ImageLook I know the equality and gender debate has been done to death.  I know we have spoken about this many times.  I’m not trying to start a debate, this is just a thought that crossed my mind after a tête-à-tête with a male colleague of mine. 

During a break at one of the compulsory training sessions I had to attend at work.  My colleague was the only familiar face I could go make small talk with.  We work together but seldom get the time to speak, so I know him, but I don’t really know him. 

Anyway, so there we were avoiding awkward silences in the training auditorium.  At some point in our conversation we ended up talking about him and family and all of that juicy stuff that makes for small talk.  He is a pretty young guy and so is his partner obviously.  I asked him how much of the house chores he does…he burst out laughing! I was so confused there for a while, this guy thought I was making a silly joke.  He truly believes that men must just chill and not do anything around the house.  I was shocked to find out that there are people who still hold those ancient sexist values. To think that in this day and age, especially someone in the same age group as me thinks that if he, at any point in his life did any house chores would be less of a man!

 “Me? Do the dishes? No never! I’m a man”.  WOW! I thought, so this guy’s woman does not get any help whatsoever from her partner.  He said he never has and will never wash dishes, cook, clean, make his bed or anything like that.  He said he can’t, as in it would be very hard for him to even pick up his clothes and put them in the laundry basket.  He defended himself by saying a men’s job is outside on the fields tending to the livestock and the crops.   What fields?  What crops and livestock in Jozi???

I don’t blame him though.  I blame his upbringing…the culture, the way society says things should be.  Back in the days I can say there was a reason maybe why women did all the house chores- the men were out in the fields doing other hard work.  But today?   I have an ex who was also raised in that culture where, for boys taking your clothes off and leaving them there or eating and hoping the plates will walk back to the kitchen, where they will wash themselves I guess.  I used to get sooooo angry when I saw how differently my then in laws would treat the daughters and sons.   The boys would get up, eat and go where ever or do whatever, leaving the girls to do everything.  I did not judge, I just knew that such would never ever happen in my house.

I was raised by a single parent; I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. My 2 brothers and my sister took turns doing the cooking and the cleaning and everyone did their own laundry.  It’s not abuse, its teaching your children to be independent and to be responsible, well that is what I think anyway.

When parents raise their daughters, are they raising maids?  When parents raise their sons, are they raising chauvinistic pigs who believe a woman belongs in the kitchen? 

By the end of the conversation with my colleague, I thought I had convinced him to at least help with the dishes once in a while or maybe to make the bed sometimes.  He seemed like he had seen the light! This morning, after the weekend I eagerly asked him how he had assisted his wife with the chores around the house.  The response?  

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