Nice trophy-husband! Go, girl! We've come a long way, but many of us still have nagging thoughts like “househusbands aren't real men,” or “male gold-digger.” Those thoughts are prejudices, and they can get in our way. As kids, we learned to expect people to fit into certain roles. When they don't fit, we think something may be wrong with them. Sometimes we're right, but other times we're wrong.
People in the 1950's thought women were not capable of most jobs. The women themselves felt they belonged at home whether they were happy there or not. What changed? We challenged that belief. Now, men who think women should stay home seem like cave-men! Women contribute great things to the work-world, and we LOVE doing it! Good thing we tried it. So, why not give ourselves the househusband option? Prejudice may be the only barrier. We deserve the option. Men also deserve the option. But what man would want to be his wife's wife? Prejudice! Let him try it and see. But what if he just wants to lay around all day? Look, girls… we are not powerless subjects of our husbands! Just stop sharing the wealth! Unfair? HE was
being unfair. We SHOULD refuse to reward him for it. Without money, he can't lead a seperate life to escape our point. If he's committed to you, he'll choose to do his share either at home or back at work. We have nothing to lose. Besides, if lots of men are staying home, plenty of decent men will try it. Maybe some will WANT to focus on making women's lives easier. Maybe they'll take pride in it. Maybe her pleasure will be his measure! If that's his choice, would we seriously turn him down?! Look at the picture! After you finish checkin' out his backside, try to be objective. What if he IS a REAL man working hard, only in support of his wife? What if their relationship is real and fulfilling? I say this househusband thing is DEFINITELY worth a try!
''My son doesn't
make much money…'' ''My daughter isn't good at housework…''
These were the remarks made by the parents of Ryo Yamada, 37, and his wife Kazuko Nin, 42, respectively, the first time their parents got together.
After their marriage in March 1998, the arrangement of Yamada staying home in Kyoto city, doing housework and being the main caretaker of 3-year-old daughter Kanako came natural. Kazuko is an assistant professor teaching nursing care at Shiga University of Medical Science in Shiga Prefecture.
Yamada, who cooks for his family and takes Kanako to and from nursery school every day, has always been a dependent family member by Japan's Social Insurance Agency's definition — married people aged between 20 and 59 whose annual income does not exceed 1. 3million yen (about $12,400) and whose spouses are not self-employed. His wife has been covering his health insurance and other social security expenses. Yamada is one of about 80,000 men in that
category, which had doubled as of March 2004 from the 40,000 in March 1998, according to the agency under the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. In the same period, the number of women in the category fell by 895,000, or 7.5 percent, to 11 million.
Men such as Yamada will help to build a ''baby friendly society,'' said Ochanomizu University President Masuko Honda, who also chairs a panel to advise the government on a gender-free society. ''Building more nursery schools and other infrastructure has been tried and proved insufficient,'' Honda said. ''We need change in people's mentality to make the whole society support child rearing.'' One of the missions of Honda's panel is to advise Japan's government on measures to deal with the low birthrate, which hit a record low of 1.29 in 2003, compared with 2.69 in the world and 1.56 in developed countries in the expected average between 2000 and 2005, according to the Cabinet
Both Yamada and Honda say they believe the number of househusbands will keep rising but the trend by itself will not raise the birthrate. It is, however, an indication that people's mentality and society are changing to make people want to form a family. Honda argues that employers need to change how to evaluate employees so that people who prioritize family over work are not necessarily penalized. For example, she said, employers and employees should stop feeling that leaving work early shows disloyalty. Promotions and raises should be based on quality of work, not quantity, and employers should realize that such a ''welfare package in the true meaning'' will attract talent.
All of the above will give equal career opportunity to women, making it easier for women to have a career and a family simultaneously, bringing flexibility to family decisions as to who looks after babies, Honda said.
Yamada, who is in the sixth year of a doctoral degree program in
sociology and is currently taking a leave of absence from his studies at Bukkyo University, agrees, saying, ''If househusbands become a major trend, that would have symbolic significance — flexibility.''
But Yamada is also not so optimistic. While ''strategic'' househusbands serve families, there must be a ''big portion of passive househusbands as well,'' he said. Those who want to get out of househusband status should not even want to talk about having kids, he added.
Backing Yamada's theory, unemployment seems to have a correlation with househusbands. During the period in which the number of dependent husbands doubled, job-seeking unemployed men aged between 25 and 54 jumped 80 percent to 1.18 million.
In reality, men seem more willing to accept househusbands than women do, according to a survey questioning 4,761 single men and 2,481 single women who are registered with a marriage consultant agency to seek possible mates. About
43 percent of single men said they could marry a woman who wants their future husband to be a househusband, while only 11 percent of single women said they could marry a man who wants to be a househusband, according to Marriage Information Center Inc.
Also, 64 percent of the men said they would accept househusband status if one of the couple needs to stay home for family care, while 51 percent of the women would accept their future husband being a househusband if necessary.
The survey highlights the dilemma of Honda and other opinion leaders advocating a gender-free society who want to fill a gap between themselves and average working women.
Kyle Cleveland, a sociology professor at Temple University Japan, says the key difference is money. ''Are the wives (of the 80,000 househusbands) brokers at Morgan Stanley? Or are they working at McDonald's?'' Cleveland said. ''There needs to be a whole economic system change to give women equal opportunity. That's all it&
apos;s about.'' He added that househusbands are much more common in the United States, where the birthrate exceeds 2.0, although equal opportunity for women has more to do with the high birthrate than the number of househusbands does.
Using the statistics provided by Japan's insurance agency, dependent wives outnumber dependent husbands in Japan 138 to 1, while in the United States the ratio is around 6.8 to 1.
About 6.8 million married women who have working husbands and children under age 15 were out of the labor force for the past year in the United States in 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The corresponding figure for men was 1 million.
Such statistics do not mean much to Yamada, who said his staying home has nothing to do with the decision to have a baby.
''My ideal is to have a good balance of work, housework and child-raising in society,'' Yamada said. ''The workplace should make more use of households' tastes, and
households should understand and support those who have.
Peep into a Househusband's Life
At last the era of housewives is being swapped away by the new era of “househusbands”…though gradually, but yes, it is taking shape.
A recent study has revealed that the number of “househusbands” taking care of the little ones at home has touched 2,00,000 in Britain…. stats seem impressive !!
Househusbands have at last started finding solace in the work they do now. Jon Absalom who gave up his career to take care of his baby, has penned down what he feels in this big world of women. The man has abandoned his career … but still has hopes that once again he'll move out and work.
Till then he has learnt to fill “househusband”, in the columns that ask
Sitting at home and taking care of kids is not that bad I guess…we have done it since ages, at the end of the day you at least have a satisfaction that you saw your kid growing.