Are Indian Men Comfortable Being House Husbands?

Do Indian men feel ashamed of being called house-husbands? Or are they trying to break patriarchal and societal conditioning and move away from being boxed to a certain notion?

Rudrani Gupta
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Representative File Image | A Still From Ki & Ka

I have never seen a house husband. The idea of a house husband is not common in Indian society even today. Housework and the burden of unpaid labour are still carried by women, even when many of them step out to work outside. Some men do help their wives in the kitchen but they either don't disclose the 'secret' or never accept it as a full-time job. Women themselves don't allow their husbands in the kitchen not only because of the mess they might create owing to their lesser knowledge in the domain but also because of the shame men receive for stepping into kitchens. "You are a man! Earn money, don't peel potatoes." 


However, I wanted to explore this idea further. We live in an age when movies like Ki & Ka talked about the idea of a house husband. And how can we forget that recently Pulkit Samrat performed the ritual of pehli rasoi at his in-laws' home? So, to explore if the age-old stereotype of gender roles still exists I dug deeper. Do Indian men still abhor or feel ashamed of being called a house husband? Or are they trying to break the patriarchal conditioning? Are Indian men ready to be house-husbands?

What A Few Indian Men Told SheThePeople

Steve*, an Associate Data Scientist, told SheThePeople, "I will be happy if my wife is ambitious and earns more than me. The only thing is that earning more should not be a reason to avoid work at home which should be shared between the wife and husband." In the end, Steve chuckled and said, "I will happily be a house husband if my wife is a millionaire."

Sai Prateek, a PhD student believes that earning or doing the housework doesn't have a gender. If a couple has a proper understanding, it won't matter who earns and who cooks. He calls this "completeness". He also said, "There is a notion nowadays that unless both the partner earns, a house cannot run efficiently. But I still think that one should earn the bread and the other should prepare the bread, irrespective of gender. I do understand the value of housework and so I think it cannot be denied." Sai shared a secret to a compatible and happy marriage. He said, "One must embrace the efforts and the presence of the other. The problem occurs when the partners start competing with each other."

Steve's chuckle did indicate that it was a joke (or perhaps not) and Sai's philosophy of equal marriage made the idea of house husband seem logical but Shashank Shekhar cleared the cloud.

Problems That Men Face If They Chose To Be House-Husbands


Shashank Shekhar, a PhD scholar, said, "Men do feel good about their better halves getting paid and supporting the family financially. Some men don't even mind house-husbands while their wives are earning." Three men happy with the idea of a house husband! A smile of satisfaction spread across my face and I decided to turn the mike towards the next speaker. But, Shashank had more to say.

He added, "Male family members, however, shame those men who choose to be househusbands. Calling it 'sitting idle at home', family members do not respect the job of househusbands. Moreover, no father will let his daughter marry a man who is not earning."

Why Every Move Such As This That Dismantles Patriarchy Must Be Normalised

Housework is undeniably the most difficult job. It requires skills, time and dedication to an extent that you forget yourself. Right? No. This is patriarchal speaking that connects housework with women and hence makes it a job of sacrifices. Housework is a part of life and not the life itself. Every human must know how to do it because it is a survival kit. Then why not men? Why can't men manage the house and let their wives earn if that is how the balance is maintained between the couple?

When a man doesn't have a problem being a stay-at-home husband, then why should society, especially the family members have a problem? Why can't we let go of the gender roles and allow men and women to experiment and exchange their roles? If a man is not earning, he is not useless. He is still capable of supporting a working wife through emotional, physical and materialistic support. Rather than assuming that the sons will earn a fortune, parents should teach them about the role of the house husbands too. Women are also told about housework but today they are also encouraged to be independent.

To prove what I am stating, I spoke to Indian men if they were willing to accept working wives. And many said they would be happy to do it. Read the entire conversation here.

Marriage is about understanding and creating a balance, not about following social norms that ultimately either break the marriage or make it poisonous.   

Views expressed are the author's own. 

working women men and housework househusband