Feminism has a lot to answer for, in my view. Please allow me to explain.
Traditionally and historically, the role of a woman has been a complex and vital one, involving the maintenance of both family and home. Using the unique combination of care, creativity, ingenuity and feminine touch that only women possess, they are able to maintain a sense of order and cleanliness in the home, keep their families happy and healthy, and impart sound values and morals into the next generation of society.
Yet this trend has changed in recent times. Things aren’t what they were in the fifties, and while many would argue that these changes are for the better, I wonder if perhaps gender roles and expectations weren’t created for a reason, and if maybe society isn’t suffering for the loss of the traditional female role.
We’ll start with cooking – the bane of many women’s experiences. Women have long sought emancipation from their kitchen duties; it is their most common complaint that while men are off doing man things, they are left slaving and toiling over ovens and stoves. The cry for an alternative has been met with various inventions including the microwave, increasingly elaborate microwave meals, and fast food outlets. But with Mum no longer cooking the wholesome, satisfying meals that the body naturally craves , people are turning to convenience meals more and more. Touted for their speed and ease of preparation and seeming low cost, these meals rarely supply proper, adequate nutrition. Instead, the often addictive foods fill us up with extra fat, sugar and salt. Obesity figures have reached such proportions that it is being called an epidemic. Meanwhile, other related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are also on the increase.
So what are mums doing if not providing nutritious meals and a clean home for their families? They’re out in the workforce. Meanwhile, children as young as six months old are being cared for by strangers in child care centres and pre-schools. Valuable life lessons that come through experience and the guidance of a parent are lost, replaced with institutionalised conceptions of what children ought to be learning. Important mother and child bonding time is restricted to After Business Hours. Connections that should be made during early childhood simply aren’t, and this is something that may never be remedied. And that’s not the only problem with this scenario.
Parents are instilled with a natural authority that children learn to respect and obey. It is difficult, however, for an outsider, such as a pre-school teacher, to attain the same level of authority. A child’s natural allegiance is to his or her parents. While this may or may not result in outright defiance towards those who try to establish authority over them, the effect of this subtle lack of respect becomes apparent later in life. Increasingly in each new generation there are new levels of anti-social and behaviours including willful damage of property, underage drinking, use of illegal substances, and simple things like disrespect of teachers within the classroom setting. Parents are often oblivious to what their teenage children are doing, as they tend to be pre-occupied with their careers. And with little respect for their parents, children do not see the need to share the details of their lives with their parents, or listen to what their parents have to say.
What is so wrong with being there for your family? Why do women feel it necessary to slave and toil in careers when they’re only going to have to do the housework when they get home anyway? Families don’t raise themselves. Chores don’t go away at the click of a finger. Jamie Oliver isn’t going to spring out of the fridge and cook up a gourmet meal. Come on girls, let’s take pride in our unique and essential roles and reclaim those good old fashioned family values.