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Unequal Definitions

(10 Posts)
JammySplodger Fri 02-Nov-12 11:04:01

I'm not normally all that pedantic, and am usually quite a fan of the Oxford English Dictionary but this has kind of bothered me a bit, would be nice if they were a little more equal...

Definition of Housewife: a married woman whose main occupation is caring for her family, managing household affairs, and doing housework

Example: the traditional division of labour between the husband as breadwinner and wife as housewife. I am not just a housewife, I am an accountant, nurse, negotiator, cook, driver.

Definition of Househusband: a man who lives with a partner and carries out household duties traditionally done by a housewife rather than going out to work.

Interestingly, SAHM is only included in the US Dictionary (as Stay-At-Home-Mom), but there's no entry for SAHP or SAHD.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 03-Nov-12 00:01:52

Yikes re househusband.

Re SAHM - they need to be able to cite a certain level of appearance in a certain level of publications, I think, so Sahd was probably just not in wide enough usage at the time of the definition. Might be in the next revision.

HazleNutt Sat 03-Nov-12 20:54:40

So housewife is occupation, but househusband just someone too lazy to go out to work? Lovely.

SamuraiCindy Sat 03-Nov-12 21:32:35

I wonder why it said 'married women', yet with the man it said he was simply someone who lived with a partner. It makes it sound as if the woman's identity is all about the man, and the man's identity is all about the man!!!

JammySplodger Sun 04-Nov-12 18:30:03

I've been trying to think of what I'd like to see instead and have some up with...

Definition of Housewife: a woman whose main occupation is caring for her family and managing household affairs

Definition of Househusband: a man whose main occupation is caring for his family, managing household affairs and other household duties traditionally done by a housewife

What do you reckon, I might fire off an e-mail to the OED in the week (crazy small children permitting)?

AbigailAdams Sun 04-Nov-12 23:19:37

Why include "traditionally done by a housewife"? That still seems to imply that domestic work is women's work and men doing it is against the norm/unusual/special.

HazleNutt Mon 05-Nov-12 08:51:12

What Abigail said - just the same definition for both is sufficient and appropriate, someone whose main occupation is managing (their own) household affairs.

JammySplodger Mon 05-Nov-12 10:53:27

Fair enough - I wasn't sure about the traditional bit, but thought I'd leave it in to check reactions, partly as historically (rather than traditionally) it was mainly women who would be the one to stay at home.

Will see if I can find an e-mail address.

JammySplodger Mon 05-Nov-12 11:19:09

Right, well this is what I've sent them (made sure I did a spell check, seeing as it's the OED), will let you know if I hear anything back...

Dear Sir / Madam

I was wondering if you might consider changing the definitions for Housewife and Househusband so that they are a little more equal, reflecting their roles in modern society.

At present, there are disparities between the two, notably the Housewife being married but the Househusband just living with a partner, plus the implication that it is the wife's duty to stay at home rather than work.

It also seems to undervalue the contribution a husband / partner can contribute at the stay at home parent, while his wife/partner continues with her career.

I would consider it to be much equal to have a definition for both as 'a woman/man whose main occupation is caring for her/his family and managing household affairs' and just leave it as that.

I would be interested in hearing your views on this,

Many Thanks,

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 05-Nov-12 11:20:46

Good email!

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