Self-Definition

Recently, I have realized that not everyone is pleased with the word “housewife.” I feel like I have to say something.

To use the old cliche, Merriam-Webster defines “housewife” as “a married woman who stays at home, does cleaning, cooking, etc., and does not have another job outside the home.” While I volunteer for Planned Parenthood, I am not paid for this work, so this definition is true for me. I am married. I clean. I cook. I et cetera the shit out of every day. (There’s a lot of et cetera.) I do not have a paying job outside my home. My husband is the breadwinner.

If you think this is old-fashioned, that’s fine. But you don’t know me very well, I guess, if you think this is a bad arrangement. I love cooking. I like cleaning. I hate tidying, but Mr. Something likes it, so he does that most of the time. I love taking care of our pets. I’m proud of our home because I spend lots of time making it a nice place. In addition to being a housewife, I love reading about science, Australian detective novels, drinking beer, and watching hockey. This is my life, meaning it is not your place to judge or comment.

Having a career does not mean you are a fulfilled person. Not having a career does not mean you are a fulfilled person. However, being a housewife fulfills me, along with my volunteer activities and social life. I have a full, wonderful life. And I choose with every fiber of my being to be a housewife.

If you have a quibble about the word I choose to use, that is your problem and not mine. If I introduced myself to you as “Amanda,” and you turned to someone and said, “This is Mandy,” I would probably slap you, because I am definitively not a Mandy and I just introduced myself as “Amanda.” Respect my choice. The same goes for what I choose to call what I do day in and day out. If I say I am a housewife, do not then say, “Oh, you’re a homemaker.” I guess… but that’s not what I call it, and besides, Mr. Something makes our house a home just as much as I do.

I have had it with people thinking that I am not a feminist because of the word I choose for myself, and the work I choose for my family. Feminism is about choice, and it’s about women being equal to men. I work equally hard as my husband; he just happens to get paid for his contribution. Mr. Something asked me, “Do you want to get a job?” I said, “Not really,” and he replied, “Okay.” That sounds like a choice to me, and my husband supports me 100%.

Again, if you have a problem with any of this, or if you think I am less of a feminist for being a housewife or a future stay-at-home mom, please realize that you are trying to regulate my speech and my choices, and that is not a feminist act. It’s actually fairly misogynist.

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