Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Desperate Housewives

I was on BBC Radio Leeds yesterday discussing this article and the use of the term "housewife". My view is that as far as individuals are concerned whatever term they want to use is fine but the name for the job which these people do is "home maker". Keeping a gender-specific term can only serve to stigmatise those men who wish to do it. And the "housewife" term isn't just inappropriate for men who keep house but also for unmarried women. Given the diversifying range of people who do that set of jobs these days we'd need "housewife", "househusband", "houseuncle", "housegrandma", "housefriend", ... much better to use the term "home maker" as the default term.

Of course there was someone of the other line to accuse me of political correctness gone mad. I don't really know what that means. I think our use of language has a very powerful influence on our perceptions so if we can change our language to better describe what we mean then we should. Why not? The implication is that a new word or two is too much for these people's tiny minds. Which I suppose it might be.

Also there was someone on air with the "my wife likes to be called a housewife" line. Great but so what? One case hardly proves anything, in her case it may be the correct term, doesn't mean anyone who does a bit of ironing wants to hear it. Also kinda funny how the wife herself wasn't on air to express her views. Probably too busy darning his socks for him ...

2 comments:

Norbert Trouser-Quandary said...

Oh, I dunno. I quite like calling myself a housewife... mainly because it tends it either confuse or annoy those certain sorts of people I enjoy confusing and/or annoying.

Cruella said...

Well I don't have any problems with guys calling themselves "housewife" that certainly add a bit of an edge to the term...