When we fill the form that requires our parents’ information before giving board exams in the tenth grade, there is a column where we have to enter the occupation of the parents. There is an option to select ‘Housewife’ for mothers, but no such option as ‘Househusband’. The same goes for university forms or for information forms for kids taking admission in the first grade. Why is it so?
When I was a kid, I never really paid any attention to all this. Fathers were supposed to work, go to their offices and earn for the family. This changed as I grew up. I started to see that the prejudices that harmed women, just as easily harmed men. They are all but forced to be the breadwinners of society. Even simply helping your wife, sister, or any other female member in your family with housework is deemed to be weird. They are looked down upon if they cook instead of their female counterpart. It is named a wild concept if they help the kids with the homework.
There is a saying in Hindi, “Ghar jamai” [which translates to: “live-in son-in-law”], which is used as a taunt for the stay-at-home husbands who don’t work and live off of the earnings of their wife and her parents. It is used in such a derogatory manner that one might think that it must be a crime.
The movie ‘Ki & Ka’ set a very good example for this predicament; the man was a househusband and the woman a working wife. The couple were happy with their work and managed to stay sane even while breaking so many gender stereotypes.
Our society rules by patriarchal standards. That has to change. It does not matter if you love to cook if you like to clean the house and keep things tidy as a man, patriarchy messes up all of that. Unless your work falls in the right gender roles, you are seemingly not right at what you do. Men shouldn’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to.
The world is slowly changing. People have started to realize that doing housework is not inappropriate for men. Work should be divided between partners; it could be in any way but ‘house’ work and ‘office’ work need to be seen as just work for this modal to function.
In the end, I’d like to propose that ‘Househusband’ need not be a strange occurrence and everyone should be familiar enough with this concept.