As far as I could remember, when I was a teenager, during school holidays, I would be the one to sweep and mop the floor of the house because I was the only girl out of 3 siblings. I’m the eldest. My younger brothers and I don’t have wide age gaps. It was to help out my mom because she’s out working from morning until late afternoon. This did not bother me as this was to keep the house spotless. Who would want dirt to accumulate around the house, right? What bothered me was the mentality that only girls should clean the house, that it was our main duty for the household. This was coming from my parents.
From then on, I always thought that this sort of mentality is unfair. That it should be changed. My younger brothers should learn how to sweep and mop the house too because they have hands and feet that can do so. Why would it be any different if they did the same chores? I suggested that my younger brothers should have a part too in doing house chores. But all I get was ‘They don’t need to. They don’t know how. You’re a girl, it’s your job’ and other similar statements.
But I observed that my parents have progressed a bit from their previous mentality because my two younger brothers were being asked to do house chores now. Before this, it was all me, me, me. Although I’m aware of this progression, there is still a little bit of residue that got stuck in their heads regarding the role of women.
My mom wasn’t a housewife. She worked in an office which proves that she is of the generation that have allowed easy access for women to obtain education and go to work. My dad didn’t prevent her from working either. So, why is the mentality still there? I’m guessing it was from their traditional upbringing.
I don’t blame them. They’re almost 60 now and when it comes to that age, the mentality is hard to change. But what I myself can do is to produce an egalitarian household when I have my own family someday. Regardless of gender, everyone gets to clean, cook, or do the dishes as well as learning to fix the plumbing (which is traditionally a man’s job). I promise myself to not impose any notion of gender roles onto my future children.