace to question gendered behaviors before we accommodate them in our own homes. As l was listening to the podcast, Mpoomy and Brenden mentioned that the reason why women had to cook and serve men first is that men were the hunters and gathers so after a long day in the forests, they had to be fed first. Before we’re quick to say, thats what my parents did in their marriage and it worked perfectly fine for them. We need to understand the reasons why they did it.
As for our mothers, most of them religiously served our fathers because they were socialized to always meet the needs of their husbands without anyone taking care of them. They were groomed to always serve their husbands and take care of their households without questioning anything. Though their marriages seemed to be perfect and flowery, they weren’t. Despite the efforts they made for the wellbeing of their partners they still suffered from burntouts in silence. Our grandmothers and mothers are now suffering from post traumatic stress disorders and depression because of the lengths they reached to serve their spouses.
Then comes a generation of modern families and power couples, with partners who have equal working hours but still want to employ gender roles in their marriages. Can we expect our women to babysit the kids, to cook and clean after those long working hours? Isn’t that selfish? Are grown men not supposed to know basic house chores? I believe men shouldn’t oppress women by hiding behind gender roles. I think it is irrational for men to impose gendered expectations on women in the 21st century because gendered expectations controlled women to behave and act in a manner that was acceptable in society. Gendered expectations gave little to room for both men and women to vulnerable and accept that their are human. In the modern society, marriages are breaking because most women feel that they don’t get adequate support through acts of services from their partners. Therefore, it serves no purpose to cling onto societal standards that do more harm that good, all in the name of ‘what will people say’
It is quite important to understand our partners needs and serve each other in a way that lessens the burden on their shoulders. It is foolish of us, to live our lives by the standards of society. We can be conscious enough to define what best work for us as couples. What worked for our parents will never work for us because times have changed and the narrative is shifting. Our parents’ marriages are not the perfect models for our relationships.
The truth is noone is born with a pre-installed software of how to do housechores. Housechores can be learned and gender expectations can be unlearned.
Side note: I’m sorry for being silent lately. When l started this blogging challenge, l promised myself that l was going to post everyday but for some reasons beyond my control, l failed to keep up with my promise. This has taught me something, moreso the perfectionist in me that l can’t always have it my way. I should learn to embrace my shortfalls with grace.