Gilman discussed the very important and unfortunately still prevalent issue of gender inequality. She blamed the economic arrangements for the gendered division of labor in American society. Men dominated while women were subordinate. Gilman expressed her frustration with women being bound to the job of “housemaker” and strongly felt that it was both physically and emotionally destructive to the women. Taking a look at American society today, we HAVE come a long way. Women now have careers outside the home and even hold the same positions as men in the workplace. The concept of a “stay at home dad” now exists. Men and women appear (on the surface) pretty much equal in that regard. Yet, as much as society has progressed, in some ways a lot still has not changed since Gilman’s time. When push comes to shove and one parent needs to stay at home with the child, it will usually be the mother. After a long day of work for both husband and wife, most likely the wife will be the one making dinner and “keeping house.” Of course, this is not the way of every household and there are many husbands and fathers who step up to the plate and take responsibility. From what I have seen in my own life and through my own experiences though, the label of “housemaker” still very much sits on the woman and I wonder if there will ever come a time when that label will truly be stripped away.
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- Nicole Hala