Since the traditional conceptions of masculinity and femininity define man as instrumental and woman as expressive, then it follows that men and women can function in their traditional roles only in conjunction with each other. Each requires the other in order to perform at their peak in the world. A man is incomplete without nurturing and tenderness and when he cannot find these qualities within himself he becomes dependent on the woman in his life to provide them. A woman cannot function well without the self-assertiveness and leadership that she, if traditionally feminine could not develop within herself. For these qualities she becomes dependent on a man. Neither can stand alone and this relationship is formalized within the institution of marriage.
Once the relationship is established, tasks and behaviors are assigned along sex-oriented lines. The woman becomes the wife and mother with certain tasks and the man accordingly becomes the husband and father with his own set of prescribed tasks and behaviors.
In this relationship, powers are divided rather than shared. The man is allocated the power to make important decisions, achieve status, and material goods. On the other hand, assumes the power to feel, nurture, serve and manage domestic and interpersonal life of the home. Women thus gain power in private in exchange for submission in public. This is the traditional bargain struck between the two sexes.
With the acceptance of the role of wife almost all women, especially role-oriented women, accept as well as the role of housewife. The deprecatory phrase "I'm just a housewife typifies the low esteem in which this position is held in our society. The housewife's responsibilities fall under at least twelve occupational titles: nursemaid, housekeeper, seamstress, dietician, cook, dishwasher, laundress, food buyer, chauffer, gardener, practical nurse, and maintenance worker. However, she rec... Continue Reading