I am nearing the end of my time at university (I am over halfway at least) and the worry of getting a job looms. The last few weeks at university we have had some guest speakers come in to talk about our future career and opportunities. There were a few inspirational speakers and others who were quite dull and discouraging, yet all of them seem to say the same thing: it is a competitive world.
The other evening, I was talking to a classmate and her friend who was in third year (we are in second year). We ended up talking about our future plans and she asked me what I wanted to be. I said I used to be so sure that I wanted to be a writer but now I’m not so sure. The truth is, I am a person who hates competition – you’d rather let you win if that’d make you happy. And I am frightened by how competitive the field (world) is. She asked me again, ‘so what do you want to be?’ So I half-serious, half-jokingly said: ‘I want to be a housewife’.
Let me describe the look on her face and my friend’s face when I said these words. They were of shock and almost, pity. Ashamed, I hurriedly said: ‘I was joking’ but they knew I wasn’t really.
Fortunately I had to go and meet another friend. So I was saved by that.
I feel feminism is at its highest point – in the sense that, it is celebrated and praised in mainstream media. Yet if feminism is really for people being whatever and whoever they want, if it is for equality and the freedom to choose, then why should I feel ashamed when I say: ‘I want to be a housewife’? It is because being a housewife is considered less ambitious than having a ‘proper’ career? Or is it because being a housewife somehow fits into the “stereotype” of what a woman should be and therefore it is un-feminist?
One criteria that I have when picking a career is that it must be something that I enjoy and find fulfilling. I believe that being a housewife is something that I can enjoy and is highly fulfilling, and therefore why should I not consider it as a future possibility? I believe I will enjoy cleaning the house, waking up to make breakfast, making packed lunches, cooking dinner, walking the dog, knitting in front of the fire, vacuuming the carpet, ironing my husband’s shirts enjoyable. And yes, I’d say I even enjoy doing the dishes. It is not the activity itself that is ‘fulfilling’ but the idea of getting to take care of those I love, which is. I consider that as honourable and respectable as any office job. And if I can be a housewife and write alongside that, then I’d be a very happy and fulfilled woman indeed.
Perhaps my idea of what I find an enjoyable and fulfilling career will change someday. But at least, today this is what I believe. I just wish people, girls like me, wouldn’t look at me as though I’ve just committed murder when I say those words. And that they’ll someday realise: I am no less woman for wanting to be a housewife.
Let me know in the comments what dream(s) you have that you are afraid of telling others of because it may be considered ‘anti’ feminist.