Considering that my role of stay-at-home would qualify me as a 1930s homemaker — the full-time cooker, the cleaner, the martini maker, the child carer — I took this 1930s Marital Rating Scale recently posted at Boing Boing and was surprised at the results.
For starters, being a man and a stay-at-home dad, I was immediately given 5,000 demerits — a hole so deep that no amount of sock darning, church going or opinion asking could help me get back to marital bliss.
I also got demerits for having crooked hose seams (dress up time with my daughter), wearing red nail polish (again, dress up time … mostly), being late (car pools suck), back seat driving and being suspicious.
If I added up all my demerits and merits, I ended up with negative 6,574.
I suck as a 1930s housewife.
But you know, obviously, that’s a good thing. American families have come a long way since then, thankfully, and women are no longer seen as “just the homemaker” who should stay in the kitchen, pump out babies and do any and everything to make their husbands happy.
While we can joke about this out-dated, ridiculous set of “ideals” when it comes to wives and households, I had a difficult time banishing the thought of just how far we have to go and what roles will be “expected” of wives by the time my daughter, now 6, gets around to marrying age (if she even wants to — just be happy, kiddo).
With the War on Women in full swing this election season — who decided this was a winning strategy again? — it’s not, for me, that far fetched to think there are many people who would like to return to this way of life.
As a dad who wants to see his daughter have every opportunity and happiness available to her, I can’t help but wonder what I — what we, as dads — can do to help. If she wants to take after her dad and learn to sew buttons and darn socks — yes, seriously — so be it. If she wants to take after her mother and learn to kick ass and take names in the business world, good for her.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not been all that long since women shook off the burdens of these 1930s “ideals,” but the current climate of women’s rights — at least when it comes to things like birth control, salary and medical decisions — makes it clear there’s a lot of fight left to go. And where does that leave the American household in 15, 20 years? And what can we as dads do to make sure our daughters — and our sons — have healthy, happy relationships in which they feel respected and valued?
Mike Adamick writes at Cry It Out!