This afternoon I got one of those telephone survey calls. As is often the case with these types of calls, the caller asked me if I was the head of the household. I started to say something along the lines of "Yeah, I guess so." But then I stopped and said, "Well, actually I like to think of myself as an equal partner."
When the call terminated, it occurred to me for the first time how such a term, "head of the household," seems so anachronistic to me. It hearkens back to an era where women tended to stay at home and raise the children while the men were the breadwinners of the family. When you have been exposed to feminist ideas and accept them, you find your consciousness being raised about such things as how every day language perpetuates patriarchal ways of thinking.
Do I tend to take a leadership role in certain aspects of the family business (as opposed to the Family business!)? Yes, I do. But my wife helps set the agenda in our home as well. And as a professional who brings home more take home pay than I do, I bristle at the notion implicit in the term "head of the household" that she has some subordinate position when it comes to affairs of house and family. Personally, I think I will go with the term that Filipinos applied to Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, a "conjugal dictatorship"! :-)