Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Head of the Household

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"! :-)


Anonymous said...

Sorry dood, I'm commenting here because of my leash at DA. Over there, you said: "Or the Nazca Lines? To which I would retort, "You mean that a race of extraterrestrials developed the advanced technology to travel vast distances in space to reach our Earth, only to have to rely on lines drawn in the sand in the shapes of animals to help them land in some parched desert land way up in the Andes Mountains?"

I like sarcasm, too, but did you realize the question I was trying to ask? If so, do you think it's a valid question? Why or why not?

Tommykey said...

Hi CL. No, I wasn't making fun of you. It's just that your line about the pyramids reminded me of van Daniken's claims about the Nazca Lines.



Anonymous said...

Hey you always seem cool and I didn't think you were making fun of me, I was just wondering if perhaps my question was one of those questions that seems laughable at first but is actually a valid question. Know what I mean?

At any rate, I think about this one quite often, and that's why I was asking: Can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that consciousness motivated a movement of molecules? Why or why not? If we could, how would we do it?

tina FCD said...

I don't seem to get those calls anymore. But on a side note...
I had a caller recently that wanted to ask me about 10 questions, I agreed to answer them, at the time my caller I.D. wasn't working so I had no clue to whom I was speaking to. The questions were like, should abortion be legal, etc etc etc. I answered the questions and hung up, I looked at the recent calls later and it was from a Republican Organization. Now I know why they were so short with me. :P

Stardust said...

My husband and I make decisions equally, too. I don't get any solicitor phone calls any more since getting rid of the land line, but when I used to and the person asked to speak to the "head of the household" I simply said "speaking,what do you want?" They would hesitate and one even said they would call back when my husband was home. That was irritating. I told her not to bother because he is never home and I manage the calls, so if they weren't going to speak to me then it was a waste of time.