Multitasking Or Overworked? Why Do We Romanticise Women's Domestic Duties

Women need to ask what the society stands to gain from romanticising all the chores that they do as "multitasking"?

Vanshika nirAkula
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In our society, an equal division of domestic or household chores in marriages is still a new idea. Men can still lie back on the couch after work while women must run the house 24 by 7, irrespective of their employment status. Even though women in many households now have the liberty to pursue a career, they are still expected to carry the disproportionate burden of household activities. In simple words, “choice” for women in terms of working comes with the mandate of managing their home singlehandedly.

The duties of nurturance, which are seamlessly interwoven with the performance of domestic tasks, are romanticised as a woman's ultimate karma. But why? Why are women ‘supposed’ to bear the burden of both household chores and work? Why do women overcompensate for moving away from their traditional role by shouldering a heavy chunk of it even in their new avatar?

To attribute a women’s self-worth to how well they perform domestic caregiving duties not only feeds the sexist stereotypes that they are trying to break free from but also erases their worth as autonomous individuals to those who only exist in relation to others.

The myth of multitasking women

Women who are able to work while continuing to subscribe to the patriarchal ideals of wifehood and motherhood overcompensate by not only managing their careers but by overworking in the house. Society romanticises this by handing overworked women trophies of being “multi-taskers” and “superwoman". As a result, women internalise the idea that multitasking comes naturally to them and that there is nothing wrong with exerting themselves beyond their limits.

Suggested Reading: Gender Stereotype And Stigma In School: How Do We Break Free?


The prerequisite of being a woman

Domestic work is the prerequisite to being a “good” woman while there are no such norms for men. A good woman never shirks off her duties, even better she never asks others to help out with her chores and ensures that her loved ones are comfortable- in another words, don't have to exert at all. This leads women to feel guilty in taking help from their husbands and let them care of certain chores around the house. 

The gendered chores

The concept of household work as a ‘life skill’ and not a ‘gender role’ is still new to our society. Men who share household work prefer to do “more masculine" chores like moving the lawn of fixing a leaky faucet. However leaky taps don't turn up in a household on a daily basis. On the other hand, men deflect chores like folding chores, sweeping the floor or washing utensils (that need to be done on a daily basis) because they feel emasculating.

We need to question this romanticisation

Women need to ask what the society stands to gain from romanticising all the chores that they do as "multitasking"? This way the society tricks women into performing household duties and protects men from the same by just repackaging how we see them. Instead of judging our capabilities based on how much effort we put around the house, women should instead ask why they must do it alone? It takes two to make a home, then it should be &t=3s">two people who run it.

Views expressed are the author's own.

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