What is a 21st-century housewife

What is a 21st century house wife? Is the term a contradiction or an oxymoron? The answer, could very well be yes and no.

It is yes in that there are a small cadre of women who can afford to be housewives in that their husbands earn a sufficient income for them to stay home. But these women hardly resemble the Donna Reed of the 1950’s who was attired in a dress with three-inch heels and always wore makeup and like she just came home from the beauty parlor.

These women today, from what has been observed, are frequently avocationally competetent spending time in activities like the Schools Board, PTA, and a wide variety of other worthy causes. Then there are the caregivers like this writers sister who is very busy tending to the needs of the 91-year-old father. These women, though not gainfuly employed, are supplying a great need and inspiration to a culture that is frequently attached to a selfish “me first” attitude.

Yes, there is also technically another 21st century housewife who has decided to stay at home until the kids are of a cetain age before reentering the work force. Are these necessarily better mothers? Probably not but their commitment to their children is most honorable and inspirational. In many cases, these are well-educated, successful women in the workplace who have opted at stay at home as the best way to raise children.

Then there is the other side of the coin as to what a housewife can be in terms of gender. Is a housewife always a woman? They call men who stay at home househusbands but that title is separated by gender and not by role. Househusbands of the 21st century are in essence performing the same roles as that of housewives.

This role for men will slowly increase in that younger people are more sophisticated than the baby boomers of a generation past and less intimidated by the roles they play. Each couple will likely see if they need to be a two or one income family. If one income is the choice, then these younger men will be less inclined to pull the macho card if the women have greater earning power.

On a smaller scale, there are also housewives in the 21st century who live an alternative lifestyle. Housewives can be the submissive partner or a transsexual to a open-minded, male/female couple who wants the services of what a traditional wife of the past would do.

So, a wife of the 21st century can be many things that is admirable and not shameful. But gone are the days that any housewife in the least resembles Donna Reed.